Todd Grantham: ‘I understand who UGA fans want to beat’

Todd Grantham briefs the media, admits meeting Jessica Simpson. (Photo by M. Bradley)

Todd Grantham briefs the media, admits meeting Jessica Simpson. (Photo by M. Bradley)

Athens – Let’s stipulate that one or two folks on this planet care deeply about how the Dallas Cowboys fare on given autumn Sundays. But even at the highest level of pro football, there’s a difference in passion between that found in the college game, and this was reflected on, of all places, AJC.com.

A guy (blush) asked readers to submit questions for Todd Grantham. Within 12 hours came more than 350 suggestions. Yes, some were impertinent, but the majority were detailed and incisive, and that says all you need to know about the interest/scrutiny Georgia’s new defensive coordinator will encounter.

And Grantham, to his credit, welcomes it. (At least he did Friday, though it must be noted his first in-person media briefing came well before a Grantham-coached Georgia defense has lost a game.) “That’s the reason I wanted to take this job,” he said. “I understand the passion. I understand who Georgia fans want to beat and where they want to be. And I feel like we can achieve that.”

Grantham has spent the past decade working in the NFL. Not to go all Charlie Weis on you, but it’s clear Georgia’s new DC believes his new team will have a schematic advantage because of his background. Here, responding to a question submitted by Luke, was Grantham’s response about the ongoing quest of pro teams to exploit matchups, as opposed simply to playing a basic defense every down:

“The last 11 years I’ve been dealing with matchups, and that’s what you have to do in the NFL. You don’t get guys running free to the quarterback very often; the best you can hope for is getting a one-on-one. We’re going to find ways to make [opponents] in pass protection make blocks, whether it’s a back kept in or an offensive lineman.”

The 3-4 defense remains a relative novelty in collegiate circles, and that’s one reason Grantham considers it well suited to defuse exotic offenses. (See: Florida’s spread or Paul Johnson’s option. This question was offered by Chem.) “I don’t think there’s any question [the 3-4] can be better,” Grantham said. “We don’t have to declare our pass rusher until we see the formation. We can adjust.

“With the 4-3, you know the four guys who stick their hands in the dirt are going to rush. One of the things about the 3-4 is that you know one of those four [linebackers] is going to be coming 95 percent of the time. You just don’t know which one.”

Grantham has already gone recruiting — he passed his NCAA-mandated test, Steve Spurrier should know — but said Georgia isn’t suddenly in the market for every Grady Jackson lookalike of tender years. (This question was submitted by doodoo bailey and Suwaneedawg.)

“There are two types of 3-4,” Grantham said. “There’s the New England type, where you’ve got a big massive guy up front. We’re going to be a 1-gap team. In Dallas we had Jay Ratliff [a stripling at 303 pounds] make the Pro Bowl. We’ll have a standard [for nose tackles] as we go forward, but we also have to have position flexibility.”

Todd Grantham, you should know, is an impressive guy. He says much of what you’d expect — “We want to be physical and aggressive and relentless … We want the other team, when they get done playing you, not to want to play you again” — but says it in a way that makes you believe he can deliver. He made it known he expects UGA fans to deliver, too.

“I’ve heard [Georgia fans] bark when [a defender] makes a play,” he said, smiling. “Is that true? That’s my question to them.”

One thing more: The guy who asked readers to submit questions posed one of his own, this on a matter of global importance. While with the Cowboys, did Grantham meet Jessica Simpson?

“I did,” he said. Then, kidding, he pointed to reporters’ tape recorders on the table. “Turn those off.” Then this: “I can tell this little story. I was sitting in my office one Tuesday watching film [here he mimicked a guy reared back in a chair with a remote in his hand], and Tony [Romo, Simpson's former flame] walked by. He said, ‘Hi, Todd.’ Then someone else said, ‘Hi, Todd.’

“I’m like this. [Mimicking craning his neck around a corner.] It was Jess. Nice girl. Nice girl.”

432 comments Add your comment

BigDawg

January 22nd, 2010
12:38 pm

GATA, Go Dawgs!

CoopDawg

January 22nd, 2010
12:39 pm

First?
I’m excited ’bout this guy. I think we’ll see the fruits of his labor this year, but 2011 should be awesome. Will be interesting seeing both Georgia schools running the 3-4.
Who does this help most?

Mark Bradley

January 22nd, 2010
12:40 pm

Kudos to you, BigDawg.

ed

January 22nd, 2010
12:40 pm

This guy will be a great addition to the staff. I can see our defense improving by leaps and bounds next year. I believe that in the long run we will be better off than if we had Smart.

BigDawg

January 22nd, 2010
12:40 pm

I only care if the Dawgs are FIRST!

BigDawg

January 22nd, 2010
12:41 pm

Smart wouldn’t stay, he’ll be a HC in a couple of years! Great hire!!

Urban Meyer

January 22nd, 2010
12:45 pm

I own UGA! Hey Russ, the Temporary Mascot – you might want to look for a safer line of work. We’ll be looking for the mascot after we shred UGA’s weak defense again this year.

