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

Nerd Central @ North Ave

January 16th, 2010
2:40 pm

UGA is going to find out just how good the Tech program can be with a good defense!

SOUTHGADAWG88

January 16th, 2010
2:42 pm

Stroud was a 4-3 technique DT.There is a difference..ideally you look for a shorter big body to plug the middle.

Kwame Geathers, 3-4 Nosetackle

January 16th, 2010
2:43 pm

6′ 6”, too tall? Huh? Ever heard of a guy named Cody over at Bama? Cody is 6′ 5”, or 6′ 6”, depending on who you talk to.

Geathers was a top 20 ranked DL on rivals coming out of high school, the dude can play.

SOUTHGADAWG88

January 16th, 2010
2:45 pm

Tech will be lucky to win 6 games.Mia,VT,FSU and NC are better than GT .Once again I say there is no team in the ACC that would finish in the top 5 of the SEC

SOUTHGADAWG88

January 16th, 2010
2:48 pm

Cody will be lucky to measure out at 6-4 at the combine.Kwame has great potential but Garner said his future lies at LT.He could earn a lot more money as a LT.That’s a great compliment actually.

Grantham Dallas Highlight Video #2

January 16th, 2010
2:57 pm

Enjoy this one, here’s the 3 in the 3-4, WOW!

Grantham Dallas Cowboys D-Line Work Youtube Video Highlight:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s_ve04SwV7Q&feature=related

Dallas Star

January 16th, 2010
3:07 pm

From 11 All Americans on D to zero. Cowboys are no Dawgs

JESUP

January 16th, 2010
3:13 pm

according to rivals Georgia offensive coordinator Mike Bobo is a leading canadite for the job at LT….what do yall think, anybody willing to help him pack ?????…..

Voyager Dawg

January 16th, 2010
3:21 pm

GATA Coach Grantham. Welcome to the Bulldawg Nation Coach “G”. It’s time to put the “Junkyard” back in the Dawgs Defense. Another great Dawg Blawg Mr. King. Keep up the good work and great insight. Go Dawgs!

JESUP

January 16th, 2010
3:32 pm

True Dawg Fan.

January 16th, 2010
3:32 pm

Tech Buzz and all other BUMBLE-BEE suporters from GT.

Just remember that all that glitters is not GOLD classic example is FOOL’S GOLD which is all GT is— no substance and just a sack of HOT AIR — PROOF NEEDED ? look at your pathetic record with the DAWGS the last 9 years. If you can’t walk the walk don’t talk the foolish talk that you blog on this UGA blawg.

Go Dawgs smack’em just like flee’s slap the “you know what” out of the BUMBLE bee’s.

Mike Bobo is Clueless

January 16th, 2010
3:33 pm

Probably Bobo’s agent circulating that rumor about L Tech. Bobo had a TERRIBLE 2009, no college football team would POSSIBLY be interested in letting him be the Head guy.

Likely going to be Gus M, OC at Aubrun, who’s had top ranked offenses everywhere he’s been consistently.

Hoever, I would absolutely LOVE IT if Bobo went to play for someone else, I’d prefer it to be as OC in the SEC, since we all know how bad he is.

Mike Bobo is Clueless

January 16th, 2010
3:44 pm

Hopefully, Mark Richt will resume play calling duties in 2010. Richt’s OC skills are unmatched, Richt helped FSU get to 5 Natl champs. Bobo is in over his head. Let him be the QB coach. Bobo turned the ball over too much in 2009, Mark Richt can’t afford to have that happen in 2010.

Hopefully, soneone at AJC can ask Mark Richt about this.

Vick=Dog killing Thug

January 16th, 2010
3:51 pm

Any news on how the recruits are taking this news? I have to assume positive?

JESUP

January 16th, 2010
3:53 pm

I agree Bobo with a week to prepare for Florida i really expected to see a little more mis-direction plays or even a trick play, but that all is on Mark Richt that is his area of expertise….the buck stops with him. I am a big fan of I form smashmouth playaction….but Georgia needs to be alot more multiple than that. Georgia has to be the easiest team for other D cordinators to prepare for.

JESUP

January 16th, 2010
4:12 pm

TECH WINS….

Mike Bobo is Clueless

January 16th, 2010
4:24 pm

Bobo ranked worse than the defense nationally, so I was little surprised Martinez got canned, and Bobo got a pass. Not sure why, it was a hideous 2009 offensively. Bobo did get better as the year went on, FINALLY starting to run the ball and won like 4 out of the last 5 games. So there was improvement. But I still don’t think Bobo has a clue what factors cause success or failure for Richt. Bobo is really stubborn, doesn’t flexibility and change much, not very adaptable.

