Familiar face on Oregon’s sideline

FILE - Oregon head coach Dan Lanning speaks during Pac-12 Conference men's NCAA college...
FILE - Oregon head coach Dan Lanning speaks during Pac-12 Conference men's NCAA college football media day Friday, July 29, 2022, in Los Angeles. Oregon first-year coach Lanning isn't dropping any clues about his starting quarterback this season. Fall camp has been a battle behind closed doors between transfer Bo Nix, redshirt freshmen Ty Thompson and Jay Butterfield. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File)(Damian Dovarganes | AP)
Published: Sep. 2, 2022 at 10:48 AM EDT
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ATLANTA, Ga. (WTOC) - The University of Georgia defense played a huge role in the Bulldogs bringing home the College Football National Championship last season.

The defense allowed just over 10 points per game The man behind that defense was coordinator Dan Lanning.

On Dec. 11, Lanning was hired as Oregon’s next head coach prior to coaching the Bulldogs in the playoffs.

Now he faces his former boss and some players he coached in his debut as a head coach. Georgia head coach Kirby Smart says he knows Lanning will have the Ducks ready to go.

“A really good program. Mario Cristobal is a good friend of mine and he’s done a great job recruiting players, and Dan has done a good job taking those guys and watching what they did in the spring game, and knowing the intensity and leadership that Dan has, they’re going to be a hell of a team, and they’ve got a lot of good football players on their team,” Smart said.

“There’s definitely some feelings of excitement for me to go play a team that I care about and was a big part of for a long time, but that’s not the focus. it’s my job just like it’s the players job to focus on the task at hand,” Lanning said.

Smart has a solid track record against former assistants-turned-head-coaches. He’s beat Arkansas’ Sam Pittman twice and South Carolina’s Shane Beamer once.

He’ll look to do it again as his Bulldogs get underway in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff game Saturday 3:30 p.m.