Should Richt have gone the NFL route from the start?

Another bonus for Todd Grantham in taking the UGA job: He won't have to wear orange again. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)

Another bonus for Todd Grantham in taking the UGA job: He won't have to wear orange again. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)

Are we there yet?

Yes, at last. This morning Mark Richt has confirmed Rivals.com’s Tom Dienhart’s report that he’s hiring Dallas Cowboys defensive line coach Todd Grantham as defensive coordinator. No details on the terms of the deal yet from Richt but Dienhart Tweeted that it is for three years and will make Grantham “third highest paid DC in the nation.”

I think Richt has made a good hire. Not a hire that will leave Bulldogs fans with stars in their eyes, but one that probably would have been hailed as a fine move if it had come more quickly and if it hadn’t been preceded by the Georgia coach going after bigger college names who were long-shots to start with and eventually turned him down.

Grantham, who formerly was defensive coordinator for the Cleveland Browns, seems like the best of the “realistic” candidates for the Georgia job.

He’s another Nick Saban disciple and reportedly came highly recommended to Richt by Virginia Tech’s Bud Foster, one of the earlier candidates for the UGA job. If that means he brings a more aggressive brand of defense to Athens, I’m all for it.

It’s true Grantham has been out of college ball (and its recruiting wars) for a decade, after working with Saban at Michigan State, but his NFL experience ought to be enough of a selling point to young players to balance that out.

It will be interesting to see whether Grantham will leave Dallas before their season is over.

How do you feel about how all this has played out? Should Richt have reached for the stars even though he was bucking the odds or should he have gone the NFL assistant route from the start and just gotten it over with? And if the report about Grantham’s pay is accurate, is that just the reality of where the Georgia DC job should rank pay-wise, or is UGA paying more than it ought to for a guy who wasn’t first choice? (Update: Grantham got a three-year deal worth $750,000 per year.)

Of course, we won’t really know how good a hire this is until we see how Georgia’s defense plays.

But at least we now know Grantham is indeed the guy.

WAY TO GO, YATA!

If you haven’t yet seen former Bulldog Sundiata Gaines’ buzzer-beating winning three-pointer to give the Utah a win over Cleveland, take a look. Gaines, playing in only his fifth NBA game, has been trying out with the Jazz on a short-term deal, but hopefully that will get him signed at least for the remainder of the season.

ANOTHER HONOR FOR BUTLER

Congratulations again to Georgia punter Drew Butler, who has made the ESPN.com All-America team.

193 comments Add your comment

Blindog

January 15th, 2010
10:27 am

beachdog

January 15th, 2010
10:28 am

First,maybe, don’t care as long as he can coach

Blindog

January 15th, 2010
10:28 am

I will never do that again.

Cuz

January 15th, 2010
10:30 am

Someone photoshop him in red.

JMar

January 15th, 2010
10:33 am

Six months from now, it will have made no difference that UGA offered the job to a few other coaches before getting Grantham, versus having signed Grantham from the start. You still end up with the same DC. Only difference is that now other schools that compete against UGA are paying even bigger bucks to their own DC’s, which is less money they can spend elsewhere (such as other assistants in upcoming years). Not that that is necessarily a legitimate positive, but I see no negatives, unless that kid who changed commitments to Louisville might have stayed for Todd Grantham (and I don’t think he would have).

how2fish

January 15th, 2010
10:33 am

I think its a good hire (when confirmed) however it will take at least a year to tell..with Curren and the D line leaving we will have big holes to fill with underclassmen so maynot get a real read on him till 2011. But Lord I hope this is over and we can move on.

seventh

January 15th, 2010
10:35 am

8th...

January 15th, 2010
10:36 am

Enter your comments here

Starring Kam Fong as Chin Ho

January 15th, 2010
10:38 am

I was afraid we weren’t even going to field a defensive team next year (kinda like 09) so the fact we are going to try to play defense is pretty darned exciting. I don’t miss 09 at all, I’m just looking forward to ‘10. Seems as if GT got their man as well

AugDawg

January 15th, 2010
10:38 am

CMR did due dilligence going for the established college coach. maybe could have done without the koening talks but shooting the moon for foster is justifiable and smart had to be asked. u just have too, uga guy, up and comer, NC, etc. but we got a solid hire but maybe slightly overpriced if it ends up being 700k/yr. hopefully he earns it by briniging JYD defense back.

