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

NCDAWG

January 15th, 2010
11:09 am

Let the rumors begin as to who Grantham brings with him…..I would like to see Travis Jones… UGA guy that could take over if/when Grantham leaves.

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Bryan

January 15th, 2010
11:16 am

I would love to see us continue to make a splash by putting together an all-star cast of defensive position coaches!

Jimmy

January 15th, 2010
11:17 am

All this talk of Richt having “egg in the face”
For offering a job to Smart and simply talking to a couple of possible candidates
is a bunch of crap.

If he failed to pursue Smart, critics would have bashed him.
The PR would have been just as negative.
If Richt had gone to Grantham first, people would have went, “Why not Smart?”

This way, people say he had to settle…he has egg in his face…

PLEASE.
Richt did the right thing.
Nothing wrong with the process except a lack of character on the part of some POSSIBLE candidates.
I question Smart’s character after this, too.
Couldn’t he have turned it down before an official offer was made?
In the end it doesn’t matter.
The PR fallout would have been nearly the same.

Good job Richt.

Bryan

January 15th, 2010
11:18 am

Who would we love to get?

Albert the Alligator

January 15th, 2010
11:19 am

Mr Grantham have you met your new daddy yet, The Florida Gators? You will

athensdawg

January 15th, 2010
11:19 am

i have my doubts…..the guy used to wear orange.

Douglas

January 15th, 2010
11:20 am

I think it is a great hire. The only person I don’t think Richt should have gone after was Chavis — he is a sold DC but not great. This guy is young too — only age 43. If Saban wanted him as his DC, he must be pretty good.

Bryan

January 15th, 2010
11:20 am

Who would you love to see come with Grantham?

Bremen Dawg

January 15th, 2010
11:24 am

Rumor was some stuff was twittered that Smart had accepted the job and said show me the money in writing. Richt never would have sent something in writing unless there was a verbal agreement. Then Smart sat on it and leaked it out to get Bama to bid on him. That was Smart on his part but it is a question of character but that is how the game is played. I think in the future if this get out of control and it is you will see states and colleges coming up with some sort of a salary cap.

NCDAWG

January 15th, 2010
11:24 am

I wonder how many assistants Grantham will want/Need? If he runs a 3-4: You typically have: DL, ILB, OLB, and Secondary coach……a 4-3: DL, LBs, and secondary coach…….I wonder if Grantham has the guys he wants or will he start searching now?

Hal

January 15th, 2010
11:24 am

No, Mark has done EXACTLY what he needed to do. He spoke to (NOT OFFERED) Foster & Chavis, good moves considering he really wanted Kirby but had to wait. Either of those guys say yes, done. Neither did so he waited for Kirby, who was close, damn close and actually did say yes before backing out.
Mark and the rest of us all kind of knew this was the guy and long range probably the best hire. But he had to make those other guys say no first. The search hasn’t gone on and on for 6 weeks as Shultz and Bradley would have you think. More like 3 days here, 4 days there while he waited for Kirby to come available. Bulldog nation should welcome Grantham, this guy WANTS to be here. And when we do meet Kirby next, we need to hang half a hundy on the heralded defensive coordinator who chose to stay beside the sabanator while Mr. Grantham holds ‘em to zero.

GO DAWGS!!!

NCDAWG

January 15th, 2010
11:26 am

to: Bryan.

Travis Jones

Richie

January 15th, 2010
11:28 am

This will be good.built a great def.@Dallas.

outkasted

January 15th, 2010
11:30 am

if he gets the job done no matter what choice but the right choice

Tailback U

January 15th, 2010
11:31 am

NCDAWG
I like to think CMR is smart enough to learn and grows as a coach.
I agree with you and think if I am correct in my assessment of CMR
he will learn from past mistakes and get a guy who is a special
teams guru. I am sure you share my frustration of not having a little
more juice there in terms of blocked kicks and even more important
sick of of pathetic coverage on kickoffs and occasionally on punts.
Momentum is such a crucial factor in a football game and a big play
on special teams is perhaps the most significant of all in determining
momentum.

