Georgia offensive coordinator James Coley meets with media for first time in new role
There will be a new face on the sideline for the Georgia football team in 2019.
After former offensive coordinator Jim Chaney ran the offense from the press box the past three seasons, new coordinator James Coley and head coach Kirby Smart are leaning toward having Coley call plays down on the field this year.
“It’s what we’ve done in scrimmages and what he and I have talked about doing,” Smart said on Aug. 27. “We are open to looking at it different ways, but right now it’s probably what we’re going to do.”
Coley was also on the field as Miami’s offensive coordinator from 2013-15. The Hurricanes finished 48th, 47th and 67th in the country in offensive yards per game over those three years. Over the past three seasons on Georgia’s staff, Coley has been in the press box with Chaney.
When he met with the media on Aug. 5, Coley didn’t know whether he would be on the field or not. But he did know that he wanted to “bring the juice” to the Bulldogs’ offense.
“We expect them to have energy and we feel like as a coaching staff, we have to reflect that and inspire that,” Coley said. “It’s loud, energetic, moving fast, constantly questioning them on the field.”
That mindset extends beyond the field as well. If he sees a player with his head down in the hall, Coley will yell at them, “Do you have any juice?,” usually inspiring a burst of energy from the player in question.
As for the upcoming campaign, the offensive coordinator’s presence on the sideline will benefit the Bulldogs, particularly when things are going sideways.
Junior offensive lineman Solomon Kindley said he didn’t think too much about Chaney being in the press box, noting that he had no control over that. However, he does anticipate the good that will come from face-to-face interactions with Coley.
“If we do this play bad or we didn’t execute it the right way, Coach Coley will come up the sideline,” Kindley said. “He’ll most definitely tell us, ‘This wasn’t right, you need to do this, run this route that way, block this way.’”
Junior tackle Andrew Thomas noted that Coley’s energy has helped the team early in scrimmages, keeping the team from coming out flat.
Against Power 5 competition last year the Bulldogs outscored the opposition 79-44 in first quarters, but mustered more than seven points in the opening period just three times. A lack of energy doesn’t account for all of that, but Thomas doesn’t anticipate it being much of an issue at all with the new guy.
“If we get down on ourselves, he can be there to lift us up,” Thomas said.
As Coley’s debut as Georgia’s offensive coordinator draws closer, it’s unclear exactly what the offense will look like or how it will fare.
But one thing is for sure: Coley will continue bringing his energy and enthusiasm to the Bulldogs as he runs the offense from the sideline.