UGA Notebook: Eason Stays With UGA, New Coaches Hired & Bowl Practice Is Underway

Jake Rowe/

ATHENS, Ga.— Ever since Mark Richt was let go as the Georgia Bulldogs head coach, the news around five-star quarterback Jacob Eason has been up on the air regarding his future plans. On Tuesday, he put those concerns of Bulldog Nation to rest.

Eason announced in his home state of Washington that he would be keeping his commitment to Georgia, instead of jumping over to Florida. He recently visited the Gators and many thought they were going to be the future destination for him.

The Lake Stevens native talked with the media soon after making the announcement on a conference call for the Gatorade National Player of the Year.

“It’s been a crazy experience for a kid my age,” Eason said. “I kind of expected it. I was choosing between one of the biggest rivalries in college football. It was a crazy experience but an experience I’m glad I had.”

Eason committed to the Bulldogs in the summer of 2014 and has stuck with them ever since then. When Richt was let go, that seemed to open things back up to looking at other schools for a short time.

“There wasn’t much uncertainty,” Eason said. “There was a little bit of doubt once coach Richt got fired and there wasn’t an OC hire. It all got cleared up and I’m glad it did.”

The offensive coordinator hire was made over the weekend, while Eason was in town for an official visit. You can learn more about who they chose to lead the offense and quarterbacks further down this page.

Eason will play in the US Army All-American Bowl coming up on January 9 in San Antonio, Tx. He will then report to Athens on January 11, to enroll in classes.

Smart Brings In New Coaches

The new Georgia Bulldogs coaching staff under head coach Kirby Smart is starting to come into form, with three coaches hired over the weekend. They are new offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Jim Chaney, offensive line coach Sam Pittman and defensive assistant Glenn Schumann.

Chaney comes to Georgia, after spending last season with the Pittsburgh Panthers. Previously he spent time at Tennessee and Arkansas.

Smart told the media on Monday during a conference call why he’s going with Chaney.

“(He brings) balance,” Smart said. “He’s always been able to run the ball when he’s had to run the ball and he’s always been able to throw the ball when that was a strength of his. He’s multiple on offense, uses a lot of formations (and) uses the tight ends well. He really uses a guy that uses what he has.”

Pittman worked with Chaney while at Tennessee in 2012 and then at Arkansas the following season. He served as the recruiting coordinator as well at Arkansas.

Smart likes him for his work on and off the field.

“He’s been able to recruit successfully, develop players and all the places he’s been he’s been able to run the ball,” Smart said. “I’ve just got a lot of respect for the way his offensive lines have played, when we’ve played against them. That speaks volumes to me about him as a person.”

Schumann has been the Alabama Director of Player Development and Assistant Director of Personnel for the Crimson Tide. The Valdosta native is expected to coach the defense, with his role to be determined later.

When asked when we could expect to see more coaches added to the staff, Smart said there is still no timetable. He is now back in Tuscaloosa helping the Alabama Crimson Tide get ready for the Michigan State Spartans in the Goodyear Cotton Bowl, as part of the College Football Playoff.

Bulldogs Start Bowl Practice

Georgia is officially getting ready for their January 2 TaxSlayer Bowl matchup with the Penn State Nittany Lions, by starting their practices. They will work in Athens until next Tuesday and then take a break for the Christmas holiday.

Wide receivers coach Bryan McClendon is the interim head coach and is looking forward to the challenge of facing Penn State.

“they’re very formidable, very formidable,” McClendon said. “It’s a team that’s definitely good enough to beat the gauntlet of its conference, especially its division.”

McClendon also mentioned the fact that the Nittany Lions are quarterbacked by potential first round draft pick Christian Hackenberg and helped by Lombardi Award winning defensive end Carl Nassib on the other side of the ball.

The Bulldogs have also had a lot of coaches leave the program over the last few weeks. They will have a new offensive/defensive coordinator for this game in tight ends coach John Lilly and outside linebackers coach Kevin Sherrer.

These moves have been made, because of Jeremy Pruitt deciding to take Kirby Smart’s old defensive coordinator position at Alabama and Brian Schottenheimer deciding to leave the program. McClendon has also had to deal with losing his inside linebackers coach Mike Ekeler.

With the departures, the Bulldogs have promoted Director of Player Personnel Sam Pettito to coach the defensive backs, Director of Recruiting Todd Hartley will coach the special teams, quality control assistant Olten Downs will help with wide receivers and QC Courtney Coard will help with outside linebackers.

McClendon also announced that freshman wide receiver Shaquery Wilson has not transferred out of the program, contrary to reports. Also, freshman defensive end Chauncey Rivers has been suspended for the bowl game, following an arrest.

If the Bulldogs can win in Jacksonville, then they’ll have 10 wins for the second straight season. They would give the senior class 40 for their career.

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