ATLANTA — The veteran of Georgia's coaching staff is down to his last game with the Bulldogs.
Outside linebackers coach Kevin Sherrer will work a final time for the red and black Monday night before shifting his wardrobe to orange, having accepted the role of defensive coordinator under new Tennessee coach Jeremy Pruitt. Sherrer and defensive line coach Tracy Rocker were the only assistants retained from Mark Richt's staff by Georgia coach Kirby Smart, and Rocker was fired last February for undisclosed reasons.
Sherrer has been Georgia's outside linebackers coach the past four seasons, directing first the starting tandem of Leonard Floyd and Jordan Jenkins and now the dynamic duo of Davin Bellamy and Lorenzo Carter.
"There have been a lot of ups and downs," Sherrer said Saturday during the primary media event before Monday night's championship game of the College Football Playoff against Alabama. "Obviously we had the coaching change. I've enjoyed it. It's been a lot of fun. I've had the chance to coach some really good people and some really good players, and I've had the chance to coach with some really good people.
"When this coaching stuff is over with, the relationships are what you'll look back on, both the players and your coaching colleagues. There are a lot of good people at Georgia, and it's been a lot of fun."
Sherrer was Alabama's director of player development during the Crimson Tide's national championship runs in 2011 and 2012, so Monday night will mark his first opportunity at a title as a coach. Even with that at stake, the former Alabama tight end still has been able to moonlight as an employee of the Volunteers.
"Early on, when we were in Georgia, it was easy at night to juggle some things in Knoxville," Sherrer said. "Once we went to Pasadena with the time difference, it was hard. Now that we've been back, when we're finished late at night, I can communicate with people up there.
"It was a lot harder out there."
Sherrer is the only member of Georgia's current staff who was on the losing sideline on Oct. 3, 2015, when Alabama demolished the Bulldogs 38-10 at Sanford Stadium. That is the last meeting between the Bulldogs and Crimson Tide, and the significance of that result is not lost on Sherrer.
"I think that probably allowed the people at Georgia to see what the highest level of college football at that time was," he said. "It probably made them realize that they may want a change, and that happened."
Pruitt said Smart and Alabama coach Nick Saban used to be quite competitive during lunchtime basketball games in Tuscaloosa.
Then the games became lopsided.
"They finally got on the same team back in like 2008," Pruitt said. "Once they got on the same team, that's when I pretty much gave it up. You weren't going to win if you weren't on their team, because Coach Saban picked the best athletes that were left in our entire organization and put the rest of us on the other team.
"Then he called all the fouls, so we didn't have much of a chance. Then Kirby started calling fouls, too. It was hard to win."
Crimson Tide strength and conditioning coach Scott Cochran had a unique motivating moment this past week, taking last season's national runner-up trophy and smashing it in front of his players.
"I'm not big on the gimmick stuff, but if it works for the players I'm all for it," Saban said Saturday. "Coach Cochran likes that kind of stuff, and the players usually respond to it and have fun with it, which I think is important."
Georgia has the nation's No. 1 recruiting class for the 2018 cycle, a perch that has been occupied the last several seasons by Saban's Tide.
The Bulldogs have signed the nation's top offensive line class for two consecutive cycles, and offensive line coach Sam Pittman was asked Saturday where that success starts.
"The logo allows them to do that," Pittman said. "I coached at Northern Illinois and I love Northern Illinois, but Cade Mays ain't going to Northern Illinois. You've got to have a logo first."
Odds and ends
Smart on sophomore tight end Charlie Woerner, who had three catches in the Rose Bowl but has been spotted on crutches since: "He's still trying to apply some more pressure to that leg to see if he can get back, but it's doubtful right now." Georgia offensive coordinator Jim Chaney when asked to provide the first play Monday night: "A triple-reverse pass." Saban ruled right guard Lester Cotton (knee) out for Monday's game. The Tide practiced for 90 minutes in helmets and shorts in Mercedes-Benz Stadium, with J.C. Hassenauer taking Cotton's spot. Georgia junior receiver and special-teams player Jayson Stanley, who served a one-game suspension at the Rose Bowl for marijuana possession, will play Monday night. Pittman said Saturday that freshman right tackle Andrew Thomas will get the first crack at left tackle for the 2018 Bulldogs.
Contact David Paschall at email@example.com or 423-757-6524.