Tag:Todd Grantham
Posted on: January 17, 2011 1:31 pm

Big blow for UGA as Justin Houston declares

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

If the nationwide trend this offseason has been for premium-grade junior talent to surprisingly come back to school -- see Andrew Luck, Justin Blackmon, Michael Floyd, etc. -- no one told the SEC.

Just ask Georgia, who over the weekend lost outside linebacker-slash-pass rush specialist Justin Houston to the draft just ahead of the deadline . Houston joins the Bulldogs' A.J. Green in forgoing his senior season in Athens and is projected as a late first-round pick in the latest CBSSports.com mock draft .

For a player custom-made for the NFL's predominant 3-4 defense -- just ask NFL-trained Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham, whose 3-4 schemes made Houston a 10-sack terror off the edge, not to mention a  Nagurski Trophy finalist -- the decision to come out couldn't have been too difficult. (We won't be surprised if Houston winds up looking like a steal if he does go as late as currently projected.) But it won't make it any easier for Mark Richt or Bulldog fans to stomach; between Houston's departure and the graduation of seniors Akeem Dent and Darryl Gamble, Grantham's linebacking unit will have to be almost entirely rebuilt.

Unfortunately for Richt, after the 6-7 disaster of 2010, he may not be able to afford to wait for that rebuilding job to pay dividends. He paid Grantham good money to come to Athens from the Dallas Cowboys, and now Grantham will have to earn it. With major improvement required to keep Richt employed and now neither of the Bulldogs' best players from 2010 available in 2011, there won't be any time to waste.

Posted on: January 3, 2011 1:56 pm
Edited on: January 3, 2011 1:57 pm

Staff shakeup still not imminent at Georgia

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

When last we left off with Mark Richt and the Georgia coaching staff, they were preparing for their Liberty Bowl date with UCF and Richt was swearing that 1. He wasn't going anywhere 2. The overwhelming majority of his staff weren't going anywhere, disappointing 6-6 record be damned.

Well, now that a hideous 10-6 bowl loss to the Golden Knights has dropped that record to an extremely disappointing 6-7, Georgia's first  losing record since 1996, has anything changed? No, says Richt, no it hasn't (emphasis added):

"There's reasons why we ended up the way we did," coach Mark Richt said. "We've got to make change. We've got to make sure that doesn't happen again in the future."

By change, Richt said "that doesn't necessarily mean personnel," but "it's more how we go about our business."

"We've got to go back and rededicate ourselves to doing what it takes and that's every single man, every single coach, everybody in the Butts-Mehre to what it takes to be a championship football program," offensive coordinator Mike Bobo said.

Richt has made one minor concession to the unruly mob demanding his staff's heads, replacing his strength-and-conditioning coach with former Georgia quarterback Joe Tereshinski. But otherwise, it appears the "change" Richt will attempt to fix the problems that led to this year's disaster will simply be to "rededicate" the team and coaches rather than any large-scale overhauls.

Before this season, Richt might have maintained the benefit of the doubt on taking that approach. But at this point, Bulldog fans have to be forgiven for thinking maybe some stronger tonic is needed; Georgia has gone 14-12 overall over the past two seasons, hasn't beaten a team that finished with a winning SEC record since 2008, has lost four or more regular seasons games three of the past five seasons, etc. With the exception of the blistering run to close 2007, the Dawgs haven't looked like a championship-caliber team in half a decade. If Richt couldn't get his team "rededicated" after 2006, or 2008, or 2009, why is 2010 going to be any different? What tricks can he have up his sleeve that he hasn't already put to use?

It's true the Dawgs weren't as bad as their record (going 0-4 in games decided by a touchdown or less) and should take a big step forward on defense in 2011, thanks to being in the second year of coordinator Todd Grantham's 3-4 scheme. But as jarringly inconsistent as Georgia was this season -- with the previously reliable offense's total no-show against UCF now exhibit A -- it looks like it's going to take a lot more than a little better luck and a little better effort to get the Bulldogs back into the SEC title mix.


Posted on: November 29, 2010 1:27 pm

No coaching shakeup at Georgia

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

It's not often that an SEC team with an established coach goes 6-6 with a sub-.500 conference record and a loss to a wretched Colorado team winds up standing pat in the coaching department, but most SEC teams aren't as patient as Georgia and we've long since known that no coach in the league is as averse to change as Mark Richt . So it's not that much of a surprise that the moving vans may skip Athens entirely this offseason, at least if Richt has his way :
“Am I considering changes on the staff?” Richt said [Sunday]. “No" ...

