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A defensive guru has been imported to put the bite back in the Dawg D
There were hugs and there were kisses, but last Valentine's Day at the home of
Gary and Jeanne Gibbs there wasn't a lot of romance in the air. That morning
Gary Gibbs waved goodbye, not only to Jeanne and the couple's two kids, but also
to Norman, Okla., his hometown for 29 years. Hours later he was met at the
Atlanta airport by his old friend Georgia coach Jim Donnan, who had coached with
Gibbs at Oklahoma in the 1980s. Donnan drove his new defensive coordinator to
his new home at the Holiday Inn Express in Athens -- where Gibbs still
resides -- and the latest savior of Georgia football was ready to begin his
| || |
| The Book |
| An opposing team's coach sizes up
"Quincy's a beautiful athlete, but there's more to being great than looking good.
I don't see it in him. Every big game he's played in, he's lost and looked
bad.... It takes two to block Seymour .... We'll go after their corners. Our
wideouts stutter-step, and they come in 100 miles an hour. We've been successful
with deep routes against
"Gary has a strong record," says Donnan, noting that Oklahoma led the
nation in total defense in '85, '86 and '87, when Gibbs was the Sooners'
defensive coordinator. "He'll turn our defense
Last year the Bulldogs gave up more total yards (382.6) per game than any other
SEC team. That kind of statistic doesn't endear head coaches to alumni. Neither
does the fact that under Donnan the Bulldogs are 1-7 against Florida and
All of which makes this a very important season for Donnan, because if ever
Georgia is going to win an SEC title, this is the year. The Bulldogs have
experience (19 starters return), a gifted quarterback (Quincy Carter) and a
friendly schedule. "We can be great," says senior Richard Seymour, an
All-SEC defensive tackle. "We can play for a national title."
Seymour, who had 74 tackles in 1999, could get more in Gibbs's new system.
Ten starters are back on defense, but newcomer Gibbs, Georgia's third defensive
coordinator in three years, will have the greatest impact on the unit. Since
resigning under pressure from Oklahoma in November 1994, Gibbs has lived a quiet
life on the plains. When Donnan called in January and asked Gibbs how to improve
his defense, Gibbs had a two-word answer: Hire me. "I was ready," says
Gibbs, whose family stayed in Norman. "Now the key is to identify who my
playmakers are and put them in positions to make
"This fall," says Seymour, "we plan on surprising quite a few
people." If that happens, Gibbs's neighbors in Norman shouldn't expect him
Issue date: August 14, 2000
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