Top Georgia Head Coaching Candidates To Replace Mark Richt

    Top Georgia head coach candidates to replace Mark Richt. From Kirby Smart to Brent Venables, here are five potential coaching options for the Bulldogs.

    November 29, 2015

    Five Georgia head coaching candidates who could be on the Bulldogs’ short list to replace Mark Richt in Athens.

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    Mark Richt came up with a marvelous career as the Georgia head football coach.

    Not only did he do absolutely everything but win a national championship – or even get to a national title – but he did the nearly-impossible and succeed at the highest of levels while also being universally known as one of the best guys in the game. He’s the type of coach everyone wants for their program, at least in terms of personality.

    But he couldn’t take Georgia to that one level up to win the national title, and while ten win seasons are nothing to sneeze at, the program has been stuck in a rut for a long time. It’s a very nice rut, and a rut that about 100 other college football teams would love to be in, but it’s time to explore other options.

    Outside of Houston head coach Tom Herman – who’s more likely to either stay, or be up for one of the other big openings, here are five who’ll be on the short list to try getting Georgia to finally Finish The Drill – as Richt said the program had to do.

    The Obvious Option Is …

    Kirby Smart, defensive coordinator, Alabama

    Talked about as the possible replacement for Les Miles if he was booted out at LSU, Smart is ready to take over someone’s head coaching gig at the highest of levels. Here’s the problem – can he do what he does at Alabama without recruiting at the same level that Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide program do? Does Georgia want to go the big coordinator route again, like it did with Richt? Smart will be up for just about every other big opening, and at the very least, Georgia will have to answer why he’s not the top guy if he doesn’t take over.

    The Coach The Georgia Types Really Want Option Is …

    Jimbo Fisher, head coach, Florida State

    Everyone just assumes Fisher wants to leave the ACC for the SEC. He has a perennial national title-caliber gig, and he doesn’t have to beat his head against the SEC wall. Obviously, all he has to do is handle Clemson every year, and not the slew of superstar SEC programs, but that’s not really the issue. Georgia is a lateral move, if not a step down, and what’s the step up? USC. The actual one, not South Carolina. If Fisher leaves a sweet job, it’s going to be for something much bigger, and the Trojan spot is the biggest and best opening out there. The NFL is the next step up after that.

    The He Went To Georgia Option Is …

    Mike Bobo, head coach, Colorado State

    Florida hit it big with Jim McElwain, so could Georgia go after the next-Colorado-State-coach-up? Bobo is a former Georgia quarterback who worked his way up the ladder as Mark Richt’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for seven years, and he did a nice job in place of McElwain with a 7-5 season with the Rams in what was supposed to be a rebuilding year. Only 41, he’s a young option who’ll grow with the program, but Georgia probably doesn’t want a young option who’ll grow with the program. Bobo will probably be the right guy in four years – he’s not A-list enough.

    The Anti-Mark Richt Option Is …

    Jeremy Pruitt, current/former(?) defensive coordinator, Georgia

    As Richt’s hot seat was starting to flame up, Pruitt was talked about as possibly being let go as a sort of sacrificial lamb. However, the fiery defensive coordinator who was brought in to give the Bulldogs the edge that Richt didn’t have stuck around, and now he might actually be the guy to take what’s already in place, infuse an Alabama attitude, and be that Point C guy. Only 41, he’s young, talented, and driven. He’ll be a big-time head man somewhere soon, but he could use a stepping-stone head coaching job first.

    The It’s His Time Option Is …

    Brent Venables, defensive coordinator, Clemson

    Only 44, it only seems like he’s been hovering around the coaching circles for forever. The former Oklahoma defensive coordinator for 12 years, and the current Clemson DC, he’s been able to take defenses to the highest of levels for a long, long time. However, is Georgia going to see Venables as big enough to be a superstar at the SEC, or would it rather have his boss? Georgia is probably thinking Dabo Swinney level, not one step below.

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