Georgia has scored 30 or more points in seven straight games, something that Richt referred to when asked about fans’ criticism of offensive coordinator and play-caller Mike Bobo .

“All I can say, if I’m not mistaken, we broke some kind of school record of consecutive games of over 30 points and a lot of really good things happened offensively,” Richt said. “The bottom line is whoever calls plays is going to get critiqued, they’re going to get criticized. It’s just the nature of the beast.”

Richt has a point about Bobo, and you can make another one by making note of Bobo's quarterbacking-coaching duties and the wild success he had with redshirt freshman Aaron Murray , who wrapped up his regular season with a 15-of-19, 271-yard, 3 touchdown, zero interception masterpiece against Georgia Tech . Right now, Murray and the Bulldog passing game is the best thing the Dawgs have going; would replacing the quarterbacks' position coach and the architect of that passing game really be the best move?

We doubt it. Georgia's biggest problems this year were a nasty tendency to fumble at the worst possible time -- what coach do you blame for that? -- and a young defense that played lights-out against weaker competition but gave up 31 points to Arkansas , 34 to Florida , 49 to Auburn , etc. First-year coordinator Todd Grantham was installing a new 3-4 defense and wasn't given the prototypical defensive linemen needed for the scheme; firing him after a single season would be stunningly harsh and probably counter-productive.

With several other Georgia position coaches having been replaced just last offseason, Richt's best move probably is to stand pat. Given how perilously close he came to getting replaced himself after the Dawgs' 1-4 start (and how little margin for error he has entering 2011), that seems like a substantially larger gamble than looking for answers elsewhere in the coaching pool. But after a strange and often unlucky season, that's where Georgia stands.
Posted on: November 4, 2010 12:55 pm

Florida kicker unfazed by choke sign

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Much has been written and discussed regarding Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham making a choking signal at Florida kicker Chas Henry before his game-winning field goal last Saturday. One person who it may surprise you believes all of that writing and discussion is a lot of useless hot air? Chas Henry himself :

“Honestly, it’s just in the middle of a game,” Henry said. “It doesn’t matter. The coach can do whatever. It doesn’t matter at all as far as coaches and repercussions ... It’s one of the most intense rivalries in college football. Stuff like that, it’s not even on the field. It has nothing to do with it. It’s just football.

“I think it’s ridiculous what people are trying to say that he should have to apologize for it or be fined or anything. He’s a great coach. I look at his record. It’s just an intense game.”

This is an admirable bygones-by-bygones approach from Henry, who of course already had the last word by making the kick. But when even Bulldog fans are mostly admitting Grantham could have done more to apologize , he really could have done more to apologize; the line between players and opposing coaches has been in place in virtually every sport since sports began, and for a reason. Crossing it should trigger something from Grantham's end other than him simply saying it won't happen again.

But considering Henry's reaction in the heat of the action, it's no surprise he doesn't see Grantham's mistake as worthy of further response:

“I see that they’d taken a timeout and I looked over at their coach and I started laughing, like, ‘You’re going to ice me? I’m not even the kicker. You’re going to ice me?’” Henry said today. “So I start looking and I see the guy doing the choke. I look at him again and he does like, ‘You’re gonna choke.’ So I take my helmet off and I gave him a little smooch at him. I blew him a little kiss.

“That might be why he got a little upset about that. Then he did it again.”

Frankly, if you're looking for reasons the Gators have gone 18-3 the last 21 years against the Dawgs, you could do worse than the fact that Florida's players are relaxed enough to blow "little smooches" at opposing coaches just before the biggest play of the game, while Georgia's wound up enough that they feel the need to send the entire team onto the field to show how not-wound up they are.

Posted on: November 2, 2010 2:19 pm

Much ado about nothing with Georgia's Grantham

Posted by Tom Fornelli

On Saturday in Jacksonville, Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham was caught on camera making what appeared to be the universal "choke" signal before Chas Henry lined up to make a game-winning kick in overtime for Florida.   Grantham repeatedly put his right hand up to his throat after Georgia called a timeout to ice Henry.

Now, for some reason, the fact that a coach on the opposing team would somehow hope that a kicker would blow a field goal and not beat his team is apparently a big deal.  Why?  I honestly don't know.

Should Grantham have been rooting for Henry?

Whatever the case is, Mark Richt felt the need to address it at his weekly press conference.

