Brian VanGorder’s return to Georgia makes a lot of sense

November 10, 2012. Georgia head coach Mark Richt, right, talks to his former defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder, now defensive coordinator with Auburn, during pre-game at Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn Saturday November 10, 2012. BRANT SANDERLIN / BSANDERLIN@AJC.COM

Former Georgia defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder (left), who has been hired as a consultant, had his best years with the Bulldogs under former coach Mark Richt. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

(Updated: 6:30 p.m.)

Well — hello, yesterday.

Kirby Smart is trying to bring Georgia’s defense back to some level of prominence, similar to when Brian VanGorder was the Bulldogs’ coordinator. So how fortuitous it was when VanGorder suddenly became available two months ago after he was fired by Notre Dame. Smart brought in VanGorder as an aid to the coaching staff, breaking down film and providing input for game plans.

Smart confirmed the hiring, first reported by DawgNation’s Chip Towers. who reported VanGorder was brought in the week of the Auburn game. Smart disputed that Tuesday, saying VanGorder didn’t come aboard until “late last week” to help in preparation for the Georgia Tech game.

This obviously is a short-term situation. VanGorder, who has moved between NFL and college jobs since he left Georgia after the 2004 season, was fired in late September by Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly and will be looking for full-time employment again after the regular season. It seems doubtful VanGorder would even stick around for the Dogs’ bowl game. The only thing that could change the equation is if defensive coordinator Mel Tucker left for a job in the NFL (where he has worked before), but there are no reports of that possibility yet.

The temp hiring makes a lot of sense for Georgia. It doesn’t matter that Smart was a defensive coordinator and he already has a DC in Tucker. VanGorder is one of the better defensive coaches in the country, regardless of the mess in South Bend. If he indeed had input Auburn week, it was a nice debut: The Dogs upset the No. 9-ranked Tigers 13-7, holding them to 164 yards and 10 first downs.

This move by Smart is similar to the one a year ago by Alabama’s Nick Saban. When Georgia fired Mark Richt after the Georgia Tech game, defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt immediately returned to Alabama to help the Crimson’s Tide’s staff in the playoff. Pruitt became the new DC when Smart was hired by Georgia.

VanGorder’s return to Athens also makes sense for this reason: If he wanted to keep his hand in coaching this year, it was one of the few places he could come back to be welcomed as a hero. The Dogs finished fourth (2003) and eighth (2004) in the nation in total defense in his last two seasons. Among the top NFL draft picks he coached in Athens: Thomas Davis, David Pollack, Johnathan Sullivan, Sean Jones, Boss Bailey and Odell Thurman.

Then he became a coach on wheels.

He spent one season as the Jacksonville Jaguars’ linebackers’ coach (2005). He moved on to a disastrous one-year tenure as Georgia Southern’s head coach (2006). Then came five years with the Falcons (four as coordinator under Mike Smith), one with Auburn (2012) one with the New York Jets (2013) and two-plus at Notre Dame.

The man has collected a lot of sweatshirts.

How much is VanGorder getting paid for at least two weeks of work? Probably less than Ludacris did for 15 minutes at Georgia’s spring game ($65,000). A smart and economic move by Smart.

EARLIER: Dan Quinn wants Falcons to have ‘enthusiasm for the moment’

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25 comments
TideDawg
TideDawg

Alabama/Auburn....Georgia/Georgia Tech.......no bold stupid predictions. Two great rivalries......you never know what will happen.

TOJacket
TOJacket

Is he going to get a trophy?

TOJacket
TOJacket

Sounds like Georgie is skeered.

Peachs
Peachs

Georgia is making improvement and beating Auburn is no small feat. 

Wadzilla.
Wadzilla.

I see Schultz is over his liberal with his hair on fire tantrum because of Hillary's drubbing.....welcome back.

OH:IO
OH:IO

4 of top 7


B1G BIAS! B1G BIAS! 

DawgNole
DawgNole

@OH:IO 

Riding conference coattails yet again, lying hypocrite?

OH:IO
OH:IO

@DawgNole @OH:IO


Nope. No need. At the top of the B1G heap. 


dogs on the other hand........

Classof98
Classof98

@DawgNole Dude, the group of people who comment as "Ohio State" fans on columns about UGA are TECH FANS.  You haven't figured that out yet?

DawgNole
DawgNole

@Classof98

I don't give credence to dumba*ses who preface their posts with "Dude."

DawgNole
DawgNole

@OH:IO

Stop lying, hypocrite.

_______________

OH:IO November 20, 2016

Well well,

B1G: 3 of Top 5 in the AP. 

OH:IO November 20, 2016

@Big Wally

My conference is better than your conference.

Whiner.


TOJacket
TOJacket

DUDE....That's right, everybody else in the whole Country loves UGA!.....98, lots and lots of folks think UGA and their fan base are a joke...I can't blame them.

TOJacket
TOJacket

Mrs. Landers...No stupid, his damn team is ranked. Idiot

OH:IO
OH:IO

@TOJacket


Gotta go with dog is a hole on that one. However, the punch landed!

Buschleaguer
Buschleaguer

@OH:IO What a Mediocre year in a College Football, just Bammer and the Broncos of Directional Michigan. And a conference with half of its teams under the .500 mark has 4 teams in the top 7. The real point of mediocrity for the B1G is that the highest ranked team theohiostate will not play for the conference crown. Even if they can beat totally overrated Michigan on Saturday.Will the Playoff voters still keep 2 B1G teams in the mix , if Penn State wins the B1G title. Do they have the nerve to leave a Pac 12 Champ (possibly a 12-1 Washington) and take a team (theohiostate) that did not qualify to play in the B1G CG.

DawgNole
DawgNole

@TOJacket

A joke???

So you think your 2-13 performance against UGA is funny?!

Some GT fan you are.

DawgNole
DawgNole

@TOJacket

"Stupid" again?!

Such a wide-ranging vocabulary.

When do you resume calling God stupid?

DawgNole
DawgNole

@Buschleaguer

Hopefully not, but the Big 10's always been overrated until bowl season--so nothing should surprise us.

TideDawg
TideDawg

That's similar to the Braves hiring Washington as a 3rd base coach. Hmmmm?

OH:IO
OH:IO

Re-tread dogs