Mark Richt: Ready to Forge Ahead After Grantham Departure

Todd Grantham resigned his post as Georgia Defensive Coordinator on Sunday night. Photo: Jeff Vest/SMI

If you were surprised by the announcement that, the now former defensive coordinator for the Georgia Bulldogs, Todd Grantham offered his resignation on Sunday night, count yourself among the majority. However, if you keep your ear anywhere near the rumor mill, you saw this coming since before mid-season—at the very least you knew he wasn’t long for this job after the debacle that was Vanderbilt!

It’s no secret that Grantham was a guy whom many considered an acquired taste. His approach to coaching the 3-4 scheme, he believed so deeply in, caused him to bump heads  with the powers-that-be in more than one organization. However, “The Georgia Way” of doing things doesn’t lend well to big egos and heavy tension. Head Coach Mark Richt runs a bit of a tight ship, but he tends to like said ship to be peaceful and the gruff, sometimes stand offish personality of Grantham often made you wonder if he was the best guy for the job.

After last night, though, his name will no longer be the topic of conversation in Butts-Mehre. He, like Scott Lakatos this past Friday night, left for better opportunities. The Louisville Cardinals offered him what Georgia certainly wasn’t going to—a guaranteed contract worth $1 million a year…yes, Bobby Petrino saw fit to pay him more than Georgia (clearly, he bumped his head a bit harder in that accident a couple years back than we thought).

Even so, make no mistake, whether it was last night or the end of the year, Grantham’s days in Athens were numbered. He knew it, Richt knew it, and the fans knew it; and by leaving on his own accord, he saved the athletic director the trouble of having to buy/wait him out.

Now, what does Georgia do about filling this huge vacancy? Who will they target?

The hot name is, of course, Alabama Defensive Coordinator Kirby Smart. The same that turned down the job two-years ago, at the last minute, leaving Richt to settle for Grantham in the first place. What’s to keep Smart from doing the same thing again?

Honestly, I’m on the fence where Smart is concerned; from a recruiting standpoint, there’s little doubt he would be a slam dunk, but I don’t know that he’s any more ready to make the move back to Georgia than he was back then but, of course, opinions on that certainly differ.

…if Smart took this job, he could hit the ground running, recruit like crazy and win. The offense is better. Georgia is already basically running the same 3-4 defense Smart would want to bring from Alabama. There would be only a few tweaks, no outright installation necessary. That would be an enormous advantage for a first-year coordinator.

From Smart’s perspective, the situation may have changed a little at Alabama too. In 2009, the Crimson Tide had just won its first national title under Nick Saban. Alabama has since won two more. Fair or not, there really isn’t anywhere else to go but down from that. (Gentry Estes, Dawgs247)

A large majority of the fan base would get behind Smart if he took the job, and there seems to be legitimate reason to believe he’ll at least be contacted to find out if he’s interested, but Richt knows this hire needs to be quick, splashy, and clean, and from the sound of it, he couldn’t be happier to make it happen—finally.

We have a lot of defensive players coming back, as well as some outstanding defensive recruits, and there’s going to be plenty of interest in coaching them. I’m excited about the prospects of a great defensive coordinator being on board as quickly as possible.”



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I am not a 'journalist' by trade, nor do I present myself as such. I am a wife, mother, and passionate Georgia Bulldog fan. That's it. I write. You read.

7 comments for “Mark Richt: Ready to Forge Ahead After Grantham Departure

  1. 01/14/2014 at 12:05 AM

    Gene chizik

  2. 01/13/2014 at 8:52 PM

    Check out gene chizik s record as D Cord. Lead nation in scoring defense one yr dont know why he s not mentioned

  3. Jim
    01/13/2014 at 7:49 PM

    Kim, I guess great minds do think alike!

  4. Jim
    01/13/2014 at 10:10 AM

    “Ding dong the witch is dead.” This news is certainly great to hear for pretty much the whole Bulldawg Nation. But, this is only part of what is needed and has been needed in Athens for a long time. Coach Richt has got to “hit a home run” with this hire. I don’t pretend to know who we need to hire although Kirby Smart seems to be the overwhelming favorite of the BN. I have listened to others explain why/why not KS will take the job. I really don’t care who is selected as our new DC as long as he can put a defense on the field that can actually stop opponents from short circuiting our scoreboard with record point totals. Also, someone who REALLY, REALLY wants to be in Athens. It never seemed that TG wanted to coach in Athens.

    So, I say God be with Coach Richt in his efforts to bring in a great DC to Athens whomever that turns out to be.

    • 01/13/2014 at 6:31 PM

      Amen, Jim!

      I don’t care who the guy is either, as long as he can keep the defense from looking like a train wreck, recruit the state, and be a good compliment to the offense, I’m on board.

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