Grantham’s antics were over the line — it’s not even close

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Todd Grantham appears to be giving "choke" sign before Florida lines up for field goal attempt.

(Tuesday, 8 p.m.: This blog has been updated throughout, now that Georgia coach Mark Richt has confirmed that defensive coordinator Todd Grantham gave the choke sign and shouted something well south of the King’s English at Florida kicker Chas Henry Saturday. Just added: Grantham quotes)


This isn’t about football. This isn’t about how we’re just too politically correct, or about how some of us just aren’t tough enough, or how we’re all just picking on the poor Georgia Bulldogs because, you know, that’s just what the leftist, evil media does.

This is about right and wrong. A 44-year-old college coaching grabbing his throat multiple times and shouting, “You’re gonna [bleepin'] choke,” at the opponent’s 21-year-old kicker?

Folks, that’s wrong. It’s over the line. It’s not even a close call.

Todd Grantham shouting “Choke” at the opposing player doesn’t make him or his team any tougher or better. It just makes him look classless. The Georgia defensive coordinator owes everybody an apology, from the Bulldogs’ program to Florida kicker Chas Henry, the target of Grantham’s sideline antics in Jacksonville.

Dogs coach Mark Richt confirmed Tuesday what had become obvious Monday, when he was unavailable for comment. Grantham gave the choke sign to Henry multiple times and he was wrong for doing so. The picture above tells part of the story. The two videos below tell more of it. In short, Grantham — who can be a little on the excitable side, which in itself isn’t a bad thing — let his competitive spirit push him over the line of what’s right and wrong. He grabbed his throat four times while the Florida kicker lined up for a 37-yard field goal attempt in overtime.

Henry, a native of Dallas, Ga., acknowledged seeing and hearing Grantham but he made the kick anyway, giving the Gators a 34-31 win.

The above screen grab from the Florida sports cable network “Sun Sports” showed Grantham on the sideline. Below are two videos:

VIDEO No. 1: Here is Henry’s post-game interview with CBS when he references what he saw when he looked to the Georgia sideline during the timeout. Quote: “Some of their coaches on the sideline were giving me a little grief, saying I was gonna choke.”)

VIDEO No. 2: Here’s one view of Grantham going through his motions before the kick, via Sports by Brooks.)

It was at about 6:30 p.m. Monday night when Pat Dooley of the Gainesville Sun sent a note out on Twitter: “Just checked the CBS broadcast again. Todd Grantham grabs his neck and says ‘You’re gonna bleepin’ choke. You’re gonna choke’ to Henry.”

By then, it was clear that Richt had a mess to clean up, and for once it had nothing to do with his players and the Athens-Clarke County police department

As I wrote earlier, it would be understandable — even expected — that Grantham would think, “Choke!” or “Miss it!” in his head. It wouldn’t even be surprising if a Georgia player yelled, “Choke!” or grabbed his neck. But that’s not something  a college coach should be doing, and Richt acknowledged that.

Grantham himself expressed regret about the incident, saying after Tuesday’s practice: “As a competitor, sometimes you get caught up in the heat of the moment. I wish the situation hadn’t happened.”

Earlier in the day, Richt also referenced that “emotions run high,” adding: “People do things they probably wish they didn’t do. I think that was what was being communicated. I don’t think he’s necessarily proud of it. We’re just going to learn from it and move on.”

Not the first thing this year the Dogs are trying to learn from.

Follow me on Twitter @JeffSchultzAJC and Facebook.com/JeffSchultzAJC

1,682 comments Add your comment

gdawginkalamazoo

November 1st, 2010
2:54 pm

Jeff, he is telling his guys, “chins up”.

Way to stir the pot!

November 1st, 2010
2:55 pm

I bet it is a defensive play call!

gdawginkalamazoo

November 1st, 2010
2:56 pm

That or Aaron Murray and Mike Bobo are standing behind Coach Richt and he is talking to them.

OrlandoDawg

November 1st, 2010
3:02 pm

It happened. The live feed was even clearer and showed him screaming at someone the field at the same time. It may be the most embarrassing moment for our dawgs in a year with a bunch of embarrassing developments. When is it going to end?

uga_fan39

November 1st, 2010
3:03 pm

He was tellling them to keep their chins up, we were seated right behind them

Ray

November 1st, 2010
3:04 pm

what do you expect out of uga. it is the cesspool of the south

Ryan

November 1st, 2010
3:05 pm

That was clearly directed at Aaron Murrey as he was exiting the field.

Casual Observer

November 1st, 2010
3:06 pm

Typical. had this been A Gators or Vols coach doing this the uproar would have been immediate. Lets see how you pups fans spin this.

Ryan

November 1st, 2010
3:07 pm

You are right Jeff, it would not have been a big deal for a player to do that but it is pretty trahsy for a coach to do that to a college kid.

