Grantham regrets choke sign: ‘Sometimes you get caught up in heat of moment’

(Updated 7:15 p.m.)

ATHENS – Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham, caught on camera making a choking gesture toward Florida’s kicker near the end of last Saturday’s game, expressed regret about the incident Tuesday.

“As a competitor, sometimes you get caught up in the heat of the moment,” Grantham said. “I wish the situation hadn’t happened.

“It was a tough, hard-fought game. They won it, and I’m ready to move forward and finish out the year strong.”

Grantham said he has talked with Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity and coach Mark Richt about the incident, “and we’re ready to move forward.”

Asked if he feels that he owes an apology to the Florida kicker, Chas Henry, Grantham said: “I’ve kind of basically said what I’m going to say.”

Earlier Tuesday, at his weekly news conference, Richt also addressed the Grantham controversy.

“I’m aware of it, and I would just say that emotions run high,” Richt said. “People do things they probably wish they didn’t do. I think that was what was being communicated. I don’t think he’s necessarily proud of it. We’re just going to learn from it and move on.”

A screen shot and video from Florida sports cable network Sun Sports showed Grantham making a choke sign –  grabbing his neck with his right hand several times — before Henry attempted a 37-yard field goal in overtime.

Henry, a Dallas, Ga., native, made the kick to give Florida a 34-31 victory.

In an interview on CBS after the game, Henry said: “Some of [Georgia's] coaches on the sideline were over there giving me a little grief, saying I was going to choke.”

Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray, asked about the controversy Tuesday, said he hadn’t seen the video but had heard about the matter.

Grantham “was probably just like the rest of us, just hoping [Henry] missed the kick,” Murray said. “I don’t think it’s anything too much to get worked up about. It’s not like he charged the field at the kicker and tried to do something to him. . . . I think people are trying to make too big a deal about it.”

McGarity discussed the matter with SEC commissioner Mike Slive, according to UGA spokesman Claude Felton.  “To the best of our knowledge,” Felton said, “the SEC is not pursuing anything on that.”

Durham likely out

Georgia wide receiver Kris Durham likely will be sidelined for Saturday’s game against Idaho State but should be available for the Nov. 13 game at Auburn, Richt said.

Durham suffered a bruised lung as a result of a fierce hit on a second-quarter catch against Florida. He returned to the game in the third quarter.

“I was a little upset because at first [doctors and trainers] told me I wasn’t going to be able to go back in,” Durham said Tuesday. “I mean, I wasn’t hurting. Well, yeah, I was a little sore, but that’s nothing.

“The only thing that really scared them was when I started kind of coughing up a little blood. But I felt fine. I could take deep breaths. They listened to my lungs and to my heart and took some vitals. I felt like I could play, so they allowed me back in. … I was very, very grateful for that because it was my last go-round against the Gators.”

Commings’ misplay

Among the Georgia players second-guessing themselves for misplays against Florida: cornerback Sanders Commings, who attempted to scoop and run with a first-quarter Florida fumble inside the Gators’ 10-yard line.

“I wish I would have just fallen on the ball now,” Commings said Tuesday. “It would have given the offense great field position to score, but I guess all I can do now is learn from it.”

Richt said the rule of thumb is to simply jump on the fumble “if there are bodies around” or to scoop and run with it “if you’re out in space.” He said Georgia twice Saturday tried to scoop-and-run with fumbles that should have been jumped on.

The Gators recovered the fumble that eluded Commings. It proved to be the first play of a 91-yard drive to the game’s first touchdown.

752 comments Add your comment

matt

November 2nd, 2010
1:20 pm

Good answer…move on.

tim

November 2nd, 2010
1:23 pm

he was directing the choke sign to his sorry ass defense who gave up 450 yards to a mediocre UF team

GT Alum

November 2nd, 2010
1:23 pm

Message = My expectations for my coaches’ behavior isn’t any higher than my expectations for my players’ behavior, which are pretty low.

Gator Mike

November 2nd, 2010
1:24 pm

I agree with Coach Richt, and as a Gator, I do not think what Coach Grantham did was a big deal. The game was very emotional with tensions high on both sides during the overtime. Hopefully both the Gators and Dawgs will win the rest of their games to show everyone that both teams are good.
Go Gators!

