Georgia Football: I Found This Interesting in Light of Recent Events

Let me go on the record and say that I am not trying to stir any pots or throw any further negativity in the direction of the Georgia Football program, there’s plenty of that to go around lately, but after reading some comments from folks stating that defensive coordinator Todd Grantham’s stay at Georgia is starting to eerily mirror that of the one he had in Cleveland, I was curious to note where the similarities existed.

Now, if you feel you’re going to take issue with me at the end of this post, I implore you to stop now and read another; but if you’re curious—and I have to emphatically state again, curiosity is the motive here—then read on, and take everything you see here for what it’s worth; no more, no less.

With that bit of housekeeping out of the way, we begin…

Some of the more intelligent conversation (and I realize this really depends on your definition of the word “intelligent”) about Grantham is he’s always been a bit of a curmudgeon, from a coaching standpoint. His approach to teaching, at times, can rub people the the wrong way— coaches and players alike—and it can be tough to relate to him on a professional level because he’s so sure that his scheme is infallible.

That said, he doesn’t take to criticism well and, when he is challenged on, he takes a defensive staff and makes it clear that the lack of success is less about his scheme than it is about the players who are attempting to execute it on the field.

All of the above, apparently, had a great deal to do with why Grantham’s tenure with the Cleveland Browns ended so abrubtly—and by “ended”, I mean went down in flames.

By now, you might be wondering how this relates to what’s happening with Grantham at Georgia, well, if you read enough interviews, watch enough video, read between the lines of any major publication, or simply use your own eyes, it’s not hard to see that this season has not gone as planned—even with the youth being what it is, there is a palpable air of confusion as to how and why things are this bad.

And while you could just as easily point to the injuries, offensive line inconsistency, or questionable preparation, the majority of the onus appears to fall on the defense’s inability to play up to its potential each and every game.

Now, for the sake of discussion, I’ll lay out some of the things I’ve read and heard in the points below—and please keep in mind that none of this is verifiable, just speculation–and then refer to the attached quotes from a post, written better than five-years ago, about the reason Grantham was let out of his contract with the Cleveland Browns.

(Note: I did reach out to the author of the article referenced in the link above and, although Mr. Pluto could remember very little about Grantham’s time in Cleveland, after all it was better than five years ago, he did note that Grantham’s lack of success with the Browns could just as easily have been attributed to the organization’s inability to find a good fit for the defensive coordinator job, in general; just thought I’d mention that point as well). 

Point #1: Grantham and Richt could potentially be at odds with each other over the performance of the defense this season—perhaps an NFL defense is too complex for a group of true freshman and Grantham, rather than simplify, decided it was best to stick to the plan…no matter the outcome.

If this is the case, and Richt didn’t agree with Grantham’s approach, it could cause some degree of tension between the two—obviously.

It makes little sense to debate the politics behind the firing of Browns defensive coordinator Todd Grantham.

The bottom line was a bad defense and a head coach that no longer seemed in the same book, much less on the same page, as his coordinator.

When that happens, someone has to go. (Terry Pluto, cleveland.com)

Point #2: Continued disappointment over the lack of progression by the defense, after three seasons under Grantham.

Georgia ranks near the bottom in nearly every defensive category and continues to have problems stopping the run—in particular mobile quarterbacks.

When Todd Grantham arrived, the Browns couldn’t stop the run.

Three years later, they still couldn’t stop the run, ranking 29th out of 32 teams by allowing 4.5 yards per carry. That’s horrible. In the end, it cost the Browns a playoff berth. (Terry Pluto, cleveland.com)

Point #3: Players and coaches are frustrated.

I don’t know how much truth there is to it, but a few friends of mine, who were in attendance at the Auburn game, even mentioned seeing defensive players on the sidelines arguing amongst each other. If that’s true, I’m sure it’s not a first, but such things have been known to cause discord in the locker room if left unchecked.

…Supposedly, Grantham did not appreciate some of Crennel’s suggestions this season. Some players saw that, and it created problems. The game is hard enough when the coaches are pulling together, so it’s a guaranteed loser when members of the staff are drifting apart.

While the similarities between Cleveland and Athens certainly appear to be there, it is important to note that a good bit of what’s been said, in both instances, is debatable depending on who you ask. And, as the Senator pointed out in his post, the players do play hard for Grantham and genuinely love the guy as a coach and teacher—so there’s that.

Again, take it all for what it’s worth and see how it all plays out over the next three months or so.

I said on yesterday, I’m not calling for slips, and I stick by that, but I cannot see a situation where Grantham returns next season. Quite frankly, I’ve felt that way since the Vanderbilt loss; I just no longer see him wanting to deal with the mounting criticism and finger-pointing, and if he gets a head coaching offer or the NFL comes calling again, I can see him bolting.

However, that’s just my opinion, there are certainly others who think otherwise.

 

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I am not a 'journalist' by trade, nor do I present myself as such. I am just a wife, mother, and Georgia Bulldog fan who likes to write about two of her favorite things: the Georgia Bulldogs and college football. I write. You read...it's a give and take experience.

