Top Dawgs: Todd Hartley

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Top Dawgs: Todd Hartley

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Todd Hartley is a coach with deep Georgia roots. Not only is he a native of Gray, Ga., but Hartley is also a UGA grad who worked as a student assistant while completing his undergraduate time in Athens.

Georgia had an 11-win season and tallied three bowl victories during Hartley’s years working with the Bulldogs, including a Sugar Bowl win over Hawai’i in 2008.  He was instrumental in preparation of the Georgia defense for the 2009 Independence Bowl at a time when only one full-time defensive assistant was on staff.

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Hartley made stops at West Virginia, Marshall and Miami before returning to Athens for the 2019 season when he took over the tight end group.

Coaching styles vary on the practice fields at the Butts-Mehre complex and Hartley is one of those who are quick to push up the volume and intensity when is not pleased with the effort of his charges during position group drills. Coach Hartley is nothing if not intense, but that is not to suggest that praise is absent in his group.

Under the previous two offensive coordinators, Georgia’s tight ends have been employed as blockers first, in fact, they have often been positioned in the backfield, functioning as blocking backs in some situations.

Now that Charlie Woerner and Eli Wolf have graduated, Hartley will be replacing most of the room’s production at the same time that new offensive coordinator Todd Monken puts his unique stamp on the offense.

Returnees John Fitzpatrick (6-6/230), Brett Seither (6-5/228), and Rylan Goode (6-6/240) will compete with incoming freshman Darnell Washington (five-star recruit, 6-7/261 from Las Vegas) and Tre McKitty (grad transfer from FSU, 6-5/245) for playing time.

Tight ends will be blockers, and that is not going to change in the new offense. However, look for Hartley/Monken to get this room more involved in the passing game.

If Jamie Newman wins the QB job, Georgia will be pushing downfield with a QB who can not only see the middle of the field (he is 6-4), but he will be pressuring defenses with his ability as a runner. Look for Newman to take advantage of his run-threat using run/pass option plays to force inside linebackers to react to the real threat of a running quarterback. When linebackers start to play run or when the defensive coordinator front-loads his defense to stop the run, a pass to one of Hartley’s tight ends breaking open just behind the linebackers and in front of the defensive backs will be a popular choice for Monken.

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Greg is closing in on 11 years writing about and photographing UGA sports. While often wrong and/or out of focus, it has been a long, strange trip full of fun and new friends.