Experience. It’s something that can’t be bought or taught. Kirby Smart, now in his 6th year at the helm for the University of Georgia, certainly has gained a wealth of experience in his own right. However, in very wise fashion, despite the amount of success and the various situations that Smart has encountered, it has not stopped him from adding even more experience to his staff in 3 former college head coaches. Matt Luke, Todd Monken, and Will Muschamp not only bring knowledge to the field and the meeting room, but their connections and backgrounds also have had and will continue to have a great impact on recruiting.
Let’s take each of these assistants in the chronological order of which they arrived in Athens. First, Matt Luke came on board after Sam Pittman took the head coaching job at Arkansas. Luke had to hit the groung running in order to hold together the 2020 offensive line class that Pittman had assembled and he did so quite well, plus some! Chad Lindberg and Tate Ratledge stayed true to their commits to Georgia that had been given under Pittman. Luke was able to endear himself quickly to Devin Willock and Austin Blaske, both of which committed to and signed with Georgia within 8 days of Luke being hired. Even more importantly, Luke finished the 2020 class strong with National Signing Day additions of Sedrick Van Pran-Granger and Broderick Jones. Luke hasn’t taken his foot of the gas either. Not only did he bring in an excellent 2021 offensive line group as well (highlighted by Amarius Mims), but he helped to implement more gap scheme runs in Georgia’s offense and coached Georgia to great pass protection this past season.
In January of 2020, Georgia moved on from James Coley and hired Todd Monken as their new OC. Monken has connections all over the country and, much like Matt Luke, had been a college head coach in Mississippi during his time as the head man for Southern Mississippi. Monken and Luke’s Mississippi connections have help Georgia flip Ole Miss commits in the 2020 and 2021 classes in Daran Branch and AD Mitchell. Also, the high flying attack that Monken was known for at Oklahoma State, Southern Miss, and in the NFL with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers was finally able to be put on full display when JT Daniels took over for the final 4 games of the 2021 season. The offensive acumen of Monken is not only a much needed asset to Kirby Smart, but his wealth of coaching experience in leadership positions at the highest levels of the game are a major help as well. The NFL experience alone is enough to make Monken more than credible and attractive as a recruitier. Also, with all that is on Smart’s plate, in-game and on in the day-to-day operations of a program, having a “head coach of the offense”, so to speak, is invaluable and an aspect of the 2021 that should be maximized with a quarterback in place.
Finally, we come to Smart’s fellow Georgia Bulldog, turned big-time college coach, Will Muschamp. You name it and Muschamp has done it in the world of college football coaching. From being a DC at Texas and Auburn, to making stops in Gainesville, Florida, and Columbia, South Carolina, as a Head Coach, Muschamp has been apart of some very high highs and low lows. Regardless of how the stints at Florida and South Carolina ended, Muschamp spent a good while at each and built in-roads as a recruiter. The now Georgia analyst has relationships with high school coaches in the border states to the Peach State’s south and east that could pay big dividends in recruiting. Also, having a talented defensive mind around to bounce ideas off of and glean insights from can only help Smart and Lanning on a day-to-day basis. Despite mixed results as a HC, Muschamp was always able to win games that he shouldn’t have and land the occasional monster prospect. Just being able to add some relief or support to Smart in program logistics, a gameday management call, or some added value to a relationship in the recruitment of 2022 and 2023 blue-chip prospects would be well worth the $300,000 UGA is paying Muschamp. Also, it would appear that the Dawgs have their next DC in place when Dan Lanning make the inevitable leap to being a Head Coach.
Just like Georgia’s player roster in 2021, the coaching staff in Athens is loaded and all the pieces are there to produce results.