13 comments for “Georgia Football: I Found This Interesting in Light of Recent Events

  1. AthensHomerDawg
    11/20/2013 at 9:07 am
    Per talent, consistency and execution.
    Talent is a means to measure the raw tools a given player possesses. Skill is developed once those talents are refined into a productive resource. With so much youth and some injury along with CTG penchant for developing players for use in versatile roles, practice time is spread out over multiple positions. This develops players to play multiple positions but it limits a player developing a skill quickly and thoroughly at their prime position. These limitations would be compounded given youth and inexperience at the college level and a players ability to absorb it all. Leading to confusion and hesitancy in live game action. This would be particularly noticeable at LB, CB and safety. I’ve also wondered if all our cross training along the O line lead to problems there. That and that fact that we have guards playing tackle and have under recruited there but I digress.
  2. CamStoleMyLaptop
    11/20/2013 at 8:22 am
    Sounds so much like Paul Johnson. It is not his crappy wishbone system, it is everyone else that fails.
  3. Larry W Tucker
    11/20/2013 at 1:27 am
    I agree, I do not expect him back either. I felt like last year when leading up to signing day, he was interviewing with NFL teams, that he wasn’t planning on staying much longer. I am sure it hurt us with some recruits and with Richt. I can’t put all of this year’s bad performance on him, but he is part of the problem. We have been being out recruited and have been under recruiting and it has caught up with us this year. Nick Marshall should have been batting down that pass against Auburn instead of throwing it. We shouldn’t have to be playing freshmen that aren’t ready to play. I can blame some of that on Richt for undersigning and not having the recruits we need. One thing I can say with pride about this team is, they don’t quit. It’s never over until the last play. We have had a year filled with injuries like none I’ve ever seen before and that has really hurt us. If Grantham does leave, I hope that it happens soon after the Georgia Tech game so that we can find a good replacement and go after some if these recruits that are still out there.
  4. Eddie B
    11/19/2013 at 1:56 pm
    I could easily agree with your assessment on losing NFL caliber players and replacing them with freshman IF, and its a big IF… last years defense had played UP TO their potential. I expected the drop off this season. Last year is where Grantham lost me. Sooooo much talent, yet we could stop no one on a consistent basis.

    Great article Kim… as always

  5. Jim Love
    11/19/2013 at 12:25 pm
    If 2013 were the only year under Grantham’s leadership where our defense has performed poorly I would agree that the youth on our squad was the major problem. The truth is, Grantham has done a lousy job regardless of the hand he has been dealt. He couldn’t win in 2012 when youth nor talent were an issue. I don’t know why we haven’t played on defense (youth, wrong scheme, inability to adjust to what the offense is doing etc.) But, Grantham is being paid a boat load of money to produce positive results but has failed miserably. Time for TG to go and pay whatever we have to to bring a competent DC.pM3K
    • 11/19/2013 at 3:43 pm
      Appreciate the comments, Jim; it’s certainly hard to argue with the numbers, ain’t it?

      Even last seasons squad did its fair share of underachieving; just hard to wrap your head around the true problem anymore.

  6. Cousin Eddie
    11/19/2013 at 12:14 pm
    Grantham should be able to do the math and see that he was going to be playing young guys two years ago and didn’t work on stocking the cupboard. Loosing A couple of guys due to behavior issues should not be this devastating.

    If the coaches are disagreeing that is one thing, they are all professionals and should be able to work through it. If he has lost the players he should hit the bricks. That being said I expect him to return unless he gets another offer, even a lateral move or even a step down in the NFL. Next year is the last year in his contract if the defense struggles at all next year that will be his last.

    When will Friend start getting the flack too? The O-Line has got Murray hit way more than it should and can’t open holes consistently for a back as great as Gurley.

    BTW, Kimberley love the sight and your writing.

    • 11/19/2013 at 2:33 pm
      Much obliged for the kudos!

      I agree that there is every possibility that CTG stays, and is then allowed to leave after 2014, but I honestly believe he’ll jump at the first offer he gets; the mood around him is just so toxic and divisive right now that it’s hard to see him wanting to stay around another season.

      We’ll see soon enough.

  7. DawgByte
    11/19/2013 at 11:10 am
    A couple of points we need to consider.

    1. If JHC bats the ball down, Georgia wins and the Bulldog faithful are happy campers this week.

    2. You can’t replace 9 NFL caliber defensive players with only 4 guys with game day experience. Moreover, when you add in the number of true freshmen playing on this squad there’s absolutely no way one can reasonably expect them to compete on a championship level. One could easily blame Rodney Garner for allowing the defensive cupboard to get so bare.

    I’m not defending Gratham as much as I’m trying to add some reasonable perspective to the situation.

    • 11/19/2013 at 2:30 pm
      While I can agree with you that the fans would have been less irate had the outcome been a win, as opposed to a loss, I still think there would be criticism surrounding the points given up, the seeming lack of fire at the start, and the continued presence of communication and focus issues on the football field.

      I have said from the start that I understand the defense is young, and I too expected some degree of growing pains this season, but that’s not enough to explain the issues with consistency, execution, and the total lack of turnovers.

      Georgia’s defense hasn’t made many strides this season and, youth or not, the talent has been there to at least be “average”, yet Georgia ranks near the bottom–across the board.

      I understand your points, and even agree with them to some extent, but I don’t think that this defense should be playing this bad this season. Too much talent.

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