Grantham’s aggressive style pleases this Dawg fan

Todd Grantham is saying all the right things so far. (Dallas Morning News)

Todd Grantham is saying all the right things so far. (Dallas Morning News)

Like most UGA fans, I’ve been closely parsing Todd Grantham’s initial words about his defensive plans for the Dogs, and so far I like what I hear.

Now, granted, in the recent past there’s often been a disconnect between what we hear and what we end up seeing on the field. Remember all the talk last summer about Joe Cox’s accuracy and how Bryan Evans was coming into his own at safety?

And while the lion’s share of the focus is likely to be on Grantham’s plans to go with three defensive linemen and four linebackers, instead of the opposite under Willie Martinez, the scheme wasn’t always the problem under Martinez. Too often, the Dogs showed poor fundamentals when it came to tackling and getting off blocks. I’m anxious to see how that (hopefully) improves under Grantham.

But what I particularly liked, though, was Grantham’s very first promise in the prepared statement UGA released announcing his hiring: “To the fans and boosters of the University of Georgia, 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.”

I wanted to jump to my feet and holler “Hallelujah!”

As Gen. George Patton once said, “Nobody ever defended anything successfully; there is only attack and attack and attack some more.”

One of the most frustrating things about the Georgia defense under Martinez was its soft zones and read-and-react philosophy. Too often, the reading took so long that the reaction came too late. Thus a team like Tennessee could take a simple offensive plan like play-action and devastate the Georgia defense.

It was notable that when the makeshift defensive staff simplified the schemes and reduced the number of reads for the Independence Bowl game, the defense played much better.

And don’t get me started on the way Martinez’s defense often left the middle of the field wide open — a real problem if there wasn’t much pressure on the quarterback.

Now, I’m not expecting miracles from Grantham in his first season. Georgia will have back six of the 11 defensive players who started the bowl game, so there’ll be an experience gap in addition to learning new schemes.

But the new defensive coordinator’s emphasis on a Nick Saban-style attacking defense that rushes the passer constantly and puts a premium on busting into the backfield quickly to disrupt the offense makes me feel all warm and fuzzy. It’s just how I like to see the game played, and it’s obviously done wonders for Saban.

I’m also encouraged that Grantham sounds flexible. One of the most frequent complaints I heard about Martinez was that he tried to play his base defense no matter what the other team was doing, and he was slow to adjust. Says Grantham: “We’re always going to match personnel or have the ability to match personnel, meaning if someone adds a third wideout in the game, we can add an extra DB in the game. We could end up playing multiple fronts out of that nickel package whether it be four down or three down and kind of go that route.”

I would assume that also means that if a team has a strong inside running game, the offensive attack that the 3-4 alignment is most vulnerable to, Grantham will adjust accordingly.

Another thing the new DC said Friday that pleased me was that he likes to evaluate his players “one through 50″ and “find a way to get your top players on the field, because to be an aggressive attacking style of defense and to make plays, you have got to have playmakers.” I would hope that would mean we wouldn’t see any more situations like this past season, where a defensive player continued to start long after it was obvious his backup was better.

What also caught my eye was Grantham saying “what you want as a defense, after the game is over [is] the team you just played are so happy they don’t have to play you anymore. In order to do that I think it takes great conditioning and I think it takes great preparation.” I’m wondering how all the questions about the effectiveness of Georgia’s conditioning program (which Buck Belue cited as one of the supposed reasons Kirby Smart turned the job down) will play into that. If there’s an aspect of the program that Mark Richt still needs to address besides overall discipline, it’s probably strength and conditioning.

But that’s a discussion for another day. Right now visions of stunts and blitzes and sacks and fumbles are dancing in my head, and I’m ready to see the old “GATA” slogan that Richt cited Friday once again become the ruling mindset Between the Hedges!

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331 comments Add your comment

DREW DOWN 75

January 16th, 2010
11:18 am

Nerd Central @ North Ave

January 16th, 2010
11:20 am

Your defense will still get run over by Josh Nesbitt!

Nerd Central @ North Ave

January 16th, 2010
11:21 am

I was 2nd. My highest ever ranking, but one lower than Tech will finish the season next year.

Nerd Central @ North Ave

January 16th, 2010
11:21 am

(((((((45-42)))))))) You know how it still burns!!!!!!!

Nerd Central @ North Ave

January 16th, 2010
11:23 am

It is a Calculus-free Saturday! Who is UGA getting beat by today?

Nerd Central @ North Ave

January 16th, 2010
11:24 am

Coach Groh will be better than coach grant-ham.

Georgia will ALWAYS dominate GT!!!

January 16th, 2010
11:25 am

Before any of you Jealous nerdy fools say anything remember,

(((((((((((((((((((30-24))))))))))))))))))))

Orange Bowl “LOSS” or not, WHO’S YOUR DADDY?

All is quiet in the flats (Sanford South)

Jealous Nerdy Fools

Gerogia will ALWAYS dominate GT!!!

Georgia will ALWAYS dominate GT!!!

