December 3, 2009

The day after firings produces some news

The day following Mark Richt's defensive purge wasn't without some interesting news.

Former defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder told the Atlanta Constitution that he has no interest in returning to Georgia in the same capacity.

That wasn't all. There was certainly plenty of rumor and innuendo.

Defensive line and recruiting coordinator Rodney Garner was a popular topic of conversation, including word that he had allegedly resigned.

Trouble is, that was news to Garner.

Although Garner could not immediate be reached for comment, UGASports confirmed through sources that the coach was recruiting in Atlanta, where he had stopped by Washington and Douglass High.

Otherwise, it was a quiet day on the coaching front as Richt attempts to fill the voids after Wednesday's firing of defensive coordinator Willie Martinez, linebackers coach John Jancek and defensive ends coach Jon Fabris.

The three have been asked to remain and help coach the Bulldogs through their bowl game, but as of yet have not informed Richt of their decision.

A source inside the Butts-Mehre Building told UGASports said that Richt "will cross that bridge when he comes to it" if the three do not return. If not, Richt will likely turn to graduate assistants to help fill the void.

In an interview Wednesday night, athletic director Damon Evans said he's got complete confidence in Richt to find the right defensive coordinator, one who will not only be the right fit for the football program, but the University as well.

"I've always told (Richt). I like the way he runs our program, first and foremost. I want people who care about young people. I want someone who's an educator and a teacher, who has a thorough understanding of football but I'm not imparting any of that on Mark," Evans said. "Mark knows my philosophy and again I've got confidence in him to go out and get a top-quality person that will allow us to compete at a high level and represent this institution well. He (Richt) knows that."

Bulldog punter Drew Butler did receive some good news.

On Thursday, the redshirt sophomore was been named to the 2009 American Football Coaches' All-America Team.

Butler, a 6-2, 203-pound sophomore native of Duluth is leading the nation in punting with a 48.8 average on 50 punts. He is one of three finalists for the Ray Guy Award, which is presented annually to college football's top punter. Butler and the Bulldogs also lead the NCAA in Net Punting at 42.8.

He is on pace to become only the third Bulldog in school history to lead the NCAA in punting (Zeke Bratkowski, 42.6 in 1953; Bobby Walden, 45.3 in 1958). He is also on target to break the school's single season punting average record. The current mark is 45.4 by Chip Andrews in 1984 while the SEC mark is within reach at 48.2 (Ricky Anderson, Vanderbilt in 1984). This season, Butler has boomed 24 punts of 50+ yards and placed 17 inside the 20-yard line.

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