Athens – Hello from Butts-Mehre, where Kirby Smart won’t be coming to work.
All’s quiet here, by the way. No press conference or anything like that is in the works, if you’re wondering.
But on the day after Smart turned down Georgia’s defensive-coordinator job, Mark Richt presumably is about the business of pursuing the next candidate.
And let’s say — in the absence of any new credible rumors at the moment — that’s Todd Grantham, the Dallas Cowboys’ defensive-line coach who is known to have been on Richt’s radar for weeks.
In a search that has been full of complications, Grantham presents another. The Cowboys are in the NFL playoffs, preparing for a game Sunday against Minnesota, and will play a couple more games after that if they keep winning. Would the Cowboys let Grantham talk about and even accept (although obviously not begin) another job during the playoffs, risking potential distraction? How would a further delay affect UGA’s recruiting, especially with the final sprint to national signing day about to commence? And would the recent success of the Cowboys’ defense put Grantham in bigger demand among NFL teams?
But all indications today are that Grantham is the next target in Georgia’s six-week-old search.
Grantham coached at Virginia Tech (under Frank Beamer and Bud Foster) and Michigan State (under Nick Saban) before a series of four NFL coaching gigs. His only experience as a coordinator was with the Cleveland Browns.
It is a crucial hire for Georgia’s football program, and Richt has reiterated his recognition of that by aiming high in his targets. Foster, John Chavis and certainly Smart were already in good, winning situations at schools that, not surprisingly, proved willing and able to compete aggressively with anything Georgia could offer financially.
Foster had 15 years invested at Virginia Tech, and Chavis, although in only his first year at LSU, does not have a history of job-hopping. And while Smart was tempted by the prospect of returning to his alma mater, the fact is he is on track to be a head coach somewhere in a year or two anyway.
So while we wait for the next chapter — let’s call it Chapter 5 after the Foster, Vic Koenning, Chavis and Smart chapters -=- to unfold in this saga, how do you see the story ending? With Todd Grantham? Or who?