Former Bulldog Says One Guy On Tennessee Really Scares Him...And It's Not A Player

Former Bulldog Says One Guy On Tennessee Really Scares Him...And It's Not A Player

Football

Former Bulldog Says One Guy On Tennessee Really Scares Him...And It's Not A Player


The 48th meeting between the Georgia Bulldogs and Tennessee Volunteers in Athens on Saturday may have a bit of a family reunion feel to the game.

Sixteen players for the Vols hail from the Peach State and Tennessee currently has eight Georgia 2019 preps who have committed to Rocky Top. Georgia has two players on the roster from Tennessee (TE Jackson Harris and OL Cade Mays) and has three 2019 commits from the state.

In addition, the Tennessee coaching connections run deep with Georgia.

Vols’ head coach Jeremy Pruitt served as the defensive coordinator for the Bulldogs in 2014 and 2015 while Vols’ assistants Kevin Sherrer (2014-17), Will Friend (2003-04, 2011-14), Tracy Rocker (2014-16) and Brian Niedermeyer (2015) have all spent stints on Georgia’s staff over the years.

John Lilly, who spent eight seasons in Athens as the Dawgs’ tight ends coach and offensive special teams’ coordinator, joined Pruitt’s staff as a special assistant. Assistant coaches live a bit of a nomadic life, and for Lilly to have eight years in the Classic City was a treat for DawgNation.

Former Georgia assistant John Lilly rings the Chapel Bell following a UGA win.

During his time with the Bulldogs, Lilly was part of several record-setting seasons: 72 touchdowns in 2012, 484.14 yards per game in 2013 and 41.3 points per game in 2014. All were the best marks in school history. He served as the Bulldogs’ interim offensive coordinator during the 37-14 win over Louisville in the 2014 Belk Bowl and the 24-17 victory over Penn State in the 2016 Tax Slayer Bowl. Both Louisville and Penn State had top 15 nationally-ranked defenses.

He coached star tight ends Arthur Lynch, an All-SEC First Team honoree and fifth-round NFL draft pick; Orson Charles, a fourth-round selection by the Cincinnati Bengals; and Aron White, the Most Outstanding Offensive Player at the 2009 Independence Bowl. He guided Georgia’s punt unit, which included Ray Guy Award winner Drew Butler.

Lilly brings a wealth of knowledge to Tennessee and may possibly be a secret weapon for Big Orange. He is highly respected and has a knack for exploiting a defensive team’s weakness.

“UT always plays us hard, but this year will be different for me at least. Our guys will be playing several of my former coaches who are now at UT,” former Georgia long-snapper Ty Frix told me.

“All of them are great guys and phenomenal coaches, but one in particular scares me – Coach John Lilly. Coach Lilly was our tight ends/special teams coach at UGA and is probably the smartest football coach I have ever played for. He has an uncanny talent of deciphering tendencies and exposing weaknesses in opponents. It didn’t matter who we played, Coach Lilly always went into the game with a few wrinkles up his sleeve.”

Frix, who played in 54 games for the Dawgs, was a Biological Engineering major and an Academic all-American. He states the Tennessee game won’t be easy for Georgia.

“I imagine we will see some of those wrinkles Saturday. And, if so, I know it will take championship discipline on our side to defend against them. With that said, I look forward to a hard fought and well executed game on both sides.”

Coach Lilly was (and is) a great Dawg. He and his family loved their time in Georgia and he was a great contributor to the program and Georgia Way. I recall of one of his many memorable quotes….

“Everywhere I recruit I see the Georgia “G” —clothes, flags, tire covers, etc. Proud to be part of a Nation that covers the world!”

Major props coach and best of luck….after Saturday.

Coach John Lilly and his family pose with Uga at Georgia Picture Day.

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