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Dan Lanning Finished the Job, Much Like Kirby Smart Before Him

Now former defensive coordinator Dan Lanning is ready to begin his head coaching career at Oregon following championship win in Athens

When defensive coordinator Mel Tucker decided to take the head coaching job at the University of Colorado Boulder following Georgia's 35-28 loss to Alabama in the 2018 SEC Championship Game, many assumed that Georgia's next hire at defensive coordinator would come from within the program. After all, Georgia already had the services of head coach Kirby Smart, former longtime defensive coordinator under Nick Saban. 

Tucker's decision may have been a surprising one in the sense that he would not coach in that year's Sugar Bowl against Texas; instead, both Dan Lanning and Glenn Schumann would assume the duties as interim co-defensive coordinators. And as we all know now, Lanning would go on to be promoted to the full-time job as defensive coordinator, while Schumann stayed on as a co-defensive coordinator. 

Monday night marked the end of Dan Lanning's tenure in Athens. The former Missouri native joined Georgia before the 2018 season as the outside linebackers coach coming over from Memphis. The connection between Smart and Lanning dates back to their time together at Alabama in 2015, where Lanning served as a graduate assistant during Smart's last season as the Crimson Tide's defensive coordinator. 

Much like Lanning, Smart was announced as a head coach prior to the College Football postseason. Smart was officially introduced as Georgia's head coach following Alabama's SEC Championship win over Florida that year. The Tide solidified themselves as one of the best teams in the country even after losing in the regular season to Ole Miss. 

Smart decided to stay on with Alabama through their College Football Playoff run in the hopes of helping them win the national championship, and Smart would certainly deliver when Alabama beat Clemson's 45-40 thrilling shootout.

It should be no surprise that much like his now-former boss, Dan Lanning continues to follow in the footsteps of Kirby Smart. Lanning stayed with Georgia even after the criticism that came with the 41-24 defeat to Alabama and the expectations of getting that rematch. 

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Despite pulling double duty of being Georgia's defensive coordinator by day and Oregon's head coach by night, Lanning developed two successful gameplans that ultimately helped Georgia win its first national championship in 41 years, an accomplishment that will follow him the rest of his career. 

Lanning's defense held Alabama's offense to just 18 points in the rematch, limiting the Tide's scoring opportunities with lockdown redzone defense, thanks to Georgia's massive front seven and a secondary that bounced back from being torched by Alabama the last time out. The scintillating form of Bryce Young was not be found until three quarters into the game when he helped lead the Alabama offense to their first touchdown of the game. With the game on the line, Georgia leading the Tide 26-18 with a minute left in the ball game, Kelee Ringo's pick-six would seal the deal on a national championship and a befitting end to a defensive coordinator's time at Georgia where he poured every ounce into helping the program get back to winning titles. 

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