Beast from the East

November 2nd, 2010
1:24 pm

At least your HC has the intestinal fortitude to admit that was what happened unlike so many of you that were trying to say he was signaling in a play or some other BS.
That being said, no big deal and let’s all put it behind us.

Bulldog Joe

November 2nd, 2010
1:25 pm

Truth be told, I was in the stands making the choke sign too.

Red-N-Black

November 2nd, 2010
1:26 pm

WHO REALLY CARES!!!! I hope he did it, I can’t stand the lizards either. If he wasn’t tryint to disrupt the kicker then the Dawgs don’t need him on the sideline! Thank God he has a competitive spirit and wants to win, if you think otherwise you shouldn’t be watching sports or consider yourself a fan. Art of War – show no mercy to your enemies! I want a leader who is doing everything they can to disrupt the opponent, for the love of all that is Holy stand behind him and get your tail from between your legs.

dawgfan

November 2nd, 2010
1:26 pm

maybe it’s just me…but what’s the big deal? should he have run on the field during the time out and wished him luck?

azdawg

November 2nd, 2010
1:26 pm

How can Richt not fire his DC while dismissing a potentially great QB for pinching some gal on the butt???? Is there a double standard IN THE DISCIPLINE OF players and coaches for bad behavior.

If he did can Grantham we won’t anything and may gain a better dc. Hire Mannie Diaz!!!

NCDAWG

November 2nd, 2010
1:26 pm

so he did it. boring. who cares.

moops

November 2nd, 2010
1:27 pm

Gator Mike – Thanks for the comments. Like most other gators I’ve talked to, they are int he same belief, not a big deal. Schultzy and Co don’t have much else to write about, so they need to come up with the nonsense.

Beast from the East

November 2nd, 2010
1:28 pm

dawgfan,
It’s not that big of a deal. It’s just an embarassing moment that a coach gets caught doing it on television. No harm no foul.

Dale

November 2nd, 2010
1:28 pm

The eye gouge, timeouts after the game is won, and playing Time To Die guy. Take the choke sign and lets call it a wash. No one do any of those things anymore.

jellybeandawg

November 2nd, 2010
1:28 pm

I have no problem with what Grantham did and it doesn’t hurt my feelings one bit…

In fact, makes me happy that we have someone that SHOWS us that they care.

BUZZ

November 2nd, 2010
1:28 pm

Red-N-Black

November 2nd, 2010
1:28 pm

GT Alum – you shouldn’t and you shouldn’t be on Bulldog discussion either. Here’s a novel idea find a GT blog / board, that should occupy your time for A WHILE! That is all keep being irrelevant in the state.

Bruce Mac

November 2nd, 2010
1:30 pm

GTALUM = My expectations for Tech are low and they always deliver. Pitiful, mind your own biz loser.

GaDawg

November 2nd, 2010
1:31 pm

maybe he should have grasped his hands together like he was praying, come on folks this is football. You see coaches trying to wave off kicks all the time, it is a show of emotion. It wasn’t any ill will toward the player he just wanted him to choke an miss it. If anything the kicker should take it as a compliment considering uf’s kicking situation

gdawginkalamazoo

November 2nd, 2010
1:31 pm

Gator Mike & Beast, thanks. I would of thought the same if any UF coach had done it. At least Coach Grantham was showing some emotion other than sitting on the bench down by 30 in the 4th qtr like we have been the past few years. It was a game this year and we were in it with 4 turnovers against a pretty good defense. I hated to lose again but congrats on the win. Your kicker did a great job doing double duty there.

TRU DAWG

November 2nd, 2010
1:31 pm

Thats just they way we doo it in Georgia. I mean, who of us dawgs aint wanted to choke somebody before? If mark richt decides to go to Miami this year, i saw make Grantham the HC. Hunker down dawgs.

Oh, Yeah!

November 2nd, 2010
1:31 pm

“People do things they probably wish they didn’t do. I think that was what was being communicated. I don’t think he’s necessarily proud of it. We’re just going to learn from it and move on.”

I’m going to remember that one! I can use that line in a LOT of situations!!

