If Grantham coaches like he talks, Junkyard Dogs era has returned

Dogs defenders will have to earn playing time, Todd Grantham says. (Associated Press)

Dogs defenders will have to earn playing time, Todd Grantham says. (Associated Press)

This time last week, we were examining what little we’d heard so far from new UGA defensive coordinator Todd Grantham and getting excited about his pronouncements that he favored an aggressive, attacking style.

Over the past few days, Grantham has been making the rounds of the sports talk stations and sat down Friday with reporters to elaborate. And he’s still saying what we want to hear. Of course, it’s often a big leap between talking the talk and producing on the field and we’ve yet to see how Georgia’s players will execute what Grantham wants.

But from what I’m reading and hearing, reaction across the Bulldog Nation has been very positive to what he’s saying. Grantham thinks recruiting successfully close to home is the answer to winning the SEC and beating elite teams like Florida. He embraces the passionate, impatient fan base and says he understands who Georgia needs to beat.

And he is stressing to his players that they’re going to have to compete and produce if they want to take the field for the Red and Black.

He said his first message to the team is “we want to be physical, aggressive and relentless in our approach. … To do that, you’ve got to be in great condition and I think you have to have great preparation.”

More importantly, he said, “I think it’s important that you find ways to get your best players on the field. … Ultimately, you have to make plays on defense and to do that you have to have guys that are playmakers. I think you do that by getting your best players on the field.”

And players won’t be on the field just because they’re a senior or have started in the past. Grantham says he’s opening up all the positions and playing time will be earned. “I think competition makes everybody better, and I think you have to work to win a position before you can help us win a game. … The bottom line is you’re going to put the players out there that are going to be the most productive.”

As for which current SEC defense Dog fans can expect Georgia’s D to resemble, Grantham said exactly what I wanted to hear: “Alabama.”

All good stuff. Now we’ve got to see if he coaches as good as he talks.

WILL RICHT EMBRACE SPECIAL TEAMS?

On another note, Grantham also said that while it’s “not etched in stone right now,” the final member of the coaching staff still to be hired likely will join him in coaching linebackers, meaning no full-time special teams coach.

Considering the task ahead in fashioning a new defensive scheme, I can understand that thinking. I assume the special teams coaching will still be split up among various coaches and one of them will be asked to be the special teams coordinator in addition to his regular duties, as has been done in the past.

But what that really means is that if Georgia’s special teams play is going to improve and become more consistent, the onus is going to be on Mark Richt, who to date has never appeared to attach as much significance to that aspect of the game as some other coaches do. If Georgia’s special teams play is going to improve, that means more time spent on it in practice. Upgrading the personnel on the kickoff coverage team. And demanding a higher level of execution.

It’s not enough to have a terrific placekicker and punter if you’re populating your kick coverage team with walk-ons and regularly give up great field position on returns. Or if you consistently fall for fake punts. Or if your return men don’t seem to know when to run it out of the end zone and when to take a knee.

At the schools where special teams are truly special and viewed on an equal footing with the offense and defense when it comes to winning games, that mindset starts at the very top.

Richt needs a come-to-Jesus moment with himself about what he’s going to do to make sure that special teams play becomes a strength for the Dogs across the board.

155 comments Add your comment

Krogunner

January 23rd, 2010
11:12 am

Unfortunately, talk doesn’t translate into wins on the field. Just ask Lane Kiffin…

De' truth

January 23rd, 2010
11:13 am

Bill,

As usual, well put.

1eyedJack

January 23rd, 2010
11:16 am

I agree. Special Teams can win or lose a game quicker than offense or defense.

Krogunner

January 23rd, 2010
11:17 am

The problem is at the top. There is no reason we shouldn’t be up there with Florida and Alabama. Nobody does less with more than Richt. We recruit the same level of talent and the problem is discipline within the program. Just think what the guy at Boise could do with our talent. Anyone watch them play? Now that is a well coached football team.

Dawghater

January 23rd, 2010
11:20 am

Bill,
What in the heck do you expect the guy to say? Wow, that’s you best shot at journalism? Well UGA journalism! They play the game on the field not behind the microphone!

Dawghater

January 23rd, 2010
11:25 am

Hey “Krogunner” you get to the top by beating AL and FL not believing you belong there. Does less with more. Are you freaking kidding me. Now puppy dawg fans are crying about their recruiting classes when you regularly parade your recruiting status every year. Sorry, based on the recruiting rankings, for whatever they are worth, UGA gets the athletes they need. They just don’t beat AL or FL or KY or TN!

Krogunner

January 23rd, 2010
11:30 am

“Less with more” means recruiting is not the issue. We need a Head Coach that teaches players to play with heart and discipline. That is the difference.

