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Schumann, Muschamp Meet with Media


PHOTO: UGA SPORTS COMMUNICATION

ATHENS, Ga. — University of Georgia Fain and Billy Slaughter Co-Defensive Coordinators Glenn Schumann and Will Muschamp offered the following comments during Tuesday’s media session.

Glenn Schumann

Opening Statement

“I appreciate you all being here today. I apologize for my voice – we are on Day Six of camp here, so getting warmed up. We are really excited about the direction we are going. Excited about our entire defensive staff and the players we get to work with, and with that I will open it up for questions.”

On Javon Bullard’s progression as a player…

“Javon is an extremely hard worker. We ask all of our guys to compete at a certain level every day. Javon does a great job of that. He is a guy who was part of that COVID class, so you learn a lot about those guys when they get here. He is a competitor and brings the type of energy we want all of our guys to have.”

On replacing last season’s linebacker group…

“You never ask somebody to replace somebody else. You ask them to be the best version of themselves. That’s what counts now is going out there every day seeking excellence and challenging yourself to be the best version of yourself. The people in that room are doing that every day. I am thankful that we are healthy and guys are pushing each other. The one thing in the standard that we set in those guys and the guys before them is that everybody is competing together. It’s about the team, it’s about each other, and these guys embrace that as well. I am excited to see where we go.”

On the best version of Jalen Carter…

“When you play defensive football you have to play at a certain level in terms of your effort, toughness, mentality – that competitive edge. So, the best version for him or anyone else on the defense would be those traits. Playing as hard as you possibly can with the toughness required and competing. You have to win your battles. That is what we expect of all our guys.”

On length of time he has spent with Coach Smart and the impact of coaching changes on defensive philosophy…

“I was trying to figure out how many more years it would be --- you know, you have this saying about your wife where you go and say ‘hey, I have had more years in my life than I have had without her.’ I was trying to figure out the other day where I have to get to to get to that point. I think when coaching defense you have to evolve with the times. Every year what offenses are going to do is attack you and their trends offensively are going to change. So, no matter where this defense has existed, no matter who has been in charge of it, no matter what coaches on staff, the goal has been to create a defense that can create problems for offenses and answer the challenges that they present. Every year that will look a little bit different. Our top calls every year are a little bit different. The way we use our personnel, it’s a little bit different. You figure out who your best players are, what you need to do to be successful. You do that as a staff cooperatively to give yourself the best chance on gameday. When you do that, then you get a good product.”

On linebackers Rian Davis and Trezmen Marshall…

“I am really excited for those guys. They are guys that have battled it out throughout their careers. They’ve had some hardships and they have remained positive, they have remained focused and determined. To see them out there competing is awesome for me as a coach because you respect what they have done. If they continue to do that, I am hopeful for them.”

On creating cohesion with major roster turnover…

“Every day we go out to practice and we challenge guys to get used to playing with other people. That might be, you go out there today and this guy is going to rotate and play with this other at linebacker, safety or defensive front. Preparing yourself for the whole room to be cohesive. You have 48 guys here when you count scholarships and walk-ons on the defense. They are all out there and they will all get to play with each other. To be good on defense you have to have a real team bond, a connection, so that can’t be only comfortable with one guy. Then you are not ready and the next guy steps up. Throughout camp, we are trying to all grow, so we are preparing different people with each other and making people really comfortable, being uncomfortable. We’re not reliant on one person, we’re reliant on the whole team.”

On working with Will Muschamp as co-coordinators…

“When you are here, whether it's year one or year seven, a lot of the stuff on a day-to-day basis, you really do cooperate. That’s why it’s a staff. Obviously, there are different roles within the staff, but when looking at the staff… full coaching staff, defensive staff, and support staff, we want people who complement each other. You can’t have one person do everything. You have to be able to share responsibility. Titles, people and things of that nature change, but the thing that remains the same is when we go in that room – full staff or defensive staff – we work to be on the same page and figure out what is best for our team. Obviously when you get to a time when responsibilities have to be set, you do that, but really what we do is cooperate on a day-to-day basis. No matter what the roles are.”

