Georgia hires UConn's Lakatos

Connecticut defensive backs coach Scott Lakatos was hired Monday for the same job at Georgia.

Lakatos has a background with new Bulldogs defensive coordinator Todd Grantham dating back to 1993 but never had met head coach Mark Richt until a few days ago. Having coached entirely in the Northeast, the 44-year-old has no relationship with Georgia's six returning assistants, either.

"I'm definitely the new guy," Lakatos said Monday.

Before spending the past six seasons at UConn, Lakatos was defensive backs coach at Rutgers (2001-03) and at Maine (1995-2000), where he coordinated special teams four of the six seasons.

Monday's hiring completes the replacing of Willie Martinez, with Grantham as the new coordinator and Lakatos overseeing the secondary, and leaves one vacancy on Richt's staff. Lakatos (LACK-ah-tose) has been hired to a one-year contract that will pay him $180,000, and he is scheduled to arrive in Athens on Wednesday and start recruiting Thursday.

"He has an outstanding resume of success over the course of his career and will bring a great deal of experience and expertise," Richt said.

Lakatos was a graduate assistant at Syracuse when he met Grantham, who was coaching at Virginia Tech. When Grantham was with Michigan State, the Indianapolis Colts and the Houston Texans, Lakatos visited him at every stop.

UConn's Huskies were just 88th nationally in pass defense this past season but suffered a tremendous tragedy when junior cornerback Jasper Howard was fatally stabbed Oct. 18 on campus. They closed with a 20-7 whipping of South Carolina at the Bowl, holding Gamecocks quarterback Stephen Garcia to a 16-of-38, 129-yard, one-interception performance.

Garcia threw for 313 yards in a 41-37 loss to the Bulldogs this past season in Sanford Stadium, and Georgia will face Garcia and the Gamecocks on Sept. 11 in Columbia.

"During that four- or five-week span of time that you have to prepare for a bowl game, our players really put a lot of time in and did a great job of studying film and game plans," Lakatos said. "They were really knowledgeable as far as what South Carolina was going to do offensively, and we were very excited about having an opportunity to play an SEC team because we understand the passion down there. Our kids took that as an opportunity to show a lot of people what UConn was all about, so we were really excited to play those guys.

"Once we realized we were able to hang with those guys, they took that through and finished the game off."

UConn led the Big East in total defense in 2004-05 and won a share of the league in '07 behind a defense that ranked 10th nationally in pass efficiency. The Huskies ranked ninth nationally in pass-efficiency defense in 2008, and cornerback Darius Butler was drafted by New England in the second round of the '09 draft.

Lakatos is a native of Long Valley, N.J.