Tailback U

January 23rd, 2010
11:36 am

Good comments on the special teams Bill
There is much to be excited about with Grantham I just hope CMR
is focused on the fact that with youth at the QB position special teams
breakdowns would be especially harmful to the teams prospects.
I have a little concern that the linebackers we have are not the
type that excel in blitzing schemes. Is it your take different
on the linebacker situation ?

WHAT THE HELL

January 23rd, 2010
11:36 am

GEORGIA JUST DOESNT GET IT. WE ARE FALLING OF A CLIFF. THIS TEAM IS GOING NOWHERE, HOW LONG BEFORE THE REBUILDING STARTS? THIS WAS A VERY POOR DECISION. ALMOST AS POOR AS THE ONE TO KEEP RICHT.

Diamond Dog

January 23rd, 2010
11:39 am

Imagine how great they would have been if they had been able to hire their 1st, 2nd or 3rd choice to run the defense… Its the same crap every year. We’re going to win the SEC and NC. Top 5 recruiting classes for the past 25 years haven’t even had a sniff of greatness.

Dawghater

January 23rd, 2010
11:39 am

“Krogunner” – UGA won’t get the coach you want. Why, because of folks just like you! You have this over blown image that UGA should be playing for a National Championship every year. Well, the last time that happened was 1980, 30 years ago! UGA fans first need to get a grip on reality. You replaced Stafford with Cox and all your fans were convinced because Cox sat on the bench for 4 years he’d be just fine. And lost Moreno and you’d just replace him. The type of coach you want won’t come to UGA because he knows just 7 to 9 wins isn’t enough to keep a job. Yea, go ahead and fire Richt. You don’t seem to remember the last coaching search. Remember Glen Mason taking the job and then leaving after he’d been in Athens a couple of days!

Dawg 3/20

January 23rd, 2010
11:49 am

Lane Kiffin was a big talker too. The guy is going from having 11 All Americans on Defense to 0, stopping offenses is going to be a little tougher in Athens then it was in Dallas.

RedandBlack

January 23rd, 2010
11:49 am

Granthams’s philosophy will spread throughout the Georgia Bulldog team and not just remain with the defensive team members. The fire is back and it will help to build a formidable Junkyard Dog Team. Go Dogs!!

Dawglover

January 23rd, 2010
11:52 am

Hey Dawghater, why don’t you come out of the closet and tell us who you pull for or maybe you rather just stay in your dark little closet and keep pulling and rubbing yourself.

Your mama wants to know whe your are finished with her Glamour magazine.

((((30-24)))) Still hurts doesn’t it

lastgrad

January 23rd, 2010
11:53 am

Although I know it would never happen, wonder how UGA would stand up to the likes of Miami (OH), Fresno State, Bowling Green, UC Davis, Tulsa, Hawaii, San Jose State, Louisiana Tech, Idaho, Utah State Nevada or New Mexico State if they were blessed with such a schedule? That was a list of Boise State’s 2009 football schedule. We have had glimpses of what it would be like to play Boise State (05) New Mexico State (3 meetings 3 wins) Tulsa (2 meetings 2 wins) and Hawaii (can someone help me with this one time meeting). I do remember back in 1974 when Miami (OH) did put a loss on UGA. We need to fix that problem and fix it now.
Come on folks, keep focused. Georgia needs to first start winning against the likes of FL, AL, TN, LSU, AU, KY ….you get this point. This is our arena. Let’s get behind the Dawgs and be there as we once again take over the SEC. The nation is easy.

All You Can Eat

January 23rd, 2010
12:01 pm

Coach Grantham is more concerned where the all you can eat buffets are then he is about finding players that will fit his style…………….oh yeah their already in the NFL.

UGA 2010

January 23rd, 2010
12:02 pm

I have faith in Grantham. I believe he is passionate about gettn UGA back to the defensive contender we use to be…. Thanks for the article Bill, now hopefully all of you at the AJC can still come up with some good articles throughout the day. I always look forward to them…thanks again

Dawghater

January 23rd, 2010
12:05 pm

Yes I am in the closet, but I’m just reading the articles in Mommy’s “Playgirl” …

Grantham's Stout

January 23rd, 2010
12:06 pm

People need to understand that this guy has a PROVEN SYSTEM for turning around a defense in 1 season. He’s already done it several times.

I like how playing time will be based on merit. It’s flat out dumb to start someone because they had a higher ranking on rivals coming out of High School. Or age, or what year in the program they are. If they perform, play em’. He’s right, a merit based system will cause his guys to compete and perform at the highest level.

Er(a)ror

January 23rd, 2010
12:08 pm

When did the Junkyard Dog Era begin? That “Era” brought no more then 1 Title to Athens in only 1 National Championship appearance. Daddy has been there 4 times since 80′.