January 16th, 2010
11:26 am

Bill, the buga have been quiet since we ruined their season.

Have you noticed that?

that's my dawg

January 16th, 2010
11:26 am

THIS IS JUST WHAT WW NEEDED AT UGA!!

Georgia will ALWAYS dominate GT!!!

January 16th, 2010
11:27 am

Nerd Central @ North Ave = Jealous nerdy fool

Willi

January 16th, 2010
11:27 am

nesbitt? you’ve got to be kidding…we’ll pound him all day and he’s the worst passer in the NCAA so good luck with that.

Georgia will ALWAYS dominate GT!!!

January 16th, 2010
11:28 am

Nerd Central @ North Ave = still cowering in the corner of moms basement

Georgia will ALWAYS dominate GT!!!

January 16th, 2010
11:30 am

CPJ unflappable…ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

Whats the score on those rings this year? ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

How did that 14 mil bowl work out? ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

Gerogia will ALWAYS dominate GT!!!

70 Dawg

January 16th, 2010
11:31 am

Nerd Central, just so you remember (30-24) Josh Nesbitt didn’t run over the Dawgs in 2009 with the 4 future NFL players and he darn sure won’t do it now in a rebuilding year. Just remember “We run this State”. So for you and St Simons,(30-24) please don’t forget who’s in charge.

Dawg Stephen

January 16th, 2010
11:31 am

Well put Bill. From what we hear at this point, is it safe to say that we also need to give our coach a little credit for once again not going into panic mode like I did when the search went on longer than we wanted? Coach Richt may have made another move that makes us all glad he is the coach, and keep our faith in his presence at the helm.

http://dawgstephen.blogspot.com/

waynester

January 16th, 2010
11:32 am

Hey there!
Strength & Conditioning is the foundation for everything you do from practice to gameday performance. So,yeah, it’s vital. Hopefully, we’ll finally get this right!

Georgia will ALWAYS dominate GT!!!

January 16th, 2010
11:34 am

St Simons aka (bi#ch boy)? You vanished after the thumping only to return as some clown named 1.4 mil….After the round 2 thumping(orange bowl LOSS) you vanised again……

Give up man, ya know why?

Georgia will ALWAYS dominate GT!!!

Dawg Stephen

January 16th, 2010
11:34 am

For what its worth, I would also like to post to SAD RICHARD that i appreciate the classy banter and the awesome contributions and comments to the blog. Thanks for visiting, I appreciate your input, and welcome your thoughts. really, thanks.

http://dawgstephen.blogspot.com/

Y Not

January 16th, 2010
11:35 am

I’ve been closely parsing Todd Rundgren’s initial words…Feet’s Don’t Fail Me Now! – “Hallelujah!”

Peace and Love, Spay and Neuter……..

Who’s Yer Daddy?

70 Dawg

January 16th, 2010
11:35 am

Bill, thanks for the article. I like this hire too. I’ve always liked the 3-4 def. With the right personnel, it give us so much more flexibility to handle the high-powered offenses like UF

Snoman

January 16th, 2010
11:36 am

Bill, you are spot on with the love of an attacking style D! Your comments are exactly the way I have felt about the Dawgs D since Willie’s second season. Going back to the Van Gorder aggression that was successful in the past is just what the doctor ordered to get us back where we need to be. I can’t wait for the games to begin again!! Go Dawgs!!

Georgia will ALWAYS dominate GT!!!

January 16th, 2010
11:36 am

The Georgia game is not important to us,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,when we lose!!!

ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

Thanks CPJ

1eyedJack

January 16th, 2010
11:41 am

Bill, about that Patton quote, there’s always an exception to the rule. Remember Muhammad Ali and the Rope-a-Dope? That was a successful defense.

Fair and Balanced

January 16th, 2010
11:42 am

I heard that when CMR came from FSU with our present S + C coach, the guys set all new weight lifting records that first year. What happened since then? But why would KS turn GA down because of that? Can’t this be correctly easily enough?

dawgfan

January 16th, 2010
11:44 am

Yeah Nerd central @ North Ave, Nesbitt ran all over UGA this year, if you call 41 yards rushing “running all over”. And by the way, Dwyer 37 yards rushing, and Jones 33 yards rushing. I can’t wait to see how bad your offense is this season after the loss of your horses. UGA will beat you by two TD’s this year. Go back and suck on your Orange Bowl blow out! Iowa, really?

1eyedJack

January 16th, 2010
11:45 am

And whatever happened to Kiante Tripp?

NEWNANDAWG

January 16th, 2010
11:46 am

so who do we bring in to fill the other spots?

Richt got coached up on Defense

January 16th, 2010
11:49 am

Richt the past 5 weeks, got coached up on defense. He talked to some of the best minds about defensive philosophy. The consensus was you need an agressive, attacking style of defense. Richt probably knows more about defense now than he ever has after talking with guys like Smart, Chavis, Foster, and Grantham. If you think of the Baltimore Ravens, that’s what we’re looking for.

