Brian Schottenheimer expects ‘easy fit’ at Georgia
ATHENS, Ga. (AP) Brian Schottenheimer’s background as a Florida quarterback almost got in the way of his hopes to become offensive coordinator at Georgia.
During Schottenheimer’s interview with Georgia coach Mark Richt, one of the Bulldogs’ biggest rivalry games was mentioned. That was when Schottenheimer made his mistake.
”He did refer to it as the Florida-Georgia game,” Richt said Friday. Richt said he quickly made sure Schottenheimer knew that in Athens it’s called the Georgia-Florida game.
Schottenheimer managed to smile as he recalled his blunder.
”That almost did me in, truth be known, so I’ve been watching it real close from that point on,” Schottenheimer said.
Schottenheimer, the former St. Louis Rams offensive coordinator whose hiring was announced on Wednesday, said he expects ”an easy fit” in Georgia’s pro-style offense.
He said he’ll learn the terminology used by former coordinator Mike Bobo, who was named the Colorado State head coach on Dec. 22.
”We’re not going to reinvent the wheel,” said Schottenheimer, who also will coach Georgia’s quarterbacks.
”That’s going to allow these guys to play fast. There certainly will be some things that will have my fingerprint on it.”
Richt said the college trend toward spread offenses limited his search.
”There wasn’t a massive amount of candidates at the college level, quite frankly, who do the things that we do,” Richt said.
Led by tailbacks Todd Gurley and Nick Chubb, Georgia set school records with its 537 points and 41.3 points per game this season. The Bulldogs finished 10-3, including a 37-14 win over Louisville in the Belk Bowl.
Schottenheimer was the New York Jets’ offensive coordinator from 2006-11 before he was hired by the Rams. He previously served as quarterbacks coach for the San Diego Chargers and Washington Redskins.
Richt said he was convinced Schottenheimer, the son of former longtime NFL coach Marty Schottenheimer, was sincere about coaching on the college level after 14 years in the NFL.
”I don’t think I could have hired Brian without sitting down with him for four or five hours and having all the questions and all the answers to all the questions,” Richt said. ”… There wouldn’t have been enough peace in this situation.”
Schottenheimer, 41, said he applied to be Vanderbilt’s head coach last year. He said he turned down an opportunity as an assistant at Alabama when he was hired by the Rams in 2012.
”It’s kind of a dream come true to get back in the SEC with an elite program,” he said.
”I played in the SEC and I love college football. Just the chance to come to an elite program like this. Obviously coach Richt is a big part of the attraction for me, what they’ve done here. The history and tradition was a big part.”
Schottenheimer began his playing career at Kansas in 1992 before transferring to Florida. He said he already was thinking about a career in coaching when he made the switch to learn then-Florida coach Steve Spurrier’s offense.
”From that point on I never looked back,” he said.
The Rams finished only 6-10 this season as quarterback Sam Bradford missed the full season with a knee injury. Schottenheimer’s offense ranked only 28th in total yards and 21st with its average of 20.3 points per game.
Rams coach Jeff Fisher said Schottenheimer had been expected to return in 2015.
”I’m awfully proud of the things we were able to do,” Schottenheimer said of his time in St. Louis. ”We certainly had our fair share of adversity. St. Louis is a great city and coach Fisher obviously has been great to me and my family. That’s the bittersweet part of it.
”It wasn’t as much about St. Louis as it was about this opportunity and this place and the chance to come here and coach with (Richt) that really got me excited.”