“I’ll just say that emotions run high and people do things that they probably wish they wouldn’t do,” Richt said. “I think that was what was being communicated. I don’t think he’s necessarily proud of it. We're just gonna learn from it and move on.”

Personally, I side with Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray who said that he didn't think it was that big of a deal as "it's not like he charged the field at the kicker and tried to do something to him."

Which, if Grantham had done, would have been wrong but so very awesome.
Posted on: September 15, 2010 8:49 am
Edited on: September 15, 2010 9:52 am

Georgia DC fires back after Spurrier comment

Posted by Chip Patterson

Earlier this week, we saw South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier take a jab at the Georgia defense in reagards to their attempt to stop freshman running back Marcus Lattimore, who totaled 182 yards and two touchdowns in the 17-6 victory.  Ol' Ball Coach has been known to yap a little, particularly when he has a good team to back it up, but this was early in the season for such a jab at Bulldogs defensive coordinator Todd Grantham.

“When you have a back like Marcus [Lattimore] and the linemen opened cracks, I’m sure that Georgia defensive coordinator [became frustrated],” Spurrier said. “That little inside zone play, the NFL doesn’t run that play. That’s a new scheme, I guess.

“I’m sure they knew we’d run it, but they certainly didn’t stop it much.”

Grantham, who spent the last 11 seasons in the NFL, was certainly not going to sit back and have his coaching questioned by Spurrier.  If there is one thing that Spurrier probably should not have brought up was experience in the league.  After all, Spurrier does not have much room to talk when that topic is brought up, which leads us to Grantham's comeback.

“Yeah, that was texted to me,” Grantham replied with a grin. “I appreciate his assistance, you know. But we actually knew what plays they were running. And they actually run that play in pro ball, and our offense actually runs that play, too. So we’re kind of on top of our game.

“It was kind of an out-of-left-field comment,” Grantham added. “I kind of took it more as a shot at the NFL. I really wasn’t sure if it was because of his lack of success there or what. So I kind of took it more like that than anything.”
(Ooooohhh! Let's take this out back! Five o'clock at the willow tree!

Grantham was sharp to make a reference to Spurrier's failed experiment with the Washington Redskins.  His 12-20 record in two seasons that included no playoff visits and a failed Danny Weurffel experiment before resigning and returning to the college game.  Fans of the NFL would suggest that Spurrier couldn't handle the professional ranks, and most of the writing on the wall would support their argument.  

Regardless, it is always fun to see these coaches spit some fire at each other.  The kind of smack talk that elevates rivalries to new levels.  Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, the Gamecocks picked up the W already and, unless the Georgia can knock off No. 12 Arkansas on Saturday, a jump ahead towards the SEC East crown.

For more breaking news and analysis follow us on Twitter @CBSSportsNCAAF or Subscribe to our RSS Feed

Posted on: September 12, 2010 11:55 am

Steve Spurrier's getting cocky

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Before the season started there were a log of prognosticators wondering if this would finally be the year in which Steve Spurrier 's South Carolina Gamecocks finally took that step to becoming a legit contender in the SEC.  Well, following the first two weeks of action, it looks like the preseason hype wasn't that far off.

After an opening night victory against Southern Miss the Gamecocks passed an even bigger test by handling Georgia with relative ease on Saturday, and it doesn't seem to be hurting Spurrier's self esteem any.  The man has always had a large ego, but these wins only seem to be making it bigger.  Following yesterday's win Spurrier said that Mark Richt told him that he had a "heck of a team" and that it was the first time another coach had told him that at South Carolina.

All fuel for the Spurrier fire, and he used his newfound heat to burn Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham during his postgame press conference .

“When you have a back like Marcus [Lattimore] and the linemen opened cracks, I’m sure that Georgia defensive coordinator [became frustrated],” Spurrier said. “That little inside zone play, the NFL doesn’t run that play. That’s a new scheme, I guess.

“I’m sure they knew we’d run it, but they certainly didn’t stop it much.”

Grantham had been a long-time assistant in the NFL before joining Richt's staff this season.

In his defense, I'm not sure there are many defenses around the country who are going to be able to stop Marcus Lattimore .  The kid may only be a freshman, but he's a man .  A very big man who is going to punish SEC defenses for quite some time.

Then there likely won't be many NFL defensive coordinators who can slow him down when he moves to the next level.

As for Spurrier, I hope the Gamecocks keep winning because the more they do, the better Spurrier's press conferences are going to get.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com