On focusing on the team instead of individuals…

“We had 19 players on defense play over 200 snaps last year, so I do think that team talk on defense is extremely important. You are looking for as many people that can play winning football as possible. Individuals do stand out, there are going to be guys that you can identify that you’ve already identified, but team talk is extremely important this time of year because our only way to play to the standard on defense here is to get that. To get the team and everybody playing at a high level. Last I checked, there are 11 guys on defense at once. Everybody has to fit their gap properly in the run game. When you want to pressure, everybody has to be in the right area. When you sit there in coverage, certain guys have the flat, certain guys are responsible deep. At the end of the day, the only way to actually be good on defense as a unit is to be a team. You’ll see great defensive players at places sometimes and say how did they have that guy, but they weren’t overly successful on defense. Our guys, no matter who it’s been since we’ve been here have taken pride in that aspect, and we do it well as a staff. In terms of Will (Muschamp), since he’s been here last and obviously moving into this year. He brings a wealth of experience. He’s a staff guy. We really enjoy working together, not just him, the whole defensive staff, the staff in general, as much as we ever had. I think he brings a sense of comradery, professionalism, experience. He’s a great sounding board for ideas. For as much success he’s had in his career, he’s extremely humble. I think humility says a lot about who a person is.”

On the performance on Jamon Dumas-Johnson in camp…

“I think he’s challenged himself. He knows in the summer you attack strength and conditioning to be able to say, hey I might have an increased role this year. What do I have to do in terms of my strength and conditioning to do whatever role is asked of me? He loves football. He practices really hard. He's an instinctive, physical player, but (we) need to continue to see him grow. Everybody needs to grow. It’s day six of practice, but I’ve seen him try to step up and actually challenge… Whether that’s him or Trezmen Marshall, Rian Davis or Smael Mondon. All of those guys… the whole room understands what’s expected in terms of running the defense. There’s a level of pressure that applies to you and they are all trying to answer it. But, he’s done a great job so far and just needs to continue to grow.”

On possible cornerback starters…

“When you look at (Jaheim) Singletary, he’s long. He’s competitive. He loves football. He has good ball skills. Julio (Julian Humphrey) is extremely fast. Has great size. Another guy that is willing in terms of his toughness, which is required at that position. They are both working to become better at corner. For them, they got here this summer and we put them to work. They are really making good progress. Now we are on day six. They can continue to build... the rest of the room was here in the spring. Kamari Lassiter and Nyland Green. Have been working out there. We dual train a lot of guys... if you go back to the very beginning Chris Smith started out at corner and ended up becoming a safety, so we try to dual train everybody. That competition is well underway. It gets changed up every day we try to mix and match them. We don’t just have one guy running in any group, so they get to go against different wideouts every day. Until we get to the scrimmage see who shows up when it's live. When coaches are off the field and its live tackle, we’ll know more then.”

On this year’s defense’s motivation to match last season…

“When you look at what we do here defensively, all these kids took pride in the defensive side of the ball when they came here. Part of it, you go back to Georgia with Erk Russell is playing great defense. Guys who come here believe in themselves that they can go be as good as they want to be defensively. I believe collectively that we can do that. I don’t think anybody is worried about what we are going to be. I think they go out there every day and try to be the best defense they absolutely can. All of that external stuff… I don’t see a group that needs external motivation. I think they are focusing and working as hard as they can.”

On the flexibility afforded by players with multiple skill sets…

“I think if you watch us playing Nickel, if you look at what our Star is, our Star is really a slot corner which is really how most of the National Football League plays their Nickels, so I think we’re asking them to be inside linebackers. Which in today’s day in age in football isn’t really a box linebacker anymore, it’s an off-ball linebacker. The whole room knows in order to be successful, you have to be able to blitz, you have to be able to cover, you have to be able to play in space, all those factors, traits that in the old school days of 4-3 football you would say ‘that’s what an outside linebacker does.’ That’s basically what you’re asking the whole room. In order for us to be successful physically, we have to have a diverse style skillset. We mentioned those guys that obviously have length, that played kind of on the edge in high school. We’re asking the whole room to have more guys that can do those things, that can be good blitzers, can be good in coverage and play in space, we have a lot of flexibility. When we get through the two scrimmages, we can identify who are our best players then you’ll see our rotation and the way we use guys in packages take place as we get ready for games. This time right now in camp, it’s a lot of base packages and then when we figure out our best players and what roles in all rooms, we’ll decide how we use these guys on third down, how we use them on first and second down. You saw every year our packages are a little bit different. I do think fundamentally, the Nickel is a slot corner when you look at the way defensive football is played most of the time.”