4 Examples:
1- Richt almost never loses when Richt gets a 100 yard rusher, but Bobo almost never has a 100 yard rusher.
2- Bobo doesn’t put playmakers on the field, even when they average 1 yard a carry vs. 12 yards a carry. Bobo doesn’t coach by merit, it’s by favoritism.
3- Bobo also has a tendency to call more passing plays than running plays when the best in the SEC (Flo/Bama) call 65% run.
4- Bobo overvalues the wrong skills-for example, for a RB, Bobo thinks passblocking skills are more important than yards per carry or fumbles.

Richt didn’t want to fire Bobo AND Willie in the same year, too much change, so we’ll probably have to wait until 2010 and another 20 offensive to’s/giveaways for Bobo to be fired.

Mike Bobo is clueless.

Saint Simons is an AT AT Driver

January 16th, 2010
4:28 pm

“I would wear a tie at work, but I’m an IT guy.”

G Dawg

January 16th, 2010
4:33 pm

I would not put too much stock into Kirby Smart turning UGA down because of its conditioning program. Alabama had to limit the amount of snaps Terrance Cody got because he runs down towards the end of the game. If Bama’s conditioning program was all of that, shouldn’t Cody’s big fat butt have been in shape?

Dawg4Life

January 16th, 2010
5:02 pm

GATA “Glory and Tradition Always”.

JESUP

January 16th, 2010
5:11 pm

Georgias future DT ….I hope Grantham is on the Phone with him…http://rivals.yahoo.com/michiganstate/football/recruiting/player-Jeffrey-Whitaker-72796

Bobbi Dud

January 16th, 2010
5:16 pm

How did Tech get Nesbitt in school anyway? Greene County has the worst school system in the state of Georgia! Would love to see his SAT score! What’s his major? Dairy Queen Management or pulpwood hauling!

jellybeandawg

January 16th, 2010
5:19 pm

The philosophy of players continuing to start long after it is obvious that some backups are better comes from Mark “FAKE JUICE” Richt himself. You see the same thing happen on offense and defense and in regards to coaches. It has been painfully obvious to every dawg fan for years now that there has been major problems with WM & the strength and conditioning program, however Fake Juice Richt elected to put his personal friendships with these coaches ahead of the program & University.

jesse james

January 16th, 2010
5:19 pm

I hope the under official watches the tape of the foul he didn’t call. Officiating in the SEC is terrible. The so called favorites always get the calls. Stansbury better buy him dinner tonight. Just one call, but I watched Kentucky get away with murder last Saturday. The Dawgs had too many turnovers down the stretch but it is tough to take when we have touch fouls on the Miss St. end and we get raped and nothing called. Slive better get a look at some of these fools. Just like the idiot that called the celebration on D.J. Green in the LSU game.

jesse james

January 16th, 2010
5:21 pm

Oh by the way good win by Tech today. Tough place to win.

william cranman

January 16th, 2010
5:23 pm

That was definitely a foul but that was an epic collapse by UGA. Once again the IQ of the team is the reason we lost that game.

jellybeandawg

January 16th, 2010
5:23 pm

GATA is and has been used by just about every Pee wee, Middle/High school, and collegiate program around the country!! Its not some secret saying that was just invented or used excursively at UGA.

jesse james

January 16th, 2010
5:25 pm

Coach Erk Russell was the first to use GATA. Check your history.

jellybeandawg

January 16th, 2010
5:37 pm

haha! Okay jesse james maybe it was invented at UGA but its far from exclusive. I remember first saying it playing peewee ball in 1978 and have heard players & coaches say it at various athletic programs around the country. I have even heard soccer coaches use it.

jesse james

January 16th, 2010
5:46 pm

jellybeandawg – I agree alot of people use it, but Coach Russell started it when he became DC at UGA. He was a great motivator and that was just one of his many ideas.

coachdawg 2000

January 16th, 2010
5:50 pm

Question: How do you make georgia tech cookies?
Answer:Put ‘em in a bowl and beat’em for 3 hours!

About Bobo

January 16th, 2010
5:53 pm

Ok. Y’all keep talking about Bobo. Yes, he has some questionable calls sometimes, but have you looked at the points we have put up. Do y’all remember Stafford/Moreno, and even Cox and them put up a lot. Yes, turnovers are a problem, but the correct guy got fired. Bobo’s offense have been scoring just fine. Also, we did quite a few more trick plays this year that actually worked i.e. Branden Smith. The only thing that worries me is that he will not properly use Aaron Murray. Besides that, Bobo has secured his job for at least another year. However, I would be ok with Richt taking back over. I mean he is an offensive genius.

jesse james

January 16th, 2010
6:00 pm

coachdawg 2000- and it doesn’t matter what kind of bowl you use, Orange, Chick-fil-a, or Humanitarian.

3 - 4 Question

January 16th, 2010
6:02 pm

Can somebody identify some of the college teams (preferrably SEC, not ACC “All Crap Conference”) which run the 3 – 4 defense?

JESUP

January 16th, 2010
6:07 pm

Alabama…….National Champs. run the 3-4 good nuff??

