New Georgia Offensive Coaches Are Home Run Hires for Kirby Smart

Barrett Sallee@BarrettSalleeSEC Football Lead WriterDecember 12, 2015

Jim Chaney with Arkansas in 2013
Jim Chaney with Arkansas in 2013Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

New Georgia head coach Kirby Smart led Alabama to top-12 defenses in each of his eight seasons as Alabama's defensive coordinator, and he should step in as head coach of the Bulldogs and work the same magic.

But what about the offense?

Former offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer was nothing short of a disaster during his one season in Athens in 2015. Finding a replacement was Smart's most important duty prior to re-joining the Alabama staff to prepare for the national semifinal against Michigan State.

Mission accomplished.

As 247Sports' Jake Rowe and FootballScoop.com reported Saturday, Pitt offensive coordinator Jim Chaney will join Smart's staff in the same role, and Arkansas offensive line coach Sam Pittman will join him. Georgia later confirmed the hires, along with the move of Glen Schumann, Alabama's current director of player development and associate director of personnel, to the field as a defensive assistant. 

"Jim [Chaney] and Sam [Pittman] are highly respected nationally as individual coaches, but together we have a tandem that has worked along side each other before in the SEC and been extremely productive and successful," Smart said in the release from Georgia.

While neither Chaney nor Pittman is considered a household name, the combination is a home run for Smart.

Jim Chaney with Tennessee in 2012
Jim Chaney with Tennessee in 2012Wade Payne/Associated Press
Video Play Button
Videos you might like

Chaney has worked under uber-pro-style head coaches who didn't allow him to be himself at Pitt (2015) and Arkansas (2013-14). But his time at Tennessee (2009-12) should make Georgia fans incredibly excited.

His Volunteer offense finished second in the SEC in 2012 with 475.9 yards per game, averaged 6.42 yards per play and his passing attack finished second in the conference at 315.6 yards per game.

What's Georgia's biggest problem? Passing, particularly finding a quarterback who can stretch the field, has plagued the team over the past two seasons.

Bulldog quarterbacks Greyson Lambert, Brice Ramsey and Faton Bauta combined to complete just 10 passes of 30 or more yards in 2015—the SEC's third-worst mark

As Tony Barnhart of the SEC Network noted on Twitter, Chaney will bring Georgia much-needed balance in the passing game:

Tony Barnhart @MrCFB

Jim Chaney as OC a very good hire for @FootballUGA. Knows how to develop QBs. Gets the ball to play makers in space.

What's more, the addition of Pittman should further solidify an offensive line in Athens that, while good at times, didn't live up to some of the preseason hype that tabbed it as the conference's best unit.

Even in November, Schottenheimer and Richt were scrambling to find the right combination, as Chip Towers of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution noted:


Georgia juggles offensive line again https://t.co/HJ9diPDuDE

Pittman's offensive lines at Arkansas in 2013 and 2014 both finished in the top three in the SEC in sacks allowed and tackles for loss allowed, which was a big reason why the Hogs were so successful on the ground.

As Scott Roussel of FootballScoop.com noted on Twitter, head coach Bret Bielema wanted Pittman to stick around at Arkansas:

FootballScoop Staff @FootballScoop

Am told Bielema very much wanted to keep Sam Pittman (no brainer). Tried talking him out of it…. but to no avail https://t.co/sNnVtyuq1F

From a recruiting standpoint, Pittman should be able to hold together Georgia's recruiting class, hit the ground running and generate some momentum down the stretch in the 2016 cycle.

He was responsible for bringing Denver Kirkland, Sebastian Tretola and Dan Skipper to Fayetteville, according to his 247Sports recruiter profile. He was also instrumental in getting quarterback Rafe Peavey and wide receiver Dominique Reed to sign with Arkansas. 

Sam Pittman with Arkansas in 2015
Sam Pittman with Arkansas in 2015Samantha Baker/Associated Press

The combination of a well-respected offensive line coach and a well-connected coordinator who can develop quarterbacks and open up the offense qualifies as a home run for Smart.

It should immediately benefit the Bulldogs' recruiting, on a weekend in which they're hosting 5-star prospect Jacob Eason on an official visit (perhaps not coincidentally).

If Eason signs on the dotted line and enrolls in January, it should also kick-start his adjustment to the college game and give him ample opportunity to win the starting quarterback job as a true freshman.

You simply couldn't have drawn up a better hire for Smart. The combination of Chaney and Pittman will keep Georgia true to its pro-style roots while providing the ability to open things up when appropriate.

Quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted. Statistics are courtesy of cfbstats.com.

Barrett Sallee is the lead SEC college football writer and national college football video analyst for Bleacher Report as well as a host on Bleacher Report Radio on SiriusXM 83. Follow Barrett on Twitter @BarrettSallee.

slash iconYour sports. Delivered.

Enjoy our content? Join our newsletter to get the latest in sports news delivered straight to your inbox!