After finishing off National Signing Day with a record class (32 signees total) and a ton of momentum heading into 2014, the Georgia Bulldogs now have a bit of a quandary on their hands; their defensive coordinator, Todd Grantham—the man for whom the class was essentially built (defensively heavy with plenty of worthwhile talent to fit into his “attacking-style” 3-4)—is exploring career options; he interviewed for the defensive coordinator’s job in New Orleans on yesterday and, plain and simple, if they hire him, he’s probably going to accept.
Where would that leave Georgia? What then will become the legacy of this class?
Theories already abound as to why Georgia lost defensive 5-stars like Reuben Foster and Montravius Adams at the 11th hour; more than a few still feel the Dawgs could have signed both if Grantham’s intentions were better understood; but all the uncertainty scared them both off—Adams in particular—and became the reason why the class closed with a whimper instead of a bang.
While that is debatable, it’s worth stating that Grantham’s name being linked to a post should be viewed no differently than that of Nick Saban, Kirby Smart, Brian Kelly, Chip Kelly (who finally decided to take the NFL up on its offer after flirting with them for years), or any other coach with talent; good coaches get offers, this isn’t news.
That said, if the Saints should pass on Grantham, this won’t likely be the last offer he’ll see. The NFL is moving towards more 3-4 schemes defensively and college football never met a head coach it liked enough to not replace him with another—particularly if the coach in line for a shot is a coordinator coming from the vaunted SEC.
Make no mistake about it, if Grantham succeeds in 2014, his name will be in the hat for more jobs; eventually he’s going to take one. It is what it is.
The issue here shouldn’t be Grantham’s caginess when asked about his interest in other jobs, it should be why Georgia hasn’t retooled their recruiting pitch to account for the question; why is it able to be such a liability in the first place; no coach, in this day and age is promised to survive the tenure of any player they bring into their program. It’s always a crap shoot. So why is it such a deal-breaker at Georgia?
Honestly, if a kid wants to play at Georgia, he will, and he’ll do so for a lot more reasons than his position coach or coordinator. Georgia needs to find those kids, lock them down early, and then go after the ones that would be the cherries on top. It might sound corny and simplistic, but kids who grew up in this state bleeding red and black, loving the ‘G’, and saying ‘how ’bout them Dawgs’ before they could say ‘mama’, should always be the first ones offered. Bring those players, then cherry pick the others—be they instate or not.
As for Grantham, if he’s not gone this year, then he’ll be gone the next; it’s time to stop allowing him to be a liability either way—sell the program, not the man. And, in my opinion, the program should be able to sell itself. If it can’t, you’ve got bigger problems than a coach looking for greener pastures to graze.