Georgia Bulldogs: Reactions to Chaney, Pittman hires


Yesterday, the Georgia Bulldogs announced that Pittsburgh offensive coordinator Jim Chaney and Arkansas offensive line coach Sam Pittman would join Kirby Smart’s staff.

The staff new head coach of the Georgia Bulldogs Kirby Smart is assembling is starting to come together. After bringing defensive coach Glen Schumann with him from Tuscaloosa and retaining both Georgia running backs coach Thomas Brown and outside linebackers coach Kevin Sherrer, both of whom have been on the recruiting trail with other members of the new staff, Smart opted to bring in Pittsburgh offensive coordinator Jim Chaney and Arkansas offensive line coach Sam Pittman to similar roles at Georgia.

Chaney worked with Pittman as a part of Bret Bielema’s 2013-14 Arkansas Razorbacks staff after Bielema left the Wisconsin Badgers program for the Hogs of Fayetteville in the SEC. People’s initial reaction to the Jim Chaney hiring was a bit mixed, but siding more on the positive. Getting Pittman to leave Arkansas royally upset Bielema and the Hogs.

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Smart likes Chaney’s ability to coach quarterbacks, call plays, and have a balanced offensive attack. Chaney in his career as an offensive coordinator is capable of building an offense around the team’s strengths that season.

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He’s had 3,000 yard passers like Drew Brees and Kyle Orton while at Purdue. Even Jonathan Crompton and Tyler Bray threw for that mark at Tennessee when Chaney served under then head coach Derek Dooley. At Arkansas, while the passing game struggled with Brandon Allen under center, the Hogs were a fantastic rushing team with great offensive line play and great play from tight ends, too.

Pittman left Arkansas abruptly to join Smart’s staff in UGA. In a weird way, it is reminiscent of how former Atlanta Falcons head coach Bobby Petrino spurned the Dirty Birds around this time in 2007 to become the next head coach of the Arkansas Razorbacks. Pairing Pittman with Chaney again gives Smart’s offense the credibility and structure needed for the first year head coach.’s Radi Nabulsi, to me, gives the best synopsis of how I feel about both hires. I think his take on both coaches is very close to spot on.

Keep in mind that Smart saw a ton of both coaches, as Tennessee and Arkansas are both annual rivals of Alabama. For a strong defensive mind like Kirby Smart, he must have felt that game planning against Chaney’s offense and dealing with the strong offensive line play of Pittman’s unit were something he would want to have on his staff. Seeing how well in worked over the years in the SEC, it makes since to bring both men with him to the Georgia Bulldogs.

Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema was a bit ‘emotional‘ when he found out that Pittman would leave his staff to join Smart’s in Athens. He spoke highly of Pittman, but in a way sounding like he was responsible for him becoming a good coach. Bielema seems to have wished in hindsight that he had a non-compete clause etched into Pittman’s contract with the Hogs. It was this reason that Smart couldn’t interview Arkansas offensive coordinator Dan Enos.

The non-compete clauses built into many of Bielema’s staff members contracts were the brainchild of Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long. To me, it’s a bit of a stretch to flex a non-compete clause with a divisional foe your team doesn’t play annually. At Arkansas, I totally understand if it prevented coaches from leaving to other SEC West schools or Missouri, their cross-divisional rival, but the Georgia Bulldogs and the Arkansas Razorbacks rarely play. It’s a bit of a paranoid, power move that I’m not okay with.

Overall, I feel that reuniting Jim Chaney and Sam Pittman bodes well for the future growth of the UGA offense. Retaining Thomas Brown, who has coached several elite tailbacks including Melvin Gordon, Cory Clement, Nick Chubb, and Sony Michel, will bring out the very best in this young coach, as he will thrive in Pittman’s protection schemes and Chaney’s aerial attacking concepts.

Next: Jim Chaney: Georgia's new offensive coordinator

I have a feeling this will be a step up from Brian Schottenheimer and we may again see things that remind us of when Mark Richt and former offensive coordinator Mike Bobo were running the best pro-style offense in the country. The Georgia Bulldogs’ two most recent hires have me excited about the future of the program and I’m not afraid of the offense’s fate anymore. This looks promising. Go Dawgs!