JoeFan

November 1st, 2010
3:08 pm

What an empty season for UGA. Doubt if the team is motivated after such a debilitating lose.Will be very telling how they play the last 3 games.

brookwood_skunk

November 1st, 2010
3:08 pm

Lets see if zero tolerance extends to the coaching staff. He can’t control his players or his staff. What’s next? CMR throws holy water the other team when they win the coin toss. Stay Classy UGA.

Woody Hayes

November 1st, 2010
3:09 pm

Come on Jeff a coach can’t show emotion during a tight ball game. What is the world coming to. Not like he punched the kid in the neck.

Duck a Fawg

November 1st, 2010
3:09 pm

@uga_fan39: seriously? that’s your story and you’re sticking to it?

schmeckdawg

November 1st, 2010
3:10 pm

All’s fair in love and war. Was it fair that they didn’t get flagged for excessive celebration!!!!

Hairy Dawg

November 1st, 2010
3:10 pm

They can fine him and give him a good talking-to, but competitive people don’t often think a lot in the heat of the moment.

Too bad the kid hit the kick. It would have been better if he hadn’t.

Go Dawgs.

DawginLex

November 1st, 2010
3:10 pm

Who cares? The smack was flowing all day long. What is worse, telling the kicker to choke or that dam gator chomp Urban and all the gators were doing?

Dale

November 1st, 2010
3:10 pm

He was motioning to Rambo for dropping that interception.

collegeballfan

November 1st, 2010
3:11 pm

So?

“The Dogs rank sixth in scoring defense and fourth in total defense in the SEC.”

This is a lot better than last year isn’t it? And with a new scheme?
Nice coaching job.

dobearsbare

November 1st, 2010
3:12 pm

Mountain out of a molehill. Who cares? UGA could be rightly criticized for many things in this game. This, however, is much ado about nothing. As for the Florida message boards … do we really want to be listening to them on matters of appropriate or classy behavior?

Forrest Gump

November 1st, 2010
3:12 pm

Thuggish is as thuggish does!

Charlie Pell 107 violations

November 1st, 2010
3:12 pm

You know, we can read into it whatever we like. We will never know the exact truth, only the truths the he/she would like to believe. If it is true? While sure its a little childish, but at least he gives a rat arse. A lot of stuff going on in Athens and this is what we elect to talk about? Looks like some serious deflection of heat for Bobo and Richt. They should send you a thank you card JS.

P.S. Told you it was the turnovers that were most important!

schmeckdawg

November 1st, 2010
3:12 pm

Hey you little hater, you should see what your wife does behind your back. At least if Grantham was giving him the choke sign, he did it to his face!

dawgfan

November 1st, 2010
3:13 pm

If he is giving the choke sign, which is questionable at best (see below), its not any worse than Meyer laughing at his player faking a knee on a kickoff when his team was up by several touchdowns. Its becoming pretty clear that there is a double standard in this rivalry. Meyer & Co. can be total classless punks but if UGA pulls any shenanigans panties immediately get bunched. To the victor goes the spoils I suppose.

A traditional choke sign involves two hands, not one. He could have been gesturing to our players to keep their heads up or something. A reasonable explanation or apology will be forthcoming, but that doesn’t stop Schultz from stirring the pot. We don’t want to let facts get in the way of a good blog that will get a lot of hits.

reebok

November 1st, 2010
3:13 pm

i’m going to give him the benefit of the doubt an assume it was some sort of signal to the Dawgs on the field, not meant to intimidate the Florida kicker. Why would the Gator’s placekicker be looking at the Georgia bench in the 1st place?

Duck a Fawg

November 1st, 2010
3:13 pm

@DawginLex: major difference id the gator chmop was directed at one particualr player…and believe me I’m not a FL fan

DawginLex

November 1st, 2010
3:13 pm

Jeff,

Your comment about how much Grantham gets paid and how they gave up points to a team that lost to MSU 10-7 reeks of unprofessionalism.

Why don’t you discuss his entire body of work for the season?
Why don’t you compare points given up this year versus the last 2 years under WM?
Why don’t you point out that the 31 points given up were 18 less than were allowed last year in the same game?
Why don’t you point out that Grantham is doing this with players he inherited that are mostly not meant to play his scheme?

Eddie

November 1st, 2010
3:14 pm

This is ridiculous. First, it’s a screen shot and therefore you do not have proper context to make statements like this … review the tape and see what actually happens. Was he scratching his neck? Making a call? Who knows? Come on … you have to see the whole picture before making accusations

Ryan

November 1st, 2010
3:14 pm

Haha, this is pretty funny reading all the UGA fans’ comments. If Urban had done this there would be rioting in the streets of Athens. Everyone would demand he be fired.

Duck a Fawg

November 1st, 2010
3:14 pm

sorry…should have said “major diff is the gator chomp was NOT directed…..

KimZ'spackage

November 1st, 2010
3:16 pm

He was telling Rainey what to do instead of Txting his exgirlfriend.
UGA has always been so classy. It is just what everybody has come to expect from UGA. Coach Christ RICHT would never have someone with no class around him.

