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Everything Will Muschamp Said Before the Georgia Bulldogs' 2022 Season

August 9, 2022
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ATHENS - Will Muschamp spoke with the media before the 2022 season about the Georgia Bulldogs, and where the Bulldogs’ defense goes from here.

On the transition last season from analyst to on-field role…
“First of all, I appreciate the opportunity Coach Smart gave me to come back to my alma mater, the University of Georgia, to live in Athens. It’s been an awesome experience, obviously. An unfortunate situation with Coach (Scott) Cochran, but in handling that, I was certainly ready to step on the field. I’ve asked players as a head coach, a coordinator, and a position coach for a lot of years to do the best job in your role in the organization. When I was an analyst, I wanted to do the best job I could do as an analyst. When I was asked to be the special teams coordinator and work with the safeties and STARs, then I did the best job I could do there. That’s the way I’ve always approached things—in your role in the organization and do the best job I could do for Coach Smart.”
 
On Malaki Starks and JaCorey Thomas in the backfield…
“Right now, we’re training both of them to be safeties. Marcus Washington is another young man that is playing the STAR position. All three of those guys are good young players. Obviously, Malaki and JaCorey benefitted from going through the spring, so they have a little bit better of an understanding of practice organization, schematic things we do, and that will come with Marcus. Both of them are going to be really good players—when that happens, I don’t know. We’re only in practice five of training camp, so it’s very early to tell anything, but I’m really excited about both players.”
 
On Marvin Jones, Jr. and Mykel Williams…
“Excited about both guys. Both guys have twitches, they have pass-rushing ability. We’re going to be in full pads for the first time today, and that’s actually how you play the game nowadays, in full pads. We’ll know a lot more as we continue to move forward, but I’m glad both of them are at the University of Georgia.”
 
On being a co-coordinator and working with Glenn Schumann…
“I knew of Glenn, but I didn’t really know Glenn until last year. I had a wonderful working experience with he, and Dan (Lanning), and Tray Scott, and Coach Smart was on the defensive side of the ball a lot. We had a really good rapport, as far as what we needed to do to be successful and nothing’s going to change with that. We have a great working relationship. Glenn’s promotion, in my opinion, is well-deserved. He’s an outstanding football coach. He’s extremely bright. He has a great rapport with his players. When you really look at Coach Smart’s seven seasons here at Georgia, the two longest-tenured coaches are Glenn and Dell McGee, and you look over those seven years, the consistency of their position groups is probably the best that’s been here in those seven years. His position has been very productive. He’s recruited extremely well at his position. He’s just an outstanding football coach. He has a very good understanding of what we do defensively, how we adjust things out, and he’s always looking for a better way to do it. He’s always researching those things and what we can do to get better in those situations. I really enjoyed getting to work with Glenn because of the football intelligence he has and the passion he brings to the job every single day, because those things are really important, and players see that. They see how invested he is in them.”
 
On working with fellow Georgia alums on the coaching staff…
“It’s great. I appreciate Coach Smart giving me the opportunity to be here. Obviously, I think Mike’s (Bobo) a great addition for us. Bryan McClendon is a great addition for us—Todd Hartley, another Georgia graduate. All of those guys are guys that—I’m more familiar with Coach Smart, Coach Bobo, Coach McClendon—I’m getting to know Todd in the last year, the guy’s an outstanding football coach. But all of those guys have a vested interest in the University of Georgia. Not that we didn’t at other places, but at the end of the day, this is where you went to school and certainly glad to be here. But I enjoy working with people you know. I told the players the other night when I was talking to them, ‘We spend more time with you guys and our coaching staff than we do with our families.’ I’m not proud to say that, but this is not a job, it’s a lifestyle. It’s what it is. You like to spend time around people you enjoy being around, and we certainly do, and I credit Coach Smart and the staff he’s hired. You enjoy coming to work because you like what you do, but you also like the people you’re working with, and that’s important.”
 
On being close to family...
"My brother is in Rome. My mom is in Alabama, and my father past away seven years ago last May. Family is important. My wife's family is in Thomaston, Georgia, so it's the first time in our career where we have been close with them. We've got back to seeing everybody, and that's been awesome."


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On adjusting to being a coordinator again...
"Number one, I credit the head coach and the staff for the young men we've recruited. We've got a really good group of young men that we enjoy coaching. Like I mentioned earlier about working with the staff, working with a head coach that philosophically you are aligned with, and what you want and how you need to practice, the type of players you look for in recruiting, how you want to play middle field coverage, how you want to play split safety coverage, how you want to play pattern match [zone]. It's not that we agree on everything because we don't, but it's healthy to not agree. Again, what is your role in the organization? Do your best job in the role in the organization. If you're not happy, go somewhere else. It's very simple. I love my role. I told my wife the other day that I think I have the best job in America. At the end of the day, the room that I have I am honored to coach. To be in that room, to be at the University of Georgia, to see our future as we continue to unfold and move forward - I am really excited about it."
 
On the issues the tight end group will pose for opposing defenses...
"Obviously the match-up issues you have. You saw the season that Brock (Bowers) had last year. A very difficult cover, and he's very good with his body. His balance and ability to bounce off people is outstanding. He's got outstanding hands. Darnell (Washington) is a guy that is very difficult as far as his length is concerned. I think with the combination of those things, it makes them very difficult to deal with - and we've got some players beyond those guys. I think we take pride in our offense. The guys in our offense do a great job of putting them in positions to be successful in the offense as far as gearing things towards their skill set and what they do well. They're difficult to defend because number one, from just a football play standpoint, it's not always necessarily about the scheme but about the players. And then putting them in positions to be successful, and those guys take advantage of those situations as players."

