Having looked at some names that are a stretch and at least one that is a longshot, let's look now at a list Emerson compiles for us.
First, he mentions (via Bruce Feldman) that Richt has already contacted David Gibbs (son of coach Alex Gibbs) from Houston. The Cougars defense was very opportunistic in his first season there. They grabbed a whopping 43 turnovers on the season, 18 fumbles and 25 interceptions. The downside though is the 415 yards per game allowed. Still, Gibbs is a respected defensive coach that has seen time in both the NFL and college ranks. And he has experience in the South from both playing and coaching at Auburn. While with the Tigers his defense was in the top ten and led the SEC in sacks.
But I think a more likely candidate from Emerson's list is current inside linebackers coach Kirk Olivadotti. Both he and defensive line coach Chris Wilson will at least get some measure of consideration. Olivadotti (along with his predecessor Warren Belin) has done a remarkable job revamping the inside linebacker position and repairing the damage done by John Jancek in the previous regime. Olivadotti's well respected, but he's never served as a coordinator. Although it is certainly preferable to land someone with experience at the coordinator position, if the search goes past the "short list" Olivadotti could quickly become the best candidate for the position.
In the very least let's hope Coach Olivadotti is retained, along with Wilson who did a good job turning around Georgia's run defense this past season.
Lastly, it's worth some thought as to whether the new coordinator brought aboard will need to be a "3-4" guy or not. Transitioning back to a 4-3 base could be tricky, but not nearly the arduous task it was to go to the 3-4 four years ago. In fact, I believe we have the personnel to go in either direction. For Grantham's system to work (out of the base package) you had to have a true nose tackle; a big, strong body to anchor the middle of your defense. Although we see more and more nickel sets to defend modern day offenses these days, we have the bodies to run a 4-3 defense if that's the direction Richt wants to move.
In other words, I don't see the previous defensive mindset and current roster playing a factor in the search for a new defensive coordinator. And that is a good thing, as Richt will be able to consider any and all names that come up and across his desk.
Like the man said last night, "The best is yet to come! Go Dawgs!"