On the importance of Nolan Smith returning for his senior season…

“Nolan is one of those guys that, ‘hey, if you’re going to talk about, be about it.’ He’s known for being vocal because he is, but he holds himself to an extremely high standard in terms of how he works. I think we can see that in that room and that’s something we take pride in. Defensively, he wants to challenge everybody to do the same thing. He’s had a great year for us and works really hard every day. He has a great toughness. Right now, he’s looking to be the best version of himself and improve in areas, he wants to be a better pass rusher. He’s working extremely hard at that. He’s really stepped out even more in terms of what he’s doing as a leader. In that room, I see a lot of guys like Robert Beal have a lot of the same traits in terms of, maybe not being as vocal, but in terms of how he carries himself in practice. A guy like Chaz Chambliss is extremely tough and a hard worker. MJ Sherman matches that. When you walk in and you have freshmen, you have Marvin Jones, Darris Smith, C.J. Madden, and they see a room that’s extremely hard working and tough, not just from one guy but all the guys ahead of them, then they know what the expectation is. When you see them out there, that becomes the reputation of the room.”

On the performance on Tyrion Ingram-Dawkins…

“I think the biggest thing is, when he went into the spring, he really attacked his body and his ability to be a guy around the edge. That’s a battle you take as a big guy every single day all throughout the summer and into fall camp. The biggest thing is when you’re leaner, you can be quicker and more explosive, it’s beneficial. That’s at every position. He’s really done that, and we want that in position whether it’s him or Tramel Walthour or Mykel Williams, when they’re out there we want them to be guys that are able to be quick, athletic, lean, guys that can make plays in terms of pursuit but also go inside. But his growth, especially in the spring when he leaned himself up, it helped him.”

On the balance between playing young talent and experienced players…

“We’ve been saying for a long time now, ‘if you’re good enough, you’re old enough.’ Camp is about figuring out who our best players are and that doesn’t have a birthdate on it. We need to figure out who are best players are and challenge them early across the board, whether they’re old or young and see what they can learn, what can they handle, what do we need to work on them with, what do they do best. Then as you go in and go through our scrimmage one, what kind of lessons will we get. Now you’re finetuning it and you’re saying who performed and who didn’t. As you see guys perform, the coach’s job is to coach, we’re teachers. So, when you look at it, you identify a guy who can help you in terms of talent, no matter how old he is, then let’s figure out how we can coach that guy to help us, create a role for him as a guy who plays a lot or in a certain package. I think once you identify who those guys are, you make sure you can get him at that line in terms of ability on the field to help us.”

On Kelee Ringo’s confidence…

“It’s important for me to believe in your players. I think showing belief in your players no matter their age, no matter their experience, is extremely important as a coach because if you don’t believe in them, they won’t believe in themselves. Starting with that, we want to instill confidence in every player. You have to build them up, you have to challenge them when they’re wrong. Sometimes the best thing to do after a guy makes a mistake is to love them, you can correct them in the meetings room. In terms of building any player’s confidence, it starts with us. Believe in them, coach them, lead them, challenge them when they need it. They need to know a coach is believing in them and their teammates believe in them. That goes back the how the team is really built. The more we’re a team, the more we’re united, guys will believe in themselves.”

On aspirations to become a head coach…

“The thing I tried to do when I was a GA was always think about how I could be the best GA and whatever that was. It ended up being something where I became a slightly higher role, still support staff, and I just tried to do that job the best I could. So I’ve done that since I’ve been here. I really try not to be too forward thinking, there’s times and places for that. That quote that Coach Smart had last year before training camp about success coming to those being too busy to be looking for it, that’s a very real quote. It’s not coach speak, it’s a real thing so I try to live that. First-year players, be where your feet are and that’s what it’s all about.”

Will Muschamp

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."

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.”