Gordon

January 15th, 2010
10:38 am

Georgia Tech’s Al Groh is the highest paid DC in the nation at 4.2 million over the next 2 years. And the good news is UVA will be paying most of that.

Dawg Stephen

January 15th, 2010
10:39 am

Why do you have to question him and how he did it Bill?? He went till he got the right person, remember they have to ACCEPT…Grantham has been on the radar from the start, and he went down the list to find the right fit.

Just congratulate CMR on hiring, why do we have to question and doubt?

Since Vince

January 15th, 2010
10:40 am

Lets see if we can fix the other problems now. Boo Boo’s vanilla play calling and our strength and conditioning program. I was really irritated with Jeff Owens diet over the course of the year.

Bremen Dawg

January 15th, 2010
10:40 am

Probably so but he was going after three of the best dc’s in college fd. You can’t really blame him and I am looking forward to seeing that 3-4 attacking d that Grantham will bring to Athens. Richard S you have to move to lb and be a star in that package.

JB

January 15th, 2010
10:40 am

Let’s quit looking back and move on. This guy is tough, knows x and o’s and will have us playing better next year, not great, but better. Let’s get 5 or 6 new players in their who will want to hit, cover and play some smash mouth football……My biggest hope is that our DB’s won’t be playing 20 yards off the receiver and start back peddling when the ball is snapped. GATA. Say’s he likes an attacking style of play. Hadn’t seen that since Erk left.

GreggJ

January 15th, 2010
10:41 am

Looks to be a fine hire since we did not get Smart! NO idea what he was making in NFL so dont know about Salary- I just sooo glad slick willie is gone gone gone-you dont see his name in ANY of these coaches searches

AceDawg

January 15th, 2010
10:41 am

The final point – how good UGA will be – is of course the crux of the matter. I don’t think Richt messed up searching around for a well-established college coordinator first. Grantham seems credible, and I’m delighted if it officially means Willie style defense is gone, even if Grantham can’t coach worth a flip. That said, Grantham may have been informed that Richt was looking especially for a college guy and that he respected Grantham’s playoff role and that they would again touch base if his more available targets weren’t panning out. Paying him big may be mostly a result of Grantham hearing about the other offers UGA made. He wouldn’t want to leave NFL feeling like a budget choice. That could be the one negative, but as soon as the Dawgs break a poor running back’s clavicle next year and sprint with the ball into the endzone, I won’t ask any questions about salaries for whoever is the coordinator.

JB

January 15th, 2010
10:42 am

ANY word on filling out the staff……..?????

Steven

January 15th, 2010
10:42 am

Sundiata is the man. It’s awesome to see a UGA guy work hard and make it through Europe and D league and finally get his chance in the NBA. Atta kid

Bremen Dawg

January 15th, 2010
10:45 am

Here comes more 4 – 5 star recruits to Athens to play for a NFL guy that can teach them what it takes to get there.

D&D fan

January 15th, 2010
10:45 am

I know its semantics; but I don’t think any of the previous coaches were “offered” the job. I truly believe that CMR wanted to be able to stand up and say; we got the guy we wanted and offered the job too, without lying. I think all the talk was just that; and CMR got played, which is unfortunate. Maybe CMR will learn from this experience, I certainly hope he does.

Now to Grantham, if nothing else I love this quote; “I understand the passion and standard of excellence expected. I look forward to developing an aggressive, physical, attacking style defense that offenses will not look forward to playing against.” God bless you CTG!

Chipped Tires

January 15th, 2010
10:45 am

Any word on a special teams coach? sure is taking a while….

shannon1776

January 15th, 2010
10:46 am

Since the 3 DLmen in a 3-4 are basically NT’s, let’s try and convince Jeff Whitaker and Mike Thornton to commit to us-we need more true DT’s now. Samuel, move him to OLB and watch him flourish. Justin Houston, will be a hell of an OLB!!!

Go Dawgs!!!

Bremen Dawg

January 15th, 2010
10:47 am

Looks at this guys stats, he has made the 3 – 4 work and has stuffed the run during his first year. Just needs to go after a good secondary coach now. He will probably be DC and line coach now.

