Friday, January 31, 2014

Defensive coaching news - UPDATED

What we know is that new defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt will likely coach the secondary. He's brought in Kevin Sherrer to help with linebackers. And earlier this week it was announced that Tracy Rocker would join the staff to coach the defensive line.

That leaves one spot open as far as assistant coaches. And Emerson is pointing to Mike Ekeler as the likely candidate to take the final spot.
Mike Ekeler, who coached Southern California's linebackers this past season, has emerged as a serious candidate to join Georgia's staff. In fact, two sources at UGA said Ekeler was on his way to meet with head coach Mark Richt on Thursday.
Attempts to reach Ekeler for comment were unsuccessful. A source cautioned that it was not yet a done deal, and that Ekeler had also been speaking with UCLA. But the fact he was heading to meet Richt points to an advanced candidacy.
There is no firm connection between Ekeler and UGA, although he did work at Oklahoma with Chris Wilson, who spent last season as Georgia's defensive line coach. Wilson, coincidentally, left for the same job at Southern California.
Ekeler, 42, was Indiana's defensive coordinator from 2010-12. Prior to that he was an assistant at Nebraska for three years under Bo Pelini. Ekeler also worked at LSU from 2005-07, serving as an intern and graduate assistant, when Pelini was the defensive coordinator there. The Tigers won the national title while Ekeler was there.
A source said Ekelar, if hired at UGA, would help coach linebackers and also have a role coaching special teams. Ekeler was a special teams standout at Kansas State, where he played from 1991-94.
The story goes on to emphasize Ekeler's background in special teams, which could weigh heavily in Richt's interest here. Ekeler was a special teams standout as a player at Kansas State. During his coaching career he has mostly followed Bo Pelini at Oklahoma, LSU and then Nebraska before becoming Indiana's Co-Defensive Coordinator in 2010 and USC's linebackers coach last season.

All in all, I like Ekeler's resume and from what I was able to read last night he could bring a lot of intensity to the sideline. I also like that he lettered at Kansas State for three years and was named a team captain by Bill Snyder himself during Ekeler's senior year.

Additionally, Kelin Johnson announced via Facebook last night that he was returning to Athens to be a grad assistant. Currently, the football program has four GA's after adding Christian Robinson last summer.

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UPDATE: Tracy Rocker and Mike Sherrer both will have one year deals. Rocker's is for $300,00 and Sherrer's is for $200,000. If you're looking to compare: Olivadotti made $285k last season, Lakatos $235k and Wilson $250k.