YoungDawg

January 15th, 2010
11:32 am

People complain about the length of this search process but when AL made it to the NC game you knew this would be a long process because they HAD to talk to Kirby. He was the perfect candidate & had UGA ties could you imagine the backlash if he hired a DC without talking to & offering Smart! In the mean time CMR talked to two top flight DC’s in Foster & Chavis whom if he hired either no one was going to say they were bad hires that we shouldn’t have waited on Kirby first before hiring them. He talked to up & comer Vic Koneing who took the IL DC job rather than waiting on the UGA job. He finds Todd Grantham who has a great defensive background, likes his fiery passion & feels like he’s a good fit for UGA. BUT first he HAS to talk to & offer Smart, 1 because he’s the perfect candidate & 2 the Dawg nation wouldn’t be accepting of off the radar guy like Grantham if he didn’t go after Smart first. In the end CMR got his & the right man for the DC job! That’s all that matters! Now Evans needs to step to the plate so we can “Finish the Drill” on this by hiring great assistants to help Grantham! GODAWGS!

Dorsey Hill

January 15th, 2010
11:35 am

I am very pleased. I think that a very good argument can be made that this was the best choice of the 4 that were apparently offered the job. The NFL experience gives him an asset that none of the other three had. While Kirby may have been just as good in the X’s & O’s, I can’t see how someone could argue that Kirby is better. Afterall this is the guy Saban wanted to coach his D at Miami and thus was picked first over Will Muschamp. Again, I’m very pleased.

Now we go to a 3-4 which is good timing considereing our losses at DT. I think the 3-4 willl also give us more flexibility in dealing with all of the spread offenses we face by pulling a DL out and putting a DB or LB in his his place, thus more speed on the field.

However, we don’t know how quickly our current ends will adapt to their new responsibilities and if they are physically suited for DE in this scheme. A DE in a 3-4 has inside rush defensive responsbilty that a 4-3 end doesn’t. A 4-3 DE contains and rushes the QB. A 3-4 end has the T/G gap responsibility. Further, we don’t know which of our LB’s are capable of playing in a three-point stance when called upon to do so as required by the 3-4. In addition, our LB’s are going to have to be a lot better then they’ve been in the past as they won’t have 4 DL keeping blockers off of them.

In the end, I think this hire can be a home-run. But our 10 returning O starters plus Aaron are going to have to score points in 2010 as there will be some growing pains not only for the players but for Grantham as well who hasn’t previously been called on to defend the vastly different offensive schemes that we see week to week. Until our DL and LB’s “fit” this system the benefits may be delayed. That is not to say that I don’t expect that we will be better on defense than in 2008 and 2009, but that’s pretty low bar. Just don’t expect a sub-10 ppg defense in the first year. Sub-18ppg will do for now.

Hal

January 15th, 2010
11:37 am

@YoungDawg you’re 100% right. I’ve said on this board as well as Bradley’s and stupid a$$ shultz that Mark did exactly what he had to. The BN would not have accepted us not at least making a run at Kirby. And Mark has too much respect for Saban and his own mistakes from FSU to have made a mess of the national championship game for Alabama by going balls out for Kirby before the game. This was a 10 day search tops and Mark handled it perfectly.

Just wish these so called journalists would get it!

NCDAWG

January 15th, 2010
11:37 am

Anyone think Shane Beamer would be a good hire as the Special Teams coach, I know he helps coach the secondary too at USC……I wonder if he would consider it?

WonderDawg

January 15th, 2010
11:37 am

It has worked out fine. I mean it was an assistant coach position, not head coach. Kirby would have made a good story and a slap at Saban, but Grantham has more experience, and Saban himself offered him a DC job. Good hire Coach Richt.

dawg85

January 15th, 2010
11:39 am

Good hire. Grantham can coach. He has a solid pedigree and will bring a fresh perspective to the program. Dawgs lose some guys but have recruited well and have talent. Congrats to CMR. Grantham ought to help with recruiting too. I like this hire better than Kirby because I don’t believe we’d have kept Kirby more than a couple of years at best.