Dooley's Veer Offense

January 15th, 2010
10:47 am

Bill,

Good report but bad question. SHould he have gone to the NFL earlier? (a rearveiw mirror rehtorical question masked as a complaint). Answer: No. He was after a DC, not necessarily an NFL pedigree. Frankly, there is too much commentary about the “style” of a difficult process by people (press and fans) who know little about management and employee recruiting. Truth is…Richt could have hired Manny Diaz in a week and been done with it. Decent hire but not an optimum hire. Nevertheless, Richt didn’t. He took his time. And during courtship..let’s all remember, no matter how much you may want someone, it doesn’t mean anything if they don’t want you. The press wanted UGA to hire the first big name on the first date. It is not Richt’s job to sell papers or web traffic! Richt aimed high..as he should have. The process has led UGA (apparently) to the right guy at the right time. Now, why doesn’t everyone just get off his back. The hiring process will be history in a few days and a non-issue in less than two weeks. At this point, Bill, you and many others, despite mostly good intentions, are kicking a dead horse.

Good hire…right guy…on with recruiting.

jellybeandawg

January 15th, 2010
10:47 am

I am fine with the hire but if we were going to spend that kind of money (750k+) anyway, then why didn’t we just offer it to Bud Foster who is the best candidate out of all the ones considered in the first place?

NCDAWG

January 15th, 2010
10:47 am

Chipped Tires:

I would like A special teams coach too…I am wondering how the position coaches are going to work out? Can Grantham coach DB’s or LB’s?

Good Hire Dawgs

January 15th, 2010
10:47 am

I am very excited about this hire. Now I can’t wait to see how the rest of the Staff fills out!

Bremen Dawg

January 15th, 2010
10:50 am

I’m telling you, Richard Samuel is a first round pick if he moves to LB, he is extremely fast and can pick up about 20 more pounds in the weight room. NFL proto type LB, Big and fast, just hope he can wrap up good on tackles. I know he will knock the crap out of tb’s

Dawg Fud

January 15th, 2010
10:50 am

i have no problem with how Coach Richt conducted the search and i don’t think he “settled” for Grantham. Richt has always had Grantham on his radar.

Glad we have a DC, glad Kirby is happy, glad to be Bulldog.

Welcome Coach Grantham. GO DAWGS!

Blindog

January 15th, 2010
10:52 am

Richt took a risk trying to hire high profile coiiege coaches and he paid the price but I have no problem with him trying.High school kids that want to play in the NFL will want to play for this guy because he has been there the past 9 years.That will bring in the big name recruits.Great hire! GO DAWGS!!!!!!!!

GW

January 15th, 2010
10:52 am

Gotta’ let the guy play out the string in Dallas and go for a Super Bowl ring. It will be something to flash to easily impressed recruits. He will definitely be an improvement but this season will be a period of transition and adjustment. We have to be patient. Getting fired by the Browns is the greatest mark on his resume`. Lots of good coaches in that category.

Dawg Fud

January 15th, 2010
10:53 am

jellybeandawg,

because Foster ain’t leaving Blacksburg. why is this so difficult for people to understand? he has been an asst with the Hokies for 23 yrs. he likes where he lives and works.

Bremen Dawg

January 15th, 2010
10:53 am

I liked Grantham’s quote too, he knows how dawg gone passionate us dawgs fans are. I

1eyedJack

January 15th, 2010
10:54 am

Bill, did you have to put up a picture of him in that ugly looking orange?

robodawg

January 15th, 2010
10:55 am

Like the hire. There’s something to be said for going after proven college coordinators. Though lateral moves are less likely, it does happen enough at the assistant level that you just never know. But those are longshots. So in a sense I’d say Grantham was our first choice on the “realistic” level of candidates.

The risk with an NFL guy is that the this-is-a-business approach don’t cut it on the college level. Witness a defensive mind like Marion Campbell (or Groh?) who just can’t relate to and motivate college kids. But Grantham has enough college experience that you expect him to know what’s expected of him in that area.

I’m not sure about making him the third highest paid DC before he’s proven himself as a college DC. I’d prefer that be put in an incentive package. But I guess that’s what it took. The stakes seem to have grown since our last DC hire — we’re trying to compete with the Florida and Bama and LSU. Until the NCAA does something about the “arms race,” spending more than you need to on college ball is going to continue to be part of the game.

