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

Krogunner

January 17th, 2010
10:38 am

TommyP, Discipline starts with the HEAD COACH!

Skeptical Dawg

January 17th, 2010
10:38 am

Hey tommy p ……when is this late in the season excuse gonna endfor crying out loud. That was was the same battle cry in 2007.

Skeptical Dawg

January 17th, 2010
10:42 am

Our strength and conditioning has a lot to be desired too. But there is one thing the dawgs do well and that is they can hip hop dance on the side lines no matter what Qtr. the dawgs are in.

Ga Tech Old Timer

January 17th, 2010
11:06 am

I think the new DC’s at both Tech and Ga are great hires for each program. The idea is to make each program better than it was before and these hires are both definitely better than the previous DC’s. They both bring a wealth of knowledge and proven ability to the table. Here’s a tip of the hat to them both in hopes each has an outstanding year reconstructing and building defenses that are solid and bring defensive respectability back to both schools.

Art

January 17th, 2010
11:20 am

“Mattew Stafford was horrible”. BuLLdawg the more you post the dumber you get. I think the NFL is a more accurate source on the ability of Matthew Stafford than a legend in his own mind armchair qb like you. And btw, maybe you’re the POS. And a stupid one at that.

DirtyDawg

January 17th, 2010
11:38 am

Hey guys…Matthew Stafford may, indeed, be horrible. But until he has something resembling a team around him, we probably will never know. What we do know is that he’s got about $40 million guaranteed.

DirtyDawg

January 17th, 2010
11:44 am

Hey Bill, OK we got a DC and one day he’ll be through with the playoffs and will get to work. Meanwhile, I think it’s time you got behind Mark Fox and this basketball team. Sure they’ve got their flaws, but they don’t quit and they’ve got enough talent to, so far, beat Tech (God love ‘em for that) and throw scares into three ranked SEC teams. Coach Fox will keep working to get ‘em into position to win, and one evening they’ll ‘learn’ how to close the deal. I love this team already and the sooner the rest of us shelve football for a while and get with these kids, the sooner they’ll know that their efforts are appreciated by more than just one another and their coaching staff.

AltamahaDawg

January 17th, 2010
11:51 am

Where in the hell did you get those red-zone stats? Not even close.

Art

January 17th, 2010
12:12 pm

Realist, Josh Nesbitt couldn’t run on UGA. He had 41 yards rushing in that game. He was even worse in the Orange Bowl.

I wonder when Paul Johnson is going to start pulling his weight. 10 offensive points in 2 bowls is anything but “genius”. Another year end choke at the coke and he might want to consider firing himself.

TXDAWG

January 17th, 2010
12:23 pm

I hope the DAWG fans give Grantham a chance to succeed. He will need our support to rebuild the defense. I believe with the right recriuits and with his knowlege, the DAWG defense will excel. The same goes for the new quarterback.

Art

January 17th, 2010
12:30 pm

BuLLdawg and other assorted idiots, UGA was 6th nationally in red zone %. You’re right Altamaha. Whoever said 111 had to been an ignorant azz techmite.

Art

January 17th, 2010
12:31 pm

BuLLdawg and other assorted idiots, UGA was 6th nationally in red zone efficiency. You’re right Altamaha. Whoever said 111 had to be an ignorant azz techmite.

Old Coach

January 17th, 2010
12:42 pm

bulldawg, you must be the biggest idiot in the whole world. Anyone can get individual stats on players and then post as if you actually have a clue what is going on at UGA or with any other team. Why do morons like you have to moan and biatch about everything instead of letting CMR handle the football program at UGA. I would bet anything in this world that you NEVER played the game past Jr. High and your parents griped and complained to everone around about how their son was being done wrong. Any takers on this????

collegeballfan

January 17th, 2010
12:44 pm

Both the hires for DC at UGA & GT were great hires for the needs of the respective head coaches. Richt needed his defense fixed. I believe he got his man. Johnson at GT needed someone he could turn the defense over to and so he could forget about it. He got his man.

Both new DCs have spring practice, the fall camp and the 1st game to
teach. Both teams need to be taught fundamental defensive football and need to be taught a new scheme. Good luck to both.

Mt Cody

January 17th, 2010
12:56 pm

To the idiot slamming Mt Cody he played at the end of each game…see Block at end of UT game. He is more conditioned than most of the UGA players. He doesnt play on pass plays but is regarding the number 1 DT for stopping the rush. BTW his fat a… can slam a basketball you big LOOOSSSEERRR!!!!!

gtfanfrom1951

January 17th, 2010
1:08 pm

Grantham has been away from college for to long so how is going to get the players to play when he can’t cut them.