George

January 15th, 2010
11:42 am

Can anyone look at the Dallas defensive line performance and doubt that Grantham is a top notch coach? This will be a Georgia Defense that will challenge our past better defenses. It may take a year or two for him to recruit some key players for his aggressive style of defense, but Georgia’s defense will be really good from the start. We will see a better Georgia Team next season. Grantham will take some pressure off of the offense that caused Cox to press to much during the 2009 season.

Hmmmmm

January 15th, 2010
11:43 am

I like the Shane Beamer idea. VT Special Teams are freaky good.

NCDAWG

January 15th, 2010
11:45 am

It looks like Grantham will not bring any Dallas assistants with him, according to ESPN….the rest of the coaching staff has a contract for next year.

GoalLineStalker

January 15th, 2010
11:46 am

Rumor has it that Coach G will be bringing the Dallas strength coach…not sure what that means for DVH…can he do anything else?

WonderDawg

January 15th, 2010
11:46 am

Who knows, Albert the Alligator, we may now have a DC who can actually scheme and adjust DURING a game. If so, watch out ….

NCDAWG

January 15th, 2010
11:46 am

to:Hmmmmm .

Shane Beamer is Frank Beamer’s son..Frank is at VT, Shane is at South Carolina……

TommyP

January 15th, 2010
11:47 am

Isn’t Shane Beamer at S.Carolina???

NCDAWG

January 15th, 2010
11:49 am

TommyP: Yes…….but I am sure his daddy taught him a thing or two about special teams

LAKE OCONEE DAWG

January 15th, 2010
11:54 am

Probably lucked into the very best of all the candidates out there….Just glad this guy was there….Coach Richt did what he had to do waiting and at least offering it to Kirby….Kirby couldn’t pull the trigger with Nick standing over him, and dawg nation came out smelling like a rose….this guy has something to prove, that he can be a great DC in the SEC, the best conferance in America….

DScottGT

January 15th, 2010
11:54 am

I think UGA will be very happy with their DC. I haven’t seen as much written about his style scheme-wise other than ‘attacking 3-4,” but I have to admire his previous experience.

Not sure about the recruiting effect, but it seems in today’s NCAA recruiting is a full-court press involving multiple individuals. I doubt this hire causes any ill effect.

Here’s hoping both Tech and UGA upgraded a 2009 weakness with these hires…..

LAKE OCONEE DAWG

January 15th, 2010
11:55 am

Think that a special teams coordinator is still needed…these position coaches are too tied up in what they are doing to give the attention to detail that all good special teams coaches give…..

NCDAWG

January 15th, 2010
11:58 am

To Lake OCONEE DAWG:

Do you have any names for Special Teams Coordinator? I have a thought., If Manny Diaz really wanted to be at UGA offer him that posistion see how he does and promote him if that is what he wants

GeoffDawg

January 15th, 2010
12:03 pm

Kudos to CMR for making a fine hire. He also should never feel compelled to act rashly and quickly just to satisfy the impatient fans and pundits wanting immediate gratification. He’s demonstrated that he’s the one in charge of this program for better or worse. He went through the necessary steps with the end result of the program being in much better shape today than it was this time last year.

Just look at UT for an example of what happens with a hothead as your HC. We may not be back at the top of the conference immediately but we’re now a significant step closer.

Delbert D.

January 15th, 2010
12:04 pm

Maybe Georgia should have gone immediately to getting an NFL guy. They ended up elevating Kirby Smart to potential HC hire ahead of schedule. Will UT make an offer?

Dr M

January 15th, 2010
12:10 pm

Gotta hype Yata! He carried the Dawgs for 4 tough years and now he’s getting his chance to show he’s got the right stuff. Remember a buzzer beater at South Carolina? How about a blog on favorite Yata moments at UGA?