Dawg Fud

January 15th, 2010
10:55 am

NCDAWG,

my guess is that Grantham will bring Reggie Herring (LB’s coach of the Cowboys) with him. Richt also has a connection to Herring and Herring’s niece is a UGA graduate.

helmet head

January 15th, 2010
10:55 am

Belichick was fired by the Browns. Would you take him as your coach. I thought so.

Observe & Report

January 15th, 2010
10:55 am

I’m excited about this hire, he has a solid background and Dallas’s D-line is arguably the best in the NFL. Now, who will he bring to fill out the staff?

1eyedJack

January 15th, 2010
10:56 am

Gordon, did you factor in his social security check?

Tailback U

January 15th, 2010
10:56 am

Glad it’s a done deal now and it is going to be interesting to see
who Grantham brings with him on staff. There of course have been rumors
that guys with Georgia connections might be possibilities as position
coaches. To me Bill while many discussions have gone in the direction
of strength and conditioning a much greater need is an upgrade in the
area of special teams play. I personally think Saban is a little
better coach than Meyer because of Meyer’s specific system. But one
thing about Meyer’s coaching is indeed superior and that is special teams. The teams like Kentucky’s of the world are seemingly never
a threat because they are exploited on special teams significantly
enough that games quickly get out of hand and Florida is never having
to deal with a screw up or two costing them the game. As much as
I admire CMR this has been a chink in his armor that MUST be repaired
before the Dawgs will ever be as potent as dominant as we believe they
have the potential to be.

Blindog

January 15th, 2010
10:59 am

Where you at UGA 2010 ??

NCDAWG

January 15th, 2010
10:59 am

Does anyone know if Grantham can coach the secondary?

Dawg stuck in Bham

January 15th, 2010
10:59 am

Great hire. Glad to have it over….now can we get a new strength coach? Everyone in the SEC knows that we are weak in that area. DVH ’s methods are antiquated…Smart wanted to bring in a new one cause he knew we were weak.

Maddawg

January 15th, 2010
11:00 am

If he’d gone after the NFL route to begin with, I guarantee you that people like you and many others would be second-guessing that and complaining that he should have gone after the other high-brow college DC’s. Sheesh. Either way, you’re not going to be happy. When are you and others going to quit your cynicism and hypocritical self-serving viewpoints and just let Richt do his job?

dan

January 15th, 2010
11:01 am

Bill,

I think it’s a pretty solid hire. College football for better or worse has taken on a Pro Football /Big Business mentality. These kids( and more importantly their parents) are looking at schools that will showcase their talents for the next level. Mark Richt’s method of recruiting kids and building them to be great human beings of faith is honorable, but it isn’t resonating like it used to. And Richt’s model of treating players and coaches like they are family( ala FSU) needed to change as well. College Football is a business, and a college football program needs to be run as such. To Richt’s credit he learned his lesson( albeit a bit too late). Now UGA has a better selling point to kids, especially defensive players. Athens has always been a great town with an awesome fan base. And now they have a defensive coach who has experience in the NFL( something Richt’s previous staff’s have lacked), who brings an NFL scheme to the table which will get players ready for the next level. If I were a defensive player with no ties to UGA( especially a defensive lineman since that’s Grantham’s speciality), I would strongly consider UGA whereas I wouldn’t have when Willie was there. And I think the 3-4 is a good fit for UGA’s current personel because their defense is a bit small but they have speed and are pretty decent when they blitz which is what the 3-4 is all about. That’s the biggest knock I had against Willie, he always had success when he blitzed and never did it enough!

knoxdawg

January 15th, 2010
11:01 am

I can’t blame Richt for trying to hire the DC’s he went after first. However, I think in the end having an NFL coach on the staff is better. Perhaps he can bring some assistants from the NFL as well. Recruits today look hard at the coaches NFL experience cause they all want to play in the NFL. Should be a plus in the recruiting area. Now go get the LB that decommitted from UT. Rennie leaving opens an opportunity for early playing time.

NCDAWG

January 15th, 2010
11:04 am

to Tailback U:

urban myer coaches the special teams at UF, like Beamer does at VT……….I wonder if Richt could/would go that direction…..if not UGA should hire a Special teams coach…along with any assistants Grantham wants to bring.

Bryan

January 15th, 2010
11:05 am

1st……uhm…..Page!

Bryan

January 15th, 2010
11:06 am

I am loving this hire…….I knew he would do the right thing and make a BIG hire! NFL guy in the livingroom of your recruits coming soon!