Eaaasssy

January 17th, 2010
1:27 pm

Gtfan51, is that English?

Go DOGS

January 17th, 2010
1:43 pm

Yeah! Bobo is REAL solid as an OC, please. Hell! A armchair DC like me knew his next play on almost every down last year. I can guarentee the DC for the opposing team was salivating when they watched film on the UGA O before their game with us.

He, or more like Richt, did impress me in the Tech game, though. Funny how when the game is on the line, Richt kinda takes over the play calling, eh?

Maretta

January 17th, 2010
1:45 pm

Now we need a new head coach (say, June Jones) and a new offensive coordinator; Bobo only has the talent to be quarterback coach.

Skeptical Dawg

January 17th, 2010
2:04 pm

Buck Belue

January 17th, 2010
2:10 pm

You all are making too much of this. We should never have fired Willie Martinez you clowns!

DFWTX Dawg

January 17th, 2010
2:26 pm

The fact UGA’s defense looked much better in the bowl game that in typically looked under Martinez supports the argument that Willie Martinez was completely in over his head and not qualified to lead the defense. Willie Martinez’s stint at UGA also supports the cliche “never mix business with pleasure.” I’m sure turnovers will be a problem for the first half of next season, but the to ratio will certainly improve. I also got completely aggravated with how Willie refused to adjust his schemes or defensive play calling. During the UT game last year I kept screaming “Why aren’t we blitzing a cornerback or outside lb???!!!” It didn’t take Bud Foster long to figure out how to stop a simple rollout.

jasuga

January 17th, 2010
2:34 pm

Looks like Grantham will be on the recruting trail tomorrow.

dvj

January 17th, 2010
3:49 pm

its going to be fun to see dawgs in opponents backfields next year

http://dawgsvsjackets.blogspot.com/

smartdawg

January 17th, 2010
3:55 pm

Well the good news is Grantham will be available sooner rather than later.
The bad news is the Dallas defense got their hats handed to them today.
Perhaps a defensive coach from the Vikings would have been a better choice.
Dallas held to 3 points. Vikings driving again.

jasuga

January 17th, 2010
4:17 pm

Smartdawg, if you watched the game from the begining you would’ve noticed that Dallas’ d-line was getting pressure on Farve. Considering that is the area Grantham coached.

Porty

January 17th, 2010
4:20 pm

Yeah all that pressure prevented him from throwing 4 TD passes……….oh wait.

Skeptical Dawg

January 17th, 2010
4:23 pm

Looks like this Grantham guy could be a bust. Dallas D got pummeled by a 40 year old man today.

Oh Crap!

January 17th, 2010
4:28 pm

Vikes scored 34 even though the Cowboys won time of possission.

oakleafmoose

January 17th, 2010
4:30 pm

Im not believing that Smart turned down the job because of the conditioning program. He could have changed that. Nonetheless, we have Grantham and I do expect more from him next year and I think we will get it. So what we only have 6 returning starters on defense. The depth will have to STEP IT UP! I dont think we will win every game and dont expect too, but I do believe we will win two more games. I am an ‘89 grad who back in the day spent my time in Army ROTC uniform before the home games. I was on the field holding the American flag proudly with Bulldog ROTC leading the color guard during the National Anthem. It was an awesome feeling being out their. I too am a lifelong Dawg fan. Go Dawgs! And good luck Coach Todd Grantham.

jasuga

January 17th, 2010
4:46 pm

Porty you probably have no idea how football is coached or your truly not a UGA fan or wait maybe even both. Grantham was the D-Line coach meaning he can’t go to the linebackers and or the D-Backs and get in their you know what. Honestly the Cowboy’s line was great the whole game. Held AP to 2.4 yds a carry and sacked Farve 3 times.

jasuga

January 17th, 2010
4:47 pm

Whether its Pop Warner or High School, if you turn the ball over more than your opponets your probably going to loose (Romo 2 fumbles and an INT). You can’t give your defense a short field and expect them to stop the offense every time.