MW

January 15th, 2010
12:13 pm

I can’t argue with the hire,its a good hire.I would have liked Withers from UNC but some what satisfied.I really cant grade this hire yet until i know the people Grantham will surround himself with.This is what makes coaches good to great.I just hope it does’nt take as long to hire the other to coaches!

Grantham The Right Guy

January 15th, 2010
12:13 pm

Yes, NFL guy was Richt’s best option after SEC rivals Chavis and Smsrt decided to stay home. Taking out a conference rival’s DC is the best strategic move. That’s what Richt did when he went for his 2 biggest rivals for 2010. When that didn’t work, he went upstream to the NFL, yet also got someone with college experience and a guy Sban liked so much that Saban wanted him for his DC in Miami.

Note:
Impressive, Grantham TURNED DOWN working for Saban, but Richt was a better persuader than Saban as he got Grantham to say yes.

Places Georgia BETTER for recruiting, guys want to play in the NFL, who knows what it takes ot get there and play at that level, than a guy who’s been there for 10 years?

NCDAWG

January 15th, 2010
12:24 pm

Memo to Richt and Grantham: Travis Jones.

Paul's Johnson

January 15th, 2010
12:35 pm

750K a year for an NFL d-line coach. ‘Nuff said.

Top Dawg

January 15th, 2010
12:37 pm

Balderdash

January 15th, 2010
12:47 pm

No candidate is untouchable. Ga. Southern once had the audacity to ask long-shot Erk Russell to be their football coach. Richt was right to target who he wanted, no matter whether they seem untouchable or not. If you don’t ask, they can’t say yes.

Balderdash

January 15th, 2010
12:54 pm

The Vols are talking themselves into Kippy Brown being a great HC, much like they did with Kiffin last year. Boy those guys can talk themselves into anything.

gadawgs

January 15th, 2010
12:54 pm

Great job Coach Richt. Absolutely love the hire! Welcome to Athens Coach Grantham! I love your statement about being an attacking/aggressive defense that offenses will not want to play against. Finally, a proactive defensive coach instead of a reactive. Can’t wait till September.

Technophobia

January 15th, 2010
1:14 pm

What’s the difference between a UGA divorce and a tornado?

I don’t know but somebody’s gonna lose a trailer.

Dawghater

January 15th, 2010
1:16 pm

Bill, Bill, Bill – CMR had trouble with high profile D Coordinators becasue all three saw a boat with a hole in it. And another year like 2009, the hole would get bigger and the boat would take on more water. Grantham is a D Line Coach. He takes the UGA job and it doesn’t work out he just goes back to the NFL to get another D line job! Your article says CMR should have looked to the NFL to begin with. I guess for D line coaches! Nice to see the economy isn’t hurting UGA Coaching salaries! Just raise them ticket prices for them boys!

Technophobia

January 15th, 2010
1:21 pm

$750,000 for your fourth choice? Ouch!

ChuckWDawg

January 15th, 2010
1:22 pm

Good hire. I actually wasn’t too sure about the other “name” guys. Not that they weren’t good choices. It just was apparent to me that if Smart, Foster or Chavis came in here and had the kind of immediate success the Dog fans are hoping for some other team would have snatched them up for Head Coaching job on the spot. I like to thik Richt approached those guys mostly for political reasons. If those high profile guys don’t land at UGA it wasn’t because they weren’t asked. Grantham strikes me as the kind of guy the Dogs need. I expected it to be from the college ranks. But having a direct NFL connection among the coaches now iscan only help in recruiting.

Hank Reardon

January 15th, 2010
1:26 pm

Doesn’t it seem like the Groh hire was made to set up a quick, short term run (65 yrs old) so CPJ can have a good run and then bolt for a better program or the NFL? That seems to be a recurring problem for GT every time they have a successful coach (Ross, O’Leary).