Krogunner

January 23rd, 2010
12:08 pm

Let’s see it on the field. Didn’t like how he was crying about Favre laying a late TD pass on them last week. News flash coach: this is the Big Leagues, not Boys Club. It is you and your fellow coaches job to stop the other teams offense. Hope he doesn’t bring this mentality with him to the SEC. Given the chance, Spurrier won’t hesitate to lay a couple late tds on him. Good thing he’s not still at Florida!

augusta dawg

January 23rd, 2010
12:09 pm

Reality is demoting Bobo because he is not a top tier sec coach…..So much has been made about the defense that Bobo’s play-calling has escaped the attention…..His play calling is so predictable….Ask Ala,Fla,Tn,Sc …..A run up the gut 90% on first down…. No play action and passing…..Teams watch film……..Get used to 9-4 seasons and no sec championship much less national….. An OC needs to be multi-dimensional and seasoned…………..THE HEAT WILL BE ON HIM AND CMR THIS SEASON!!!!

J. Jones

January 23rd, 2010
12:13 pm

“People need to understand that this guy has a PROVEN SYSTEM for turning around a defense in 1 season. He’s already done it several times.”

Yes he has, with Proffesional Athletes. Not many 1st rounders on that UGA D. Are there even any 2nd rounders?

I know that you know that I know.

January 23rd, 2010
12:13 pm

Dawghater is not a Techie. He’s a gaytor. And he used to post on another board as “proside” before he was banned for being a complete jerk that everybody hated.

Urban Cryer is in crisis and the “mighty” gaytors have got some pay back coming. Talk about delusional, they lost the guy that they all hail as the greatest college football player of all time and they think they aren’t gonna miss a beat. LOL!!!!

il5

January 23rd, 2010
12:13 pm

Bill-

Good stuff here. Grantham could have said the wrong stuff like “Seniors will get first preference”, or “I’m not talking about Florida” or “I’m not making any promises–you’ll see it on the field”.

Focused on top priorities (recruiting, off-season conditioning, aggressive attitude, merit based system, etc.)

greg

January 23rd, 2010
12:14 pm

way to turn a positive story into a negative, do you like constant turmoil. Enough of your whining already, it’s one thing for outsiders to come on here and stir the pot; you can do better.

bali smith

January 23rd, 2010
12:14 pm

well he can talk the talk, now will see if he can make the dog s defense walk the walk

H

January 23rd, 2010
12:14 pm

augusta dawg, WELL SAID. BOBO MUST GO. WE NEED BETTER PLAYCALLING AND EQUALLY IMPORTANT, A COACH WHO CAN DEVELOP TALENT BETTER THAN BOBO. STAFFORD AND MORENO COULD MAKE ANY COACH LOOK GOOD…NOW WE KNOW JUST HOW BAD BOBO IS AT HIS JOB.

H

January 23rd, 2010
12:16 pm

our D will be better just having had BRYAN EVANS graduate.

BigGAdawg

January 23rd, 2010
12:16 pm

If we have to have an Outside Linebackers coach we should steal Kevin Greene away from the Packers. Can you imagine the intensity level with him and Grantham on the same sideline. That would be entertaining — and maybe a little frightening to opponents.

In a more likely scenario I would rather see a fulltime Special Teams coach.

CDAWG

January 23rd, 2010
12:17 pm

I like Grantham’s passion, what he is saying and what he will be bringing. We are long over due for a foot up the A$$ to get us back on track. If the dawg defense steps up like we think and hope that it does and the rest of the team is lacking, I predict Grantham will be the new HC. G.A.T.A.!

Joe

January 23rd, 2010
12:20 pm

“Urban Cryer is in crisis and the “mighty” gaytors have got some pay back coming.”

You guys have been looking for pay back since 2002 when the Gators ruined your shot at the National Title. It is 2010 now.

Really?

January 23rd, 2010
12:21 pm

Keep thinking that the “Mighty Gators” are in crisis. They have a redshirt junior coming in that NFL scouts are already watching, have talent upon talent, not to mention by far the #1 recruiting class coming in. Keep your middle school “gaytor” (like we’ve never heard that before)references coming and just remember Florida is going no where. Keep hoping though, it’s fun to see the hopes rise and see them crushed along the banks of the St. Johns.

Dawghater

January 23rd, 2010
12:22 pm

Now the puppy dawgs are resorting to poising as my blog name. Expected by a bunch of dawg fans who can’t even sniff and Nat’l Championship or another SEC Championship. And for “dawglover” why does it make any difference who my team is? You need that info so you can start sending insulting emails. I speak the truth dawglover. The reason UGA has so much difficulty getting their 1st, 2nd or 3rd choice for D Coordinator is because these candidates see a leak in the boat and they didn’t want to a ride unless the ship was fixed first!