Soulja Boy

November 1st, 2010
3:16 pm

Suspend Grantham for the first half of the Idaho game.

techie redneckie

November 1st, 2010
3:16 pm

Meyer should have poked Granthma’s eye out after the game.

Now Shultz can concentrate on Tech’s upcoming domination of VT, Miami and GA.

Tucker T

November 1st, 2010
3:17 pm

This is purely circumstantial. No way to know what he was doing. He will never admit to it even if that is what he was doing. This is a story with no legs. Let’s move on.

DawginLex

November 1st, 2010
3:17 pm

I wanted Richt to hire Manny Diaz but what did I know?

Dale

November 1st, 2010
3:17 pm

No, he was only saying “Die Bit**.” So it’s really not a big deal.

Alex

November 1st, 2010
3:18 pm

Seriously?? Non issue. Get a life

Charlie Pell 107 violations

November 1st, 2010
3:18 pm

Ryan,

What about Rainey literally threatening a female with the text message TIME TO DIE. He comes back after a 5 games suspension (poor fella) starts the game and scores the first Touchdown. Sure, Florida fans along with Meyer have a lot of input on how to teach Class.

jtdawg

November 1st, 2010
3:18 pm

I wouldn’t be upset if it were anybody? What’s the fuss? Who cares?
Who is he disrespecting?

Hey i thought the Ealey eye gouge was overblown

I was CERTAINLY embarrased by the ‘07 stomp. Poor, poor sportsmanship.

But AJ’s celebration flag in the LSU game last year? Way overblow and a ridiculous call. The commentators reaction Saturday when the Florida players stormed the endzone after the OT interception LOOKED like a TD. What is the damn fuss?

I did NOT like King’s reation after his touchdown. I want players on both sides to always show class. I don’t want players dancing over downed opponents after big hits or taking cheap shots because they’re emotional, but if the young guys are really just harmlessly celebrating? So what.

But this could have been done for any number of reasons, so why does the damn media blow it out of proportion? Big deal. He didn’t flip anybody off and he didn’t text Meyer or the kicker ‘Time To Die’. This is just ludicrous sensationalism.

You want to criticize? Point out the black helmets, endzone dance from ‘07, or even the “Cheap Shot” I believe I saw a Gator fan call out Rambo over earlier – good and deserved (and shameful if/when true).

But this???? Please….

Duck a Fawg

November 1st, 2010
3:18 pm

I agree that Grantham very well could be signaling to GA’s defense but I think at least an explanation will be coming tomorrow during Richt’s weekly PC

schmeckdawg

November 1st, 2010
3:18 pm

Dale @ 3:10

And for Sanders Commings not just dropping on that fumble on the 3 yard line, and Aaron White dropping a pass right in his hands that got picked and led to a TD, and AJ Green for not taking one step forward to prevent and interception on the first play, and Tavarres King dropping a pass that hit him right in his hands on the gaytor 5 yd line eventhough we eventually did score, or Branden Smith almost pissing the game away by catching, dropping and then getting a perfect bounce right to him at the gaytor 3 yard line. I don’t believe any of this had to do with their kicker. Once again, it’s the little 4 eyed queef trying to stomp on the DAWGS!!!!!!

Big Bad Bwuce

November 1st, 2010
3:19 pm

I was close enough to see what was happening. Coach had a Krispy Kreme stuck in his throat and was trying to get it loose.

Ryan

November 1st, 2010
3:19 pm

Hey KimZ:

“UGA has always been so classy. It is just what everybody has come to expect from UGA. Coach Christ RICHT would never have someone with no class around him.”

That has to be sarcasm right?

jtdawg

November 1st, 2010
3:20 pm

Shame on you Jeff Shultz.

There is so much other stuff to criticize this coaching staff over than this…..

Casual Observer

November 1st, 2010
3:20 pm

As a Diehard Gator Fan I personally have no problem with Grantham doing this. IMO, it at least shows you pups have some kind of pulse. I didnt like the Team celebration a few yrs ago it at least showed me that CMR had a pulse and was not so robotic as I perceived. Sometimes you need a some borderline antics to get you going. The GA players will no doubt appreciate their DC having some nads (but maybe no brains).

schultz observer

November 1st, 2010
3:20 pm

Still getting your scoops from the message boards I see!!!!.

Jive Lady

November 1st, 2010
3:20 pm

Ask the man (coach/staff/assistant) in the red hat, he’s looking straight at him as he’s making the gesture…

andrew

November 1st, 2010
3:21 pm

You’re right, he should have just texted him.

Josh Smildress

November 1st, 2010
3:21 pm

Who cares? Quit making a story out of nothing.

wxwax

November 1st, 2010
3:22 pm

No big deal.

The coaches make millions of dollars, the schools make tens of millions of dollars on these games and millions of people watch them on TV.

You think a coach giving the choke sign puts more pressure on the kicker?

No way. Columnist and blog fodder, nothing more.

Big Bad Bwuce

November 1st, 2010
3:22 pm

The man in the red hat brought the doughnuts.