NEWNANDAWG

January 16th, 2010
11:49 am

meaning who will the other coaches be? also any word on new recruits?

dap01

January 16th, 2010
11:51 am

UGA will improve next year, without question. That is especially good considering even with CWM, CPJ was severely out coached. The Bowl game was bad for Tech as well, they were dominated physically and severly out coached. Which is suprising considering Paul Johnson invented football.

WonderDawg

January 16th, 2010
11:52 am

But Bill, Patton never had to face the Russians defending the Motherland. Ask Hitler and Napoleon how that worked out ….

I just hope Richt and Evans go ahead and get Grantham some up and coming assistants to get the D turned around 180 degrees. The return of the “Junkyard Dawgs” is just around the corner!!

willie martinez just mugged a tech student(he was walking to the store)

January 16th, 2010
11:55 am

Nerd Central @ North Ave if you want to live in the past why dont you look all the way back and see how you guys got dominated. 30-24 nerd!

1eyedJack

January 16th, 2010
11:56 am

One thing that sticks in my craw is special teams. This is one third of the game. We gotta have a full time special teams coach and put some good players there. Not walk ons and scout teamers.

WonderDawg

January 16th, 2010
12:01 pm

You’re right, 1eyeJack. Hopefully we go back to the NFL ranks for special teams also ….

chris o bomb

January 16th, 2010
12:01 pm

haha no one wanted to coach the dognecks, and you had to pay him as the third highest coordinator. at least you “found” your man and “wanted to jump to my feet and holler “Hallelujah!” because of a quote. so days and weeks earlier, you all are going to ignore what you’ve said about him… that’s a true ga fan.
twhg

Big L

January 16th, 2010
12:02 pm

Nerd Central aint left ‘08 behind yet. You must consistently beat someone to brag. One game doth not a streak make. Techtard loser. Go Dawgs!!

Nerd Central @ North Ave

January 16th, 2010
12:13 pm

You know darn well that you were just one little dropped pass away from having a second ring made for your defeat. Tech is on the up and up. I am flat out gauranteeing victory this season! Bank on it!

Nerd Central @ North Ave

January 16th, 2010
12:14 pm

Aaron Murray = Joe Cox reincarnated. And you have to live with it for 4 years. That’s funny!

kd4uga

January 16th, 2010
12:14 pm

I give up. What does “GATA” mean?

Coach Richt, Wild at Heart

January 16th, 2010
12:14 pm

Richt’s IMAGE in that he’s too nice. It probably stems from links to Richt’s faith. But, men in the Bible were not meek and mild. You got David, who cut off Goliath’s head and paraded it through the city. Jesus stood up to the enemies of good and called them names and cracked a whip through the temple. Moses killed a guy. Joshua was a warrior. John the Baptist ate bugs for breakfast and lived in the wild outdoors.

Richt needs to get a little “Wild at Heart” a la author John Elderdige. We need that edge to Richt he had in 2007 against Florida.

kd4uga

January 16th, 2010
12:15 pm

Hey Nerd, UGA has never made a ring for beating tech. What a joke of a program.

Big L

January 16th, 2010
12:17 pm

Grantham gonna have the week off before Tech game next year. And we all know what happens when someone has time to gameplan for no throw Nesbitt. Grantham bringin the bug spray.

Huh?

January 16th, 2010
12:19 pm

GATA= Get After Their _ _ _ _ _(5 letter word, synonym for butt that begins with the letter A and ends with S)

It’s a phrase that means be aggressive, take the initiative.

GTDog

January 16th, 2010
12:19 pm

Patton faced worse, Germans defending the Fatherland….lol

Pit Bull

January 16th, 2010
12:20 pm

Ok I give up, what did the old Slogan GATA stand for. The writer should have said!

Pit Bull

January 16th, 2010
12:23 pm

Ok, I see it above. The slogan Richt has been using since Lovable, hugable Wee Willie was there was “SMSL”, show me some love!

bali smith

January 16th, 2010
12:26 pm

another great article…… cannot wait to see the 3/4 defense on the field… wonder if richt has any more staff changes in mind before spring train ing begins

TXDAWG

January 16th, 2010
12:27 pm

I hope that Grantahm can convince Richt that conditioning is important. Tired of wathing our guys run out of steam within two or three quarters.

1eyedJack channeling the Blind Seer

January 16th, 2010
12:29 pm

Ten years have passed behind us and GT has missed the starting gun. While you flounder around in Grant’s Tomb, in the concrete jungle, surrounded by a pool of cess, your second biggest rival and your newest “daddy” Georgia State breaks ground on a new 80,000 seat stadium.

In a mighty tug of war between the financially and athletically powerful SEC and the traditionally academic ACC it was agreed that Georgia State would join the SEC and Vanderbilt would switch to the ACC.

Georgia Tech will soon be third in the Governor’s Cup race.

Coach Richt, Wild at Heart

January 16th, 2010
12:29 pm

Here’s that Georgia Florida highlight video from 2007, this is the kind of attitude Grantham will bring for every game, and it’s what Richt needs more of:

Georgia Florida 2007 Highlight Video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b9VxyCC2vSI