J Dawg

January 23rd, 2010
12:22 pm

Please, with all the negative comments. Grantham is sayin all the right things, what more can he do right now. Give the guy a chance to coach at least a game. As for all the Richt haters, do you realize how dumb you sound. I mean he only has the 4th highest winning % in the last 9 years of all active coaches, and he’s doing it in the toughest division in the country. I believe the Dawgs are really primed to do really great things in the not so distant future. The SEC east is wide open with the loss Tebow and all the other NFL players the gators lost, the DAWGS will be back on top

Go DAWGS!!!!!

Dawghater

January 23rd, 2010
12:22 pm

Type the UT score Dawglover. Rocky Top

JS

January 23rd, 2010
12:23 pm

If UGA plays like their fans talk, you would be Florida.

Urban Meyer

January 23rd, 2010
12:23 pm

The beatings will continue until morale improves!

ga gator

January 23rd, 2010
12:28 pm

All you have to do to beat UF is to get them out of the players AND coaches heads. I have been to many games since the 60’s in Jax and for about 20 years UGA was in UF;s head and since 90 it has been the reverse. UGA doesnt need better players because many times they had the better team and lost; what the need is a sports psychologist to work on their heads. Spurrier started the stuff in 1990 when he said at a press conference that UF should win when they only have to travel 90 miles to the game and UGA has to fly in.

I know that you know that I know.

January 23rd, 2010
12:28 pm

You gaytors crack me up. The way that yall think you will always be on top is hilarious. I can’t wait to see Alec Ogletree rip John Brantley’s head off. I hope we do another end zone dance since you nancey boys are still crying about the first one. I can’t wait to see that stupid look on urban Cryer’s face again. Assuming of course that he can be back on the sideline this fall. maybe he’ll righ another book and talk about himself in the third person again. We all found out what UF was about with a certain recent arrest. Yall must be proud. See you girls in Jacksonville.

John Brantley

January 23rd, 2010
12:33 pm

Can’t wait to introduce myself on October 30th. Plus remember the names Andre DeBose and Carl Moore. Both were injured last year, are now healthy and will catch a lot of passes in the fall. DeBose has Percy Harvin like speed and moves. The cupboard is far from bare. Can’t wait :) Please consider the black helmets again.

really?

January 23rd, 2010
12:34 pm

I know that you know that I know, Your Mom said to get off the computer now!!! Blogs are for big people not inmature children.

ga gator

January 23rd, 2010
12:36 pm

I know that you know that I know. Not worried about freshmanr Ogletree; both teams will be different next year. UGA will be better on both sides of the ball. We will be better on offense because we will have the best receiver from 08 back that was redshirted and several from the 08 defense back that were redshirted. I think I would rather have the 06 High School QB of the year at QB rather than an unknown. You’re just an ignorant redneck so I won’t insult the rest of the UGA fans by a stupid reply comment.

bwell

January 23rd, 2010
12:39 pm

Dawgoneit Bill you are on it again. Three areas of football, O, D, and Special team. To be a complete champion, you have to employ all the phases, time has caught with CMR, now is the time to hire a full time STeam Coach. If we are to get to the top, I like the coach G, talk of attacking, so much in past was drop off 15 yards to a receiver and blown coverage….”throw it deep Georgia DB’s will watch the ball over their heads and give a up a score”. I can’t wait till Aug.

JC in Powder Springs

January 23rd, 2010
12:39 pm

Grantham is a real shot in the arm to the program, and he arrives at a critical time. It’s easy to see the guy has football passion and knowledge. He should be a catalyst to help the Dawgs recruiting to finish strong. Problems with some parts of the special teams and offensive playcalling remain, but Grantham’s responsibility is D. The Dawgs have come a long way on D with this hire.

I know that you know that I know

January 23rd, 2010
12:41 pm

I am so tired of these mean old gaytors. First they lay the wood on us 17 out of the last 20 games and now they are being mean to me on blogs!

GaGators

January 23rd, 2010
12:42 pm

Murray was ranked higher than Brantley coming out of high school, #1,2 or 3 QB, depending on the grader. Georgia has 10 of 11 starters coming back, Florida lost 6 key starters. We also can run the ball now with King & Ealey, so it should be a rout.

The 3-4 of Bama killed the spread. Grantham will handle the Gators. I predict they won’t score more on Georgia than they did on Bama.

GaGators

January 23rd, 2010
12:44 pm

Georgia has averaged 28-32 points a game on offense from 2007-2009, points have not been the problem. With the Grantham hire, we’ll hold opponents to 11-13 points a game average.

cowboys were #2 in scoring defense in 2009.

JB

January 23rd, 2010
12:49 pm

really?? inmature is not a word big boy!

Georgia Duck

January 23rd, 2010
12:50 pm

Though I am not a Georgia fan, it would be nice to see Georgia return to what it did best. That’s a strong running game with a nasty defense. That has been missing for a while though the running game came alive against Tech and A&M.