SuperB

January 16th, 2010
6:30 pm

If Mark Richt had no input into the defense– what the Hell is Georgia paying him so much money to do? Either he coaches or he doesn’t.

Caleb King

January 16th, 2010
6:39 pm

Man I can’t wait to run all over Tech again!!! I don’t care who you get at d coord. Weak is weak punks

Realist

January 16th, 2010
7:07 pm

The knucklehead talking about Josh Nesbitt running all over UGA’s defense next year.

You are more delusional than I thought. His supporting cast left for the NFL en mass. And besides, he couldn’t run on Iowa.

So when Tech whens a bowl game, only then when your comments mean anything.

Bill King

January 16th, 2010
7:10 pm

3-4 Question:

Alabama.

Mike Bobo is Clueless

January 16th, 2010
7:18 pm

Ok, let’s say you’re the OC. When evaluating a QB, which skill is more important, yards per game (passing skills) or INT’s per game (ball protection/decision making/reading defenses)?

If you’re Mike Bobo, you’d say ‘yard per game’. If you’re Bama, you’d say INT’s.

Mike Bobo is clueless because he measures and empohasizes the wrong stuff.

NCDAWG

January 16th, 2010
7:20 pm

Not sure if UGA has hire Scott Lakatos is the new db coach, if they have that is fine…if not they should really look at Charlton Warren…..Also Richt and Grantham get Travis Jones!

Mike Bobo is Clueless

January 16th, 2010
7:25 pm

Georgia’s Offense in 2009:

Giveaways per game?
#99 out of 120 teams.

Time of Possession Offense?
#70 out of 120 teams

# of running plays per game?
#70 out of 120 teams

Scoring offense points per game?
#6 in SEC

Mike Bobo is clueless.

Dawg Fan

January 16th, 2010
7:28 pm

Everyone should go to georgiadogs.com and listen to the press conference from Friday afternoon. In a matter of minutes, it’s apparent, Willie Martinez isn’t in Grantham’s league. Grantham understands what CMR is looking for, the expectation of the fan base, and really sounds like he knows how to match-up personnel so the D has the advantage. One piece of the puzzle left, filling the two remaining D coaching positions. By mid-season 2010, if not sooner, we should be miles ahead of Willie’s best days at UGA. Great pick CMR.

Mike Bobo is Clueless

January 16th, 2010
7:28 pm

Georgia’s Offense in 2009.

Rushing Yards per Game?
#8 in SEC

The Watergirl

January 16th, 2010
7:29 pm

Bill,

I dont know about you but TG getting 750K yr, does this mean Bobo will be looking for a pay raise from 350K. Bobo hasn’t done enough to justify a large raise and also there are alot of insiders who suggest our offense is handcuffed by Richt over-ruling Bobo.

Whats your thoughts?

Dawg Tired

January 16th, 2010
7:32 pm

Bill – while I firmly believe a 3-4 is the way to go in this day of speed,speed, and more speed, you are right on in being excited about Coach Grantham emphasizing an aggressive defense. It does not matter what the scheme is if you don’t pressure these high-powered offenses. Erk Russell understood you have to attack, attack, and attack back in his day of six man fronts against many teams. Scheme is not nearly an important as aggression when it comes to playing defense. Why Willie couldn’t understand that is beyond my comprehension. Of course, it is also puzzling why our head coach didn’t step in ad say to Willie, “Let’s Get After Their Asses!” After all, isn’t that our mantra? Mantra is meaningless unless implemented.

NCDAWG

January 16th, 2010
7:42 pm

Travis Jones…Travis Jones, get him …………

Win 2 out 3 Phases: Off, Def, & Sp. Teams

January 16th, 2010
7:47 pm

Georgia prove din the Bowl game that you can win as long as you win 2 out of 3 phases of the game: offesne, defense & special teams. With Granthan getting the defense under control, we only have to have one other unit play well to win, special teams or offense. Against Texas A & M, special teams and defense stepped up. So, even if Bobo struggles, Georgia can still compete for the SEC title.

SMALL JOHNSON

January 16th, 2010
7:48 pm

ATTENTION NERD TERDS

COACH SMALL JOHNSON IS ABOUT TO FIND OUT WHAT CHAN GAILEY DID WHEN HE FACED A D COORDINATOR THAT BELIEVED IN AGGRESSIVE FOOTBALL.

LOOK FORWARD TO YOUR NEXT VICTORY OH, IN ABOUT 30 YRS

30-24 BLAH HA HA HA HA HA HA HA

YOU CANT EVEN BEAT US IN BASKETBALL BLAH HA HA HA HA HAHA

Strength & Conditioning Strong

January 16th, 2010
7:54 pm

Georgia’s strength and conditioning program is strong.

Mark Richt has won the 4th quarter 2001-2008. 2009 was the 1st time Richt did not win the 4th quarter, and it was only losing by 1 point.