Former Southern Cal assistant Ekeler completes overhauled UGA coaching staff

Georgia’s completely overhauled defensive coaching staff is now complete with the hiring Thursday of Mike Ekeler, most recently linebackers coach at Southern California.

It’s not just new faces but a different way to delegate coaching responsibility for Mark Richt’s new staff .

Ekeler will coach the inside linebackers.

Kevin Sherrer, who has simply been called a defensive assistant since his hire, will coach the “Sam” linebackers and the “Star” nickel back position.

Tracy Rocker will coach the defensive line and the “Will” linebackers.

New defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt is coaching the secondary.

Those waiting for details on how specials teams coaching will work will have to wait some more. A Georgia release said those responsibilities are still to be determined.

Figure that Ekeler will have a role in that.

Ekeler handled punt returns as an assistant at Nebraska in 2008 and was known as a player at Kansas State for being a “special teams demon,” according to the Omaha World-Herald.

Ekeler, 42, was co-defensive coordinator and linebackers coach at Indiana in 2011 and 2012 and was linebackers coach for Bo Pelini at Nebraska from 2008 to 2010. He was not retained after last season after a coaching change at Southern California.

The David City, Neb., native played at Kansas State from 1991-94 where he was a captain after walking on to the team.

“I was extremely impressed with his knowledge and energy during the interview process,” Richt said in a statement. “He was highly recommended by many coaches and administrators with whom I talked and we’re very excited that he’ll be joining our staff.”

Ekeler also was a defensive graduate assistant and intern at LSU from 2005-07 when Pelini was co-defensive coordinator.

“I’m honored to represent the University of Georgia and Coach Richt,” Ekeler said in a statement. “I’m looking forward to supporting Coach Pruitt and our entire coaching staff in every way I can. Our family can’t wait to move to Athens to get started.”

Richt has said that he was looking for a defensive hire that would have a large role in Georgia’s special teams coaching.

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RT @chris_starrs: UGA’s Christian Payne saw his first playing time last week against Arkansas. http://t.co/eFBPVIEFWV

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