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Bowl Loss Offered No Clues About Georgia’s Needs, Donnan Says

January 1, 1996

ATLANTA (AP) _ Georgia’s new coach is withholding any snap judgments about the team, and hoping fans will do the same for him, as he takes over the Bulldogs after a year-end loss in the Peach Bowl.

Coach Jim Donnan said Monday he was impressed with Georgia’s intensity but otherwise drew no clues about the ’Dogs in their game against Virginia.

The Cavaliers beat Georgia Saturday night 34-27 on an 83-yard kickoff return for a touchdown with 57 seconds left. Georgia had rallied moments earlier to tie the game, the finale for fired coach Ray Goff.

``I’m not an impulsive guy, so I can’t make a true judgment on these kids,″ Donnan said in a telephone news conference from Athens.

``You can’t go on one game and analyze what needs to be worked on,″ he said. ``I’ll formulate any opinions based on what they do in the off-season and in the workouts in the spring and summer.″

Donnan, who had purposely stayed in the background since being hired on Christmas Day, said he now has begun assembling a coaching staff and preparing for recruitment.

He confirmed a report in Monday’s editions of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that Georgia defensive coordinator Joe Kines was offered a job, but he disputed the story’s contention that Kines is the only Bulldogs assistant that would be retained.

``He’s not the only one,″ Donnan said.

He added, however, there are many people who would like to work at Georgia. ``I’ve got people stacked up like a club sandwich that want to come here,″ said Donnan, formerly coach at Marshall.

Meanwhile, Donnan said it will take some time for him to get Georgia fans, split during the rocky Goff era, to unite again behind the football program. He asked for patience from fans and from the media.

``There’s always going to be a certain amount of discord when you have a change,″ he said. ``Don’t make any rash judgments. Give me a chance. I’m going to do all I can to prove I am worthy of this opportunity.

``It’s not a quick fix, but we’re not starting all over,″ Donnan added. ``Opinions are too easily formulated ... over the long haul we’re going to do what we can to unite the state and Georgia Bulldog fans.″