Georgia’s recent history with coordinators from the NFL is not a happy one. First there was Todd Grantham, who wore out his welcome quickly. Then came Brian Schottenheimer and his painful year in residence.
For 2016, UGA will have another ex-NFLer on the sideline. This time, it is Mel Tucker. Tucker is fresh off a one-year stop at Alabama, but he was an NFL assistant from 2005 through 2014.
There is no doubt that Tucker’s year at Bama takes some of the edge off his hire. Additionally, he will be the defensive coordinator with former 4-time national championship-winning defensive coordinator Kirby Smart looking over his shoulder.
Tucker’s former player, Cyrus Jones, from the current national champions, spoke highly of him to Dan Mathews at the recent Senior Bowl:
[su_quote style=”modern-light” cite=”Gridiron Now” url=”http://gridironnow.com/tide-players-think-highly-of-kirby-smart-his-staff/”] “I miss being around him already,” Jones said. “Just for the things he brought to the table as far as instilling in us great (attention to) detail, discipline and just being on top of our game at all times. Whether that was on the field or in meetings, (it was about) just being focused in everything we do. He’s a guy that loves the game, and he gets that out of the players. That passion that he brings definitely motivates us to go hard.”
Tucker was the Jacksonville Jaguars’ defensive coordinator from 2009-12. The Jags’ coaching staff is overseeing the South squad in Mobile, and Jones said he has noticed Tucker’s influence on the Jags’ defensive staff.
“It’s funny that we were in meetings and some of the terminology that those guys say, it was like I was hearing it from him,” Jones said. “We had never heard some of the things that he instilled in us and just the fact he was able to bring that to us is definitely helping me out here.”
Will Tucker break the chain of bad NFL veteran coaching experiences for UGA? The evidence points to a Smart hire for the Dawgs.