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Georgia Tech Football: Coordinator Search Update

There are some new names that have been mentioned!

NCAA Football: Troy at South Carolina Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

Before I get into this, I do want to preface and say that I do not have any inside sources. Any information that is here is simply information that I have found on non-paywalled fan message boards or my own opinions, so take it with a grain of salt.

Since Georgia Tech dismissed the three coaches last week, it’s been a helluva week. And that’s not even including the transfer saga. I’m just going to go through these candidates individually.

George Godsey

This isn’t so much an update, since I’m sure you’ve all seen this now. Rivals’ Kelly Quinlan alluded on Twitter to Godsey being offered and passing on the job, while the AJC’s Ken Sugiura had a full article on Godsey.

According to Sugiura, the talks never progressed to an offer.

Either way, it looks like George Godsey will not be the next offensive coordinator for Georgia Tech, and I’m breathing a sigh of relief. Godsey has exhibited little success as a coach in his career, and despite the fact that he is a Georgia Tech alum, it would not have been a very inspiring hire.

Chip Lindsey, Chip Long, and Mike Sanford, Jr.

This one comes from a post on GTSwarm. Someone there mentioned that they had read that these three are ones to keep an eye on. Knowing that GTSwarm has been known to post stuff from paywalled boards, it wouldn’t surprise me if that’s where it came from, so let’s talk about each of these guys.

Of this group, I think Chip Lindsey is my favorite. The former head coach of Troy, he’s definitely not at the height of his success right now, but he does have a good bit of success in the past. I previously mentioned him in the Coaching Candidates article earlier this week.

Before being hired as Troy’s head coach, Lindsey served as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for Auburn under Gus Malzahn. At Southern Miss a few years before, Lindsey and the Southern Miss offense finished 12th in the nation in total offense. In his lone season at Arizona State, the team only won five games, but they finished by averaging 33 points a game and 11th in redzone offense (a place where Tech struggled mightily). It should also be noted that he has experience working at a high school in the area, as he served as the head coach of Lassiter High School in Marietta from 2008 to 2009.

I think hiring Lindsey would be a great move, as Tech would be able to move more into a spread option style offense. It’s also worth noting that while at Auburn, Lindsey worked with Jarrett Stidham, who is not really known for his running abilities.

Moving onto the other two, let’s just say I hope Tech doesn’t hire of them.

Starting with Chip Long, it’s tough to gauge his time at Memphis, because he was part of Norvell’s first season replacing Justin Fuente there, so the offense was already in a really good place. Looking at ND, the offense did improve from Mike Sanford’s last year to Long’s first. He used Brandon Wimbush pretty effectively. 2018 was a little less great as they transitioned to Ian Book. He had a decent year, but since he isn’t the runner Wimbush was, they lost that dimension. Book improved in 2019 having the job be fully his. He passed for over 3,000 yards and 30 TDs while having just six picks. The running game again was there but not the focus. I wonder how much success for Book can be attributed to Long since Tommy Rees was already on staff as the QB coach and ND made the decision to not keep him. It also doesn’t look great that his next position wasn’t a coordinator position, but rather an analyst position at UT. There was a lot of talk while Long was there about who was really running the offense, him or Brian Kelly. Reading the comments from the ND SBN site after Long was fired, it seems like they didn’t hate him, but they thought he could have done a lot better. Was well thought of as a TE coach and recruiter. Apparently there was also a rumor that Tommy Rees took over playcalling towards the end of Long’s tenure at ND. Looking at Tulane this year, the QB is apparently young and has some promise and did fine this year, but the offense was pretty lacking and the defense was even worse. He had two RBs over 500 yards with a combined 12 TDs.

For what it’s worth on his time at Tulane, I reached out to Fear the Wave (the only Tulane blog I know) to get their thoughts, and they said they would be surprised to see Long be offered a P5 job, but that Tulane fans wouldn’t be upset about him leaving.

Moving over to Mike Sanford, his lone year at WKU as the QB coach was Willie Taggart’s first year, which did not go very well at all! They ran a more run-based offense, and the QB play was generally bad. Moving to Stanford, Sanford got to work with an already well-established Stepfan Taylor in his first season when he was just the RB coach. I would argue Taylor got overused a little bit in Sanford’s second season, and it looks like he kinda took a step back. The next season, he took over QB/WR coaching for Kevin Hogan’s first full season. He did fine, but because Tyler Gaffney broke out, he didn’t get much of a chance to shine. Ty Montgomery was the leading receiver that year, though IIRC he played a little bit of everywhere. Only one other receiver had more than 200 yards. In 2014 at Boise State, it was Bryan Harsin’s first season, and they were taking an offense under Chris Peterson that was already pretty good, and it got even better in 2014. QB Grant Hedrick did a good-ish job. He completed 70 percent of his passes for 3700 yards, but only threw for 23 TDs and 14 (!!!) INTs. Jay Ajayi also blew up at RB. In 2015, Sanford moved to Notre Dame to take over an offense that is already pretty solid. He oversaw Deshone Kizer’s breakout, but Year 2 under Sanford was a pretty dramatic drop in success. He took over a pretty good Western Kentucky team after that, and they regressed big time. In 2016, they won 10 games. Then they didn’t win 10 games between Sanford’s two seasons. Things got worse in Year 2 when his QB left. In 2019 at Utah State, he got Jordan Love’s last season there, and he regressed tremendously. He nearly tripled the number of interceptions he threw under Sanford’s tutelage. In 2020, he went to Minnesota, which once again had a pretty good offense already in place. Noticing a pattern? QB Tanner Morgan went from averaging 10 yards per attempt and completing 66 percent of his passes in 19 to averaging 7.5 yards/attempt and completing 58 percent of his passes. Morgan bounced back a smidge, but still isn’t completing more than 60 percent of his passes.

As offensive coordinators, I’m a hard no on Long and Sanford. I wouldn’t say no to Long coming in as the TE coach, but I don’t know that it would be a clear step up from what he’s doing now without the offensive coordinator tag.

Zach Kittley

I haven’t been able to find anything super concrete about Kittley and Georgia Tech, but I think it would easily be the best option available. Kittley is an incredibly bright up-and-comer in the college football world who could bring in the air raid offense, which would be a lot of fun. Texas Tech is also looking for an offensive coordinator, so if I’m being perfectly honest, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Kittley end up there, as that is his alma mater.

What about the defense?

Things have been mysteriously quiet on the defensive side of the coaching search. I fully expect them to make a hire for a new defensive backs coach, but I feel like if Tech was going to hire a defensive coordinator, we would have heard something about a candidate by now.

This tells me to expect to hear that Geoff Collins will be taking over as the defensive coordinator, so Tech will have an extra coaching slot. With the extra slot, they could elect to go with two DB coaches, a separate OC and QB coach, a ST coordinator, or really whatever they want.

My hopes

I already mentioned that I want Zach Kittley for the job, but I would also be happy with Chip Lindsey. In an ideal world, Tech would be bringing in one of them as the Offensive Coordinator/QB Coach, and then Tech could bring in someone to coach the secondary, and if they aren’t going to hire an actual defensive coordinator, they can hire a special teams coordinator.

What are you hoping for at this point?