UPDATE, 1/18/10: Scott Lakatos has been hired to fill the position of defensive backs coach for the University of Georgia football team. Read the article featured on georgiadogs.com, here.
The original article I wrote, prior to the official announcement, can be found below, thanks:
You have no doubt heard the rumor that University of Connecticut defensive backs coach, Scott Lakatos, has been interviewed for a position on Georgia's new defensive staff. Well, by Saturday evening, that "rumor" was confirmed by at least one news writer: Marc Weiszer of the Athens-Banner Herald.
Whether Georgia did or did not interview Lakatos and whether he will or won't accept the job remains to be seen, but, the natural question on many a fan's mind has to be this: "Why him?"
Most Dawg fans are not familiar with this Northeast coach who has made his living working in the Big East conference. However, the SEC has had a recent dose of just how dominant a Big East defense can be if it is coached well—South Carolina, our division foe, had a run-in with the UConn Huskies during the 2009 bowl season and went home 20-7 losers .
Steve Spurrier had this to say following the lopsided affair: "The first thing I want to do is apologize to about 30,000 Gamecocks who came here to see a football game, and we couldn't put on one." That's saying a lot when you consider the offensive resurgence by the Gamecocks this season.
Lakatos may not have been the coordinator in that game but his secondary did much to keep quarterback Stephen Garcia off-balance all day—including forcing an interception and holding his completion percentage to 42 percent.
A complete bio on Lakatos can be found here , but the thing that stands out to me is his ability to take average talent and turn it into NFL-level talent.
One such case was former Husky DB, Darius Butler, who came out of Coral Gables, FL in 2004 rated as a two-star product, according to Rivals.com. He became an early second-round pick of the New England Patriots and finished his rookie season with 3 INT's, 35 tackles, and 8 pass deflections.
That's pretty good for a guy who wasn't even nationally ranked out of the rich talent-pool that is South Florida.
Why is this tidbit of information relevant to a Georgia fan? Well, the one knock on our defensive staff over the last 2-3 seasons has been our inability to "coach-up" our talent. Our four- and five-star guys don't seem to be hitting their potential, specifically at the DB position where guys like Bryan Evans (No. 3, pictured above) and Reshad Jones never truly lived up to their billing.
Scott Lakatos has done more with less and knows how to find the hidden gems where talent is concerned. His recruiting philosophy is one of substance over style and he's not afraid to bypass the glitz of a five-star guy for a hard-working three-star player with lots of potential and a great work-ethic.
That philosophy has worked for him and he's been very successful in the northeast as a recruiter.
His territory while working at UConn has included both New York and New Jersey—Dawg fans should consider that another bonus as both Knowshon Moreno and Kade Weston are top products out of that area.
However, that does not mean that he cannot or is incapable of recruiting well in the southeast. Both Darius Butler and the late Jasper Howard were South Florida products—he knows the area and can find solid contributors.
It's clear that, if the Dawgs are indeed pursuing Lakatos for a position on the new staff, they have an agenda. Lakatos is a good coach with a great ability to develop talent, no matter what level it arrives in, into it's max potential.
That's something that this Georgia team has lacked in recent years and would be considered a welcome change in my opinion.
All this could be premature, however, as there isn't any real indication that Lakatos will accept the job if he was indeed interviewed—however, if he does, then I don't think that any Georgia fan should be disappointed with the pick.