SimpleDawg

January 22nd, 2010
12:45 pm

A man who appreciates pressure defense and a fine woman is definitely well grounded in reality. Glad he’s here.

Eat and Tweet

January 22nd, 2010
12:46 pm

I am interested if Grantham will have any input on the conditioning and also stressing proper diet for his players ?

James Stockdale

January 22nd, 2010
12:47 pm

Who am I? Why am I here?

SimpleDawg

January 22nd, 2010
12:49 pm

…..and another thing, Jessica may not be the perfect woman, but she does have a lot of assets and redeeming qualities…..

…..unlike her ex-boyfriend, who always seems to choke on the big one.

Ryan

January 22nd, 2010
12:50 pm

Like Georgia State’s novelty football t-shirts for the last several years…Grantham is “Still Undefeated”.

UGA 2010

January 22nd, 2010
12:50 pm

thanks for the update Mark, i wish there were alot more news out there these days. I love to sit back and read the AJC as much as possible. Seems Jeff,Bill,Tony feel they need to put out ONE story a day and call it quits. Thanks again Mark for making my day a lil bit better….

Hunker Down

January 22nd, 2010
12:50 pm

Tell CTG
I know who I want to beat. ALL OF THEM!!!!

gdawginkalamazoo

January 22nd, 2010
12:52 pm

Mark, where can I get a chair like Grantham has? That would look sweet in my office. Ah nevermind it may confuse the Packer fans up here.

Nice interview. Looks like the D will have some fire this year. Actually a plan to ATTACK? How long has it been. We might actually be able to use the GATA phrase again. Hopefully he will be able to recruit the players to that 3-4 D in a quick fashion. I still believe that we have unbelievable talent on defense that can be utilized more effecient.

merbertmoover

January 22nd, 2010
12:52 pm

yeah grantham, lets GATA man, like butter on a pop tart baby, you know what im sayin?

Go Pack Go

January 22nd, 2010
12:53 pm

Mark, you’ve never been to Lambeau Field have you?

gdawginkalamazoo

January 22nd, 2010
12:53 pm

Congrats to the Lady Dawgs and Andy Landers on that monster win last night! Well done keep it.

Fools Gold

January 22nd, 2010
12:55 pm

Mr. Grantham ….. if you can deliver I will promise you I will bark loudly !

JTUGA

January 22nd, 2010
12:57 pm

I’m glad we finally have a coach that looks and acts the part. He looks like he will not take any crap from anyone and if you cross him he will Get after your you know what. I definately see him getting into the defensive players faces.

Homer

January 22nd, 2010
12:58 pm

Mmmmmm, buttery pop tarts.

Mike each

January 22nd, 2010
12:59 pm

Enter your comments here

Mike each

January 22nd, 2010
12:59 pm

Enter your comments here

Mike Leach

January 22nd, 2010
1:02 pm

hey Todd….. just dont put any spoiled brats in a dark shed if they cause you trouble. you know you have to take a lot of crap these days especially with UGA players. Just check the Athens police blotter so you wont lose your job if come down on a kid too hard.

JacketsWarlock

January 22nd, 2010
1:03 pm

Since this is an UGA blog today, I’ll try to behave today unlike most.
I like the guy and what he pointed out about the 3-4 having more deception to it.
His joke to turn out the mike like he had a night with Jessica was funny too.
Good guy and a good hire.

Will

January 22nd, 2010
1:04 pm

As UGA fans I am excited! But I think we will see the most improvement in 2011. I just hope the fans don’t go crazy when we struggle at times next season. There is a tremendous learning curve and the NCAA only allows 20 hrs of practice per week. Everyone out there needs to have a tad bit of patience regarding 2010.

Good Riddance

January 22nd, 2010
1:05 pm

So glad to see UGA ditch the wait and see defense ! GATA GATA GATA !!!

F-105 Thunderchief

January 22nd, 2010
1:08 pm

I’ve never met Jessica Simpson, but I do know she is one nice girl … to look at, at the very least.

Grantham’s resume seems solid. He looks and sounds like a coach. Hope he has the defense kicking butt every week. If he can become to Richt what Erk was to Dooley, they can do great things.

Observation1002

January 22nd, 2010
1:08 pm

Joke to turn off the mike like he had a night with Jessica to talk about was pretty good.

GeoffDawg

January 22nd, 2010
1:12 pm

I think his comments regarding the nose tackle in the 3-4 answers a lot of questions about who we’ll be recruiting and who in our current roster can play the spot. It’s good to know that we have more flexibility in personnel than originally believed.

Dawglasville

January 22nd, 2010
1:12 pm

I like the 3-4. Give Nesbitt something to read other than the defensive end and Playgirl Magazine.

Chris

January 22nd, 2010
1:13 pm

You know there was so much made on local sports talk of Richt not getting the first three or four guys, particularly Smart. The implication being that it wasn’t such a great job. Was Saban Alabama’s first choice? Was Wyatt Earpp Dodge city’s first choice? Would Jessica Simpson be your first choice (who would be your first choice in fantasy land anyhow)?
Point is the man sounds serious, like bottom line serious knows what it’s going to take to be effective. He’s most likely sure to be here at least three years. It’s all talk at this point but he’s an awfully good talker.
Thanks for the insight Mark, like UGA 2010 said, I look forward to your column(s) everyday.

