Richt wants to fill OC before Chick-fil-A

Mike Bobo

ATHENS – Georgia should have an assistant coach to fill Neil Callaway's void before its Dec. 30 bowl game, Coach Mark Richt said Monday.

"I'm not looking to have this thing drag out a long time," he said, "but I don't want to do it at breakneck speed where I don't have peace about it. I'm going to think it through and pray it through and when I have some peace about it, that's when we'll make a decision."

What job that coach will fill is still in question, Richt said. It's possible quarterbacks coach Mike Bobo will be promoted to fill Callaway's offensive coordinator position.

"There are a lot of scenarios, and that's one of them," Richt said.

Freshman quarterback Matthew Stafford would be comfortable with Bobo in the offensive coordinator's spot but isn't lobbying for anyone for the job, he said.

"He's a really smart guy, and he knows what he's doing," Stafford said. "He's got a sense of the game. If he took over that job, I'd be really happy for him."

That would leave the Bulldogs with just an offensive line opening, but that job could be filled by current tight ends coach David Johnson, who has experience coaching the line. Florida State tight ends coach John Lilly and Richt remain close from Richt's days in Tallahassee. Ole Miss offensive coordinator Art Kehoe, who was a teammate of Richt's at the University of Miami, also has been mentioned in connection with Georgia's opening.

"There has been a tremendous amount of interest by some very outstanding people," Richt said. "I'm not going to give any clues, but there are a lot of people I would consider outstanding."

The job of making the hire will be time-consuming, but the Bulldogs (8-4) are far enough along in their preparation for the Chick-fil-A Bowl against No. 14 Virginia Tech (10-2) that Richt can take the time, he said.

"I'd say 90 percent of the preparation is done," he said. "The bulk of deciding what we're going to do in all of our situations and all that kind of stuff, we hammered the majority of that out over the weekend."

Richt, who juggled two jobs in 2000 and 2001 when he had accepted the Georgia job but still was preparing his Florida State offense for the Orange Bowl, won't put too many demands on Callaway in the next 12 days, he said. Callaway, a 51-year-old Macon native who has been with the Bulldogs six years, accepted the UAB head coaching job on Sunday.

"I said just make sure you're up to speed on what we're doing and what the line is doing, anything after that, we'll handle it," Richt said. "I know how hard it is to think creatively when you're going through what he's going through. For him to do anything other than making sure the line is up to speed and getting after them in practice, I can't expect much more than that."

Callaway hasn't approached Richt about interviewing any of the Bulldogs' assistants, Richt said.

"I've never told any head coach if he wanted to speak to somebody that he couldn't do it," Richt said, "and I wouldn't do that with Neil either."

DawgPost.com Recommended Stories