Georgia’s new linebackers coach has been at work for just a week, and he’s still learning the ropes and getting to know his players, but he’s enthusiastic about the challenge.
"It's been a whirlwind, but I'm very, very excited about being here,” Belin said. “I'm learning about the defensive staff, getting to know our defense. I've had a chance to meet with quite a few of the players who have come by during the winter workouts."
Beyond that, the details of how he’ll fit in on the Bulldogs’ new defensive coaching staff and what his role in a brand new defensive scheme are coming in small doses.
Belin said he had been on head coach Mark Richt’s radar for a while, but due to his role as Vanderbilt’s recruiting coordinator, he didn’t formally interview for Georgia’s final open coaching position until after recruiting period had ended on Feb. 3.
“I came on the interview, had a really good interview with Coach Richt and Coach (Todd) Grantham, and I'm excited to have a chance to be a part of this," Belin said.
Initially, no formal decision had been made as to where Belin would fit in the new staff, but he’s now set as the inside linebackers coach – a role that didn’t exist prior to new defensive coordinator Todd Grantham’s arrival.
Grantham and Belin will share coaching duties among the linebackers in the Bulldogs’ new 3-4 defense, which is a role that is a bit foreign to Belin – who also coached linebackers at Vanderbilt – but one he’s excited to undertake.
“I'll be focused on working with the inside linebackers, but there will be times during drills I'll be working with the outside linebackers," Belin said. “I am looking forward to the opportunity to work with Todd. His 11 years in the NFL have been tremendous, and he coached a lot of great players, so I can learn a lot from him.”
The overlap won’t end with the linebackers.
During his time at Vandy, Belin helped land several key recruits from the Atlanta area for the Commodores, which made him a perfect candidate for Georgia’s staff.
When Grantham was introduced as the new defensive coordinator last month, he spoke extensively about landing as many of the top in-state recruits as possible, and that’s a plan Belin said he aims to build upon.
“We feel like there are some really good players and good students here in this state that if we keep them all here, we're going to have a great chance to continue to build this program and to win championships," Belin said.
Belin will also have a role on special teams for Georgia after spending two years overseeing special teams at Vandy, too. What that role will be, however, remains one of the unanswered questions among Georgia’s staff at the moment.
And questions still remain about which players will be answering to Belin during practice, too, as the Bulldogs continue to evaluate the current team and decide how each player best fits into the new system. That’s how Belin is spending the bulk of his time at the moment, but it’s a job he thinks will provide numerous rewards in the coming season.
"My goal and my job here as the inside linebackers coach is to work with those guys and get the best out of them,” Belin said. “I've been blessed to have had the ability and opportunity to coach some very good linebackers in my years at Vanderbilt, and I'm looking forward to bringing that along with Coach Grantham here to the University of Georgia."