Jeff

November 2nd, 2010
1:31 pm

The choke sign should have been directed at Mike Bobo. His play calling while pinned down at our goal line late in the game was at best awful. To me, that it crucial that we get a first down there.

BMC Dawg

November 2nd, 2010
1:32 pm

Is this really news-worthy? C’mon….

Sleep Number Zero

November 2nd, 2010
1:32 pm

Grantham should have been fired immediately. We knew Richt couldn’t control his players, now he can’t even control his coaches.

What a sorry state of affairs in Athens.

Real NC Dawg

November 2nd, 2010
1:32 pm

Really who cares. Once again the media making a mountain out of an ant hill. FIDO

German Shepherd Dawg

November 2nd, 2010
1:33 pm

Gator Mike,

Thanks for giving another sign of the Apocalypse! A reasonable reaction from a Gator fan!

Seriously, good luck the rest of the season. Y’all deserved to win this one, but it was a fun game to watch…until we lost.

Go Dawgs! Recruit a big time running back and more pass rush! Woof woof!

chem

November 2nd, 2010
1:33 pm

This is an entirely media generated controversy. No one is actually offended by this. The guys writing about this are dredging the bottom of pond in terms of material, and it should be embarrassing to stoop so low.

jumbeauxtiger

November 2nd, 2010
1:33 pm

Grantham shouldn’t have done it but these things get attention when you are not doing well. I agree it shouldn’t be first page news.

Nice Priorities azdawg...

November 2nd, 2010
1:34 pm

You just equated sexually harassing a woman to essentially booiong a kicker. While the choke sign is in my opinion a little over the line for a coach, it’s hardly even in the same ball park as what Mettenberger did (it is a crime, actually). Let me guess, the same thing happened to you and “her mouth said no but her eyes said yes.” Perhaps you should move on to a Pro-Rothlesberger blog entry now.

RM Gator

November 2nd, 2010
1:34 pm

I was in the stadium for the game, and with all the tension in the fourth quarter and the OT, I’m glad there wasn’t a camera on me. He got carried away. Not something that he’ll want to make a habit of doing, but once is no big deal.

GaDawg

November 2nd, 2010
1:35 pm

It wasn’t like he told his fan base to punch’em in the face, now nobody with class would ever do that RIGHT BUGS!

MURPHY

November 2nd, 2010
1:35 pm

Lack of class shown by Grantham. Another embarrassing moment for the University on the football program’s behalf. This crap must end! McGarity needs to reprimand him.

Nellie Bly

November 2nd, 2010
1:36 pm

I’ve never understood how anyone – even an alumnus – could support and take pride in UGA’s football team. When you look at their history for the past forty years, how can anyone ignore Jan Kemp and the “remedial studies” scam, the Jim Harrick fiasco, the DUIs in the athletic office, the DUIs and other arrests of players, the #1 party school tag (i.e., the most drunk students), the suspensions and outright dismissals, the Fulmer Cup, Grantham’s obscenities, and on and on?

As disgraceful and humiliating as it is, I don’t see many alums and fans demanding an end to this sordid activity. It sets UGA apart as the kind of school most people abhor, and it’s become an embarrassment to the whole state of Georgia.

Will it never end? Apparently not while Mark Richt is at UGA. Richt is perhaps the biggest hypocrite in the United States. But even with all the cheating and lawlessness that he ignores, he still can’t win the SEC.

So you’re paying him to be BCS champions, but he can’t even win his SEC division. So why do you pay him millions of dollars a year?

ChillyMutt

November 2nd, 2010
1:36 pm

Choke sign is a non-story. Giving up 450 yards on defense, not THAT is a story.

BUZZ

November 2nd, 2010
1:36 pm

Then have all the f in Bull dyke fans to stay off our blogs then B*tches!!!! What a classless act by a rookie coach!!!

calvin

November 2nd, 2010
1:36 pm

It shouldn’t even have been reported. If that’s
all the media have to do, they aren’t very useful.
(And I’m not a Georgia fan.)

Not a Gator or Bulldog

November 2nd, 2010
1:37 pm

It’s a coach’s responsibilty to coach his players, not gesture to or communicate with any members of the opposing team.

