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Why Todd Grantham SHOULD excite you

January 9, 2010

I haven’t made many posts at all really about the DC search, because so much is being written about it, frankly I don’t have much to add. It’s not as if I am hearing any rumors that you’re not. But being that Todd Grantham is the latest hot name, albeit not being talked about much by Georgia fans from what I can tell, I actually think I can add something intriguing to the discussion on this. I haven’t seen many bloggers or writers opining on Grantham, so here’s my chance to add something new to the discussion.

The Grantham hire will not excite the Georgia fan base. He’s not Kirby Smart. He’s not a big name in college football. His one stint as a DC (3 years with the Cleveland Browns) wasn’t particularly good, and aside from that, he’s really just been a position coach. No doubt you’ve read a few stories where his name and resume have been brought up, and you’ve seen where he’s worked, but have you taken a closer look and seen WHO he has worked with? Let me break it down for you:

Grantham is a graduate of Virginia Tech (class of  ’88, bachelors in sports management), where he played offensive line for the Hokies. He got his coaching start with the Hokies as well, working as an assistant from 1990-1995, working alongside then-fellow-assistant Bud Foster for head coach Frank Beamer. I don’t need to tell you about the Hokies defensive success.

In 1996, Michigan State coach Nick Saban came calling, and brought Grantham on board as the defensive line coach for the Spartans for 3 years, the last seeing Grantham also serve as assistant head coach. The Spartans defense finished in the top 20 in total D in 96 and 97.

Grantham made the jump to the NFL in 1999 when Jim Mora hired him on as the Colts’ D-line coach. In his two years at Indy, the Colts’ D made a huge turnaround and compiled 56 sacks over the course of two seasons.

Grantham moved on to the Houston Texans after Indy in 2002, when ex-Steelers DC Dom Capers brought him on board as the D-line coach. He got some talent to work with, but 3 of his linemen posted career-high tackles in his first year. In 2002, the Texans posted the 13th best run defense in the league (though the Texans posted a 7-9 record). The year after Grantham left, Houston went 2-14.

Romeo Crennel made Grantham the Cleveland Browns’ defensive coordinator in 2005, and he held the position for 3 years. Initially the Browns defense ranked top 5 in the league against the pass, though the run D struggled. In his last season, there was nothing redeeming about it though, and Grantham was fired after the 2007 season.

The results of his stint as a DC in Cleveland don’t really bother me. Cleveland is Cleveland, in the NFL you’re going to struggle to produce a good defense without good players (as Atlanta Falcons fans who know Brian Van Gorder