Ocala's new rehab facility

January 22nd, 2010
1:15 pm

Ocala has a fabulous new rehab facility and they have huge TV screens and CUM is happy to know that, as he will view all of the Gator’s games from the tv/card room. It also has a nice fireplace, where he in December will view the Independence Bowl featuring his Gators vs 6-6 Tech.

Urban will announce just as Spring practive is getting underway, that he is um, ah, going for a looooooooooooooooooooong rest in Ocala.

Mass Exodus

January 22nd, 2010
1:17 pm

This guy Grantham didnt pose for cosmo a few years ago did he ?

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Dawglasville

January 22nd, 2010
1:19 pm

Urban’s heart isn’t tough enough to handle all the fried seafood buffets in Florida. What do you think will happen if Georgia gets the upper hand?

Mr. Gator

January 22nd, 2010
1:19 pm

GATA, when has that ever happened. LOL, the stupiest thing I continuously have to read.

Go DOGS

January 22nd, 2010
1:22 pm

Looks like he was making little farting sounds with the way his hands are cupped in the picture? Was he?

Is saban the ONLY GREAT NCAA coach??

January 22nd, 2010
1:23 pm

In any business, if you all have ever hired a candidate for a job, you put together a list of them. As the hirer, you know that you will hire only ONE candidate for that ONE JOB. With this is mind, you gather info on several candidates ( usually 4 or 5 ) and then you may in fact turn that over to a professional Search firm. Happens all the time. This is as common as water in the oceans.

Take Bama, if Saban left, are they out of the football business? Nope, they will go get a list and move forward. Same is true with assistants. To say otherwise illustrates the immaturity and frankly, IGNORANCE of most of the blogfgers on this site. Take Obama, he was initially one name on a complete list of presidential candidates. The electorate HIRED HIM and they will soon FIRE HIM. See??

You have to have several names for one position. To do otherwise is foolish and leads to failure, like Obama is now.

Burdell

January 22nd, 2010
1:26 pm

Dawglasville– Shoudn’t you be more worried about your own conference, much less division, than a lowly OOC game?? Nesbitt should be the least of your worries…

Barking Dawg

January 22nd, 2010
1:28 pm

Mr. Grantham,
If you can return our defense to an attacking, physical,bone crushing, nerd stomping, SEC elite level program, then i will not only be barking after a big defensive play, i will howl at the moon.

Georgia is a joke

January 22nd, 2010
1:31 pm

Georgia sucks! It is a dirty, dirty place with dirty, dirty people. You will continue to be mediocre because your coach doesn’t have the heart of a champion. He is good but will never be great. You guys follow him so blindly. Good luck never winning a national championship.

Coach Paul Johnson

January 22nd, 2010
1:31 pm

Mark – did you ask Grantham how the 3-4 will respond to chop blocks? It is a critical element of our offense and one of the primary reasons we have achieved such success in bowl games where we average 5 points per game on offense! The Perfect Option is unstoppable!

Dylan

January 22nd, 2010
1:35 pm

I am so excited about Coach Grantham. He sounds like he’s going to take us back to the bone crushing defense we used to have. GO DAWGS!!!! 223 MORE DAYS TILL KICKOFF!!

Dawglasville

January 22nd, 2010
1:37 pm

Burdell- I’m not worried about any of it. Like you, I haven’t won or lost any of these games. I just love taking jabs at those who enjoy taking shots at my University. I just try to do it without mentioning 30-24, We Run This State, fantasy games, Taliban, people getting shot on Techwood, 45,000 seat stadiums, high school offenses, the same old blah, blah, blah. Thank you for your concern.

Barking Dawg

January 22nd, 2010
1:38 pm

Someone blitzing every play? And the offense has to guess who? Sometimes more than one? I see big things from this defense. PS I am not worried about tech’s option. If Willie could figure it out in two tries, than grantham will DOMINATE the nerds. Plus having more lbs was the key to beating florida in 07.

uga_b

January 22nd, 2010
1:38 pm

Mark, did you get any insight on how the complexity of this system compares to the last one? One gap should help simplify; I just know last year we had a lot of people missing their reads and being out of position.

Dawglasville

January 22nd, 2010
1:42 pm

Burdell- I’m sorry. I don’t think Nesbitt actually “reads” Playgirl.

Cowboy Casanova

January 22nd, 2010
1:49 pm

“In geography class on the first day of school our teacher asked us if anyone knew the names of the continents. I was so excited because I knew the answer so I raised my hand, stood up, and said A-E-I-O-U.” – Jessica Simpson

“Is this chicken, what I have, or is this fish? I know it’s tuna, but it says ‘Chicken of the Sea.” – Jessica Simpson

your heart sucks urban meyer

January 22nd, 2010
1:50 pm

i hope that CTG rips urban meyer’s heart out of his chest and stomps on it on the ground. is that too much..? at least tim tebow is gone forever..