I think it’s interesting that not only does the UGA football program have more than 10 players arrested this year, but the program apparently can’t keep it’s coaches focused on COACHING either.

Maybe the coaches need to learn to “Finish the drill” too!

75-76 DAWG

November 2nd, 2010
1:37 pm

This is crazy to make anything of this. The kicker was a 21 year old college player . This isn’t PEE WEE football. This is a ruff sport and the kicker better have a stronger emotional constitution than letting the other coach rattle him in any way or he needs to find a whimp, p#### sport that he can handle.
I will admit that it was the classiest move on Grantham’s part but it’s no big deal and doesn’t deserve any press time. As I have stated before, Myers calling timeout last year at the end of the game was a million times worst .

BG

November 2nd, 2010
1:38 pm

Richt is 8 out of 9 against Tech!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

NO DEAL

November 2nd, 2010
1:38 pm

This would not be such a big deal if the media would not try to blow stuff up! Get a grip…no big deal here, move on!

BUZZ

November 2nd, 2010
1:38 pm

Punch’em in the face was said in jest and in fun… Grantham’s acted indeed wasn’t

GSU Eagle 91

November 2nd, 2010
1:38 pm

Has it been proven that Coach Grantham was doing this on that actual play? or that he was trying to disrupt the kicker?
I really have no problem with this……
It was a great game, and both teams played hard….That’s a very young Gator team, BTW…Maybe the youngest in the FBS division……

St. Richt

November 2nd, 2010
1:39 pm

Classless move from Grantham. And very weak reaction from Richt, not at all unexpected since he has no stones.

Double Standard

November 2nd, 2010
1:40 pm

For most of you who are saying that this is no “big deal”, my guess is that if the shoe were on the other foot and a Florida (or SC or GT or Vandy) coach had made the same gesture to a Georgia player the outcry would be fast and furious and no one would be chiding the reporters for making much ado about nothing. Such hypocrites!

St. Richt

November 2nd, 2010
1:42 pm

By the way, Richt can’t get too upset about it since he heard it all on the sideline while it was happening. If it upset him in any way, he would have called Grantham out during the game. But he has proven time and time again that he is incapable of calling people out. Not exactly a proud Christian coaching moment for Marky Mark while F bombs were flying in his ear and on his sideline.

gdawginkalamazoo

November 2nd, 2010
1:42 pm

What we learned was that if you are going to make a choke sign at the kicker use two hands. Obviously one hand does not work.

MTN. DAWG

November 2nd, 2010
1:42 pm

IF I HAD BEEN THERE I WOULD HAVE DONE THE SAME THING, AS A MATTER OF FACT, I WAS DOING IT EVERY TIME THE GATORS HAD THE BALL. DON`T FORGET DAWG FANS, THE EYE GOUGING LAST YEAR AND THE YEAR THAT FLA. CALLED TIME OUT WHEN THERE WAS ONLY A FEW SECONDS LEFT IN THE GAME. AS FOR THE TECH PEOPLE, JUST YOU WAIT, WE WILL DO MORE THAN GOUGE YOUR EYES OUT. WE ARE GOING TO TAKE YOU TO THE WOOD SHED WITH A GOOD OLD FASHION WHOOPING. MORE POWER TO GRATHAM. WE NEED A LOT OF THE COACHES TO SHOW MORE EMOTIONS JUST LIKE HE DID.

Beast from the East

November 2nd, 2010
1:42 pm

MURHY,
I’m sure he’ll get spoken to about it but seriously it’s no big deal. The first OT game in series history with so much on the line for both teams trying to turn their season around. VERY emotional game on both sides. Urban has repeatedly called it the biggest win since he’s been at UF. Give the guy a break as his emotions got the best of him.
Good luck, Dawgs!

18 out of 21

November 2nd, 2010
1:42 pm

Great billboard material for the Gators for years to come. Thanks Grantham…….you JERK
and the Ga. fans talk about CLASS…..LOL

Delbert D.

November 2nd, 2010
1:43 pm

According to Chuck and Chernoff this afternoon, the actual video shows Grantham giving the choke sign multiple times. The said the story has gone national.