If there is one thing that we have learned this season at Georgia, it’s that Todd Grantham is a pretty good coach. The Bulldogs’ defense has improved almost every week this season, and is miles ahead of what it was a year ago.
But we’ve witnessed, courtesy of YouTube, that sometimes Grantham just does dumb things – and here he goes again.
If you missed the stories earlier this week from our Chip Towers, Grantham’s agent is publicly pushing for a raise and contract extension for Georgia’s defensive coordinator. Never mind that the contract still has 14 months to run.
Agent Michael Harrison has been rebuffed by athletic director Greg McGarity, who says he won’t address coaches’ contracts until after the season. And sorry, but Mark Richt’s contract is a slightly higher priority.
Grantham is a coach. It would be a good idea to stick to that for possibly four more games and worry about his finances in January.
I’ve covered player and coach negotiations for nearly 30 years. Let me tell you how this works. Agents generally don’t go rogue. When they talk to the media, it’s at their clients’ urging and/or approval.
Harrison told Chip that he has gotten “inquiries” from NFL teams about Grantham returning to the league as an assistant. He claims he has gotten “feelers” from college teams about being a head coach.
These soundbites are all orchestrated. I understand Harrison is just doing his job for his client. But the client – Grantham – needs to understand bringing this up now is counterproductive. Seriously. Grantham expects the Bulldogs to make a commitment to a defensive coordinator less than two full years into a three-year contract when they haven’t even finalized the head coach’s future yet?
Consider the importance of Georgia’s potential four remaining games: 1) Kentucky, the potential SEC East-clincher; 2) Georgia Tech, the local rival; 3) LSU (probably), the SEC championship; 4) Bowl game opponent, which finalizes rankings and stature.
Should this really be an issue right now?
I’m guessing somebody said something to Grantham follow Monday’s initial story because by Tuesday Grantham was trying to say the right things. Following practice Tuesday night, he maintained that his focus was on the Kentucky game and not his contract.
But when he alluded to Harrison and said, “You hire people to do a job for you and I let him handle that part of it,” it missed the point. Agents work for their clients, not the other way around. This is a public issue now because of Grantham, not his agent.
One more thing: While it wouldn’t stun me if Grantham winds up returning to the NFL, I don’t buy Harrison’s claim of legitimate head coaching offers, certainly not at a major college. Any coordinator who has a head coaching offer would jump at it rather than worrying about using it as leverage.
In other words, this is all drivel we could’ve done without.
By Jeff Schultz