Skeptical Dawg

January 17th, 2010
4:53 pm

Jasuga… you are sounding like a Willie homer !!!

gadawgs

January 17th, 2010
4:56 pm

Grantham does not coach the DB’s you moron. If the Cowboys DB coach would have taught them to turn their head and look for the ball it may have been a different story. Also, if you watched the game you will see that Brett was not standing in the pocket all day to throw. He had the ball out by a two count almost all day. There is not enough time to get the QB when you get rid of it that quick. But the Cowboys D Line was in his face all day and Favre made some exceptional throws. The two long td’s to Rice Favre (once again on a two count) threw the ball to a spot before he got hit and Rice made the adjustment and great catches.

smartdawg

January 17th, 2010
5:04 pm

Excuses, excuses. Dallas d-line couldn’t stop a 40 year old geezer. Bottom line is the score.

jasuga

January 17th, 2010
5:06 pm

Oh no not a Willie homer, he should have been fired after the 2008 season. Your the one who is critizing someone who doesn’t even coach the players that were being torched on the defense. You shouldn’t even include Dawg in your name. How about chaning it to something that supports who your a real fan of which is not UGA Athletics or the University.

jasuga

January 17th, 2010
5:07 pm

excuses, excuses Al Groh couldn’t beat Duke…Excuses, Excuses he has been fired from his past two coaching jobs.

jasuga

January 17th, 2010
5:11 pm

Al Groh will feel at home at Tech since he was fired at UVA who is just like Tech 1-8 against their in state rival since 2001.

smartdawg

January 17th, 2010
5:20 pm

Enter your comments here

smartdawg

January 17th, 2010
5:22 pm

More mediocrity ahead, jasuga

jasuga

January 17th, 2010
5:25 pm

Your right more mediocrity for Tech, your completly correct.

smartdawg

January 17th, 2010
5:41 pm

Wash your hands before returning to the fry tank, jasuga

GT3O

January 17th, 2010
5:56 pm

Jasuga….

You are the one to be talking about mediocrity. You’re a fan of a team that just wrapped up a 7-5 season and a bowl in the Independence bowl, oh yeah, and was unranked.

Yet you are saying that GT is mediocre with a top 10 ranking, conference champions, and made it to a BCS bowl.

I don’t get your logic.

Porty

January 17th, 2010
5:56 pm

jasuga, you moron, I refering to the fact that the Dallas d line didn’t put enough pressure on Favre to prevent him from throwing 4 td passes. Please tell me you are not that stupid.

HelluvaEngineer

January 17th, 2010
6:45 pm

I am a lifelong Tech fan, proud grad, and a very talented engineer that is rich beyond any of your imaginations I am uniquely capable of seeing the big picture where others can’t. There is no significance whatsoever to the loss to UGA and Iowa. It means nothing that our overpowering offense has scored 10 points in 2 bowl games. What GT fans have to focus on is the monumental achievement of finishing #13 in the nation. #13 guys. Do you realize how big that is. More enlightening is the fact that after losing 2 out of our last 3 games we STILL finished #13. A lessor team would have dropped to at least #20, which in itself proves that GT is a giant in the minds of those that rank football teams.

THWG

jasuga

January 17th, 2010
7:29 pm

Tech has one good season and goes to a BCS bowl for the first time since they were instituted and your going to dog a UGA program that has owned GT and has been to 3 BCS bowls and not to mention won 2. So should I go off about Tech’s horrible defense this year? Your new D-Cordinator is used to being owned by his in state rival and I gurantee you it will not change.

HelluvaEngineer

January 17th, 2010
7:33 pm

jasuga you are not qualified to argue with anybody associated with the Institute. Tech and it’s fans are superior to all others when it comes to football. WE ARE WINNERS!

THWG

Grantham's Stout

January 17th, 2010
9:11 pm

Grantham coached up 2 D-Lineman to the Pro Bowl in 2009.

#2 defense in scoring for the season.
#4 defense against the rush
#7 defense in sacks

Shut down Adrian Peterson today. Dallas lost due to 3 TO’s by Romo, and bad DB plays against the pass.

UGA is delusional...

January 17th, 2010
9:36 pm

So you get a guy in Grantham who was fired on January 11, 2008 after the 2007 season with the Brown’s defense ranking 25th against the pass, 27th against the run, and 30th in total-yards-against among 32 teams.

He comes into Dallas and the yards per game given up are higher than when he arrives….. If Dallas were not 3rd in OFFENSIVE RUSHING in the NFL, the Defense would be in the bottom quarter of the NFL maybe close to last where it was when he got fired from his last job.

UGA pays him $750k making him the 3rd highest paid DC in the country – WHY? because they could not afford to have a 4th person turn them down.

Tech gets a better DC for less than half the price and it ain’t my opinion, 49 out of 50 states agree the GT made the better hire than UGA.

http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/fp/flashPollResultsState?sportIndex=ncf&pollId=84764

The only state out of 50 that thought UGA made the better hire…. the one that has the most dumb UGA fans…. Georgia.

WatsonOne

January 17th, 2010
10:26 pm

Dawgs are overdue for a real @ss-kicking D. I think it is going to happen. I’m excited!