On Stetson Bennett...
"Stetson is really smart, number one. He knows where to take the ball based on coverage. He's really smart as far as football intelligence is concerned. He's a really good athlete and runs extremely well. You have to defend his legs, as well, and he throws the ball extremely well. I think that's a very good combination at the quarterback position to have, and obviously going into last season, you see a guy that really persevered through not being where he wanted to be to putting in the work to be where he wanted to be. You have to give him a lot of credit."
 
On building chemistry on defense with roster turnover...
"As a staff, it is something that we have been very cognizant of - creating the best version of each of those young men every day. We continue to develop leadership, continue to develop mental and physical toughness that you have to have in our league to play and be successful. We understand what good looks like around here. We also understand what elite looks like around here. And the standard doesn't change. The standard is the standard that has been set by the head football coach.  Our players and our staff understand that."
 
On Fran Brown’s impact on the coaching staff…
“It’s outstanding. Fran is a great person to work with. From Camden, New Jersey, he’s got an interesting story as he’s grown up through this. Again, another guy that has a great rapport with the players, but a joy to work with as far as football is concerned. Everyone wants to talk about our scheme, our system. Sometimes this scheme is very difficult, for a first year in the scheme coach, with a guy that is very diligent, has a great work ethic, and it is a joy to work with. The guy has been awesome, and he has done a great job for us recruiting and representing us in a first-class manner. I’m really excited about his future here at Georgia.”
 
On the leadership of Christopher Smith…
“No doubt. That’s (playing experience) so important. And Chris is a very, very intelligent football player and person. Chris has been coached very well by Coach Smart, and he understands and knows this system very well. He’s a guy that’s able to lend a hand to young players. Sometimes, I think as coaches, our stuff falls on deaf ears after a while. Being able to have an older player to sit down with a younger player, that’s vitally important to your progress and development as a young player. I saw it last night, Billy Poole grabs Marcus Washington and tries explain something to Marcus, and immediately Chris is like, ‘Coach, I got it.’ Which, Billy Poole graduated two days ago. So, that’s a heck of a deal too. But, when you see those sorts of things, again, they get tired of Coach Muschamp sometimes, but they’ll listen to a peer, and that’s really, really important to have as you continue to work your way into the program and the culture that you create, and I credit Coach Smart and his staff for that.” 
 
On the growth of Dan Jackson…
“He’s the second-best walk-on safety in Georgia history. You figure out who the first one is. Well, everyone loves Dan. His approach to his craft, to his improvement, he has made tremendous improvement in my time here at Georgia, but it’s not because of me, but because of his work ethic, his approach about going and doing the things and addressing the things you need to improve on. He had a huge blocked punt this past year against Arkansas. Huge momentum swing in the game. And then when Chris got banged up late in the year, and then in our dime package as we continue to evolve in the secondary in year one and we got a little better, his role was huge as far as those things were concerned. You talk in terms of respect on the team, the guy has garnered a lot of respect amongst his teammates and certainly his coaching staff.”  
 
On Nazir Stackhouse and Tyrion Ingram-Dawkins…
“We are five days into camp and we are putting full pads on today, so we’ll learn a lot more about these guys. We don’t really change how we practice. But certainly, continuing to build the consistency that you have up front. Tray Scott does a phenomenal job with our defensive line and the development of our defensive line. Some of those guys weren’t really high-ranked recruits when they came in here, and they got developed by Tray, who I think is as good of a defensive line coach as I’ve ever worked with. I’d put Tyrion and Nazir and our entire room in Tray’s hands and let him develop those guys as we continue to move forward. I’ve seen improvements, drastically, in my time with Nazir and obviously Tyrion last fall a little bit, and he made huge strides in the spring. We have to get a lot better. I do know that, especially at that position, how critical that is and the number of snaps we lost in our front seven, we’ve got to continue to take strides forward.”
 
On what he saw in Kirby Smart and his impact on the program…
“First of all, you see a guy who is a great competitor. He’s a fierce competitor, and that goes way beyond his coaching days, that’s new time basketball association of Valdosta State, we almost got in several fights, but we’ve matured since then. He’s a great competitor, extremely bright, he does a great job with the players as far as relating with the players, motivating the players, continuing to challenge himself, challenge our staff and our football team on a daily basis for a very high standard. He has an element of toughness about himself of knowing what it takes to be successful, in our organization and in the league, he has a great understanding of this league which I think is a big part of being successful. You adapt to what’s happening in this league – the football stuff is different. I’m talking about recruiting, I’m talking about all the different things that go into being successful in this league. He certainly has done that and has done a phenomenal job here at Georgia. But he’s a guy that, all around, from a staff standpoint, from a roster management standpoint, and the elements of toughness that we do what we need to do to be successful. I can probably count on one hand the ‘not-so-good’ practices we had last year. Now, that’s a lot credit to our young men on our team because of the leadership and things like that, but that’s also the culture that’s been set of that’s how we’re going to practice at Georgia. You go to a Tuesday practice here, it’s a thing of beauty. That’s the way you’re supposed to get after it, but it’s what’s expected, it’s what’s set from the top all the way down in the organization and it’s understood that’s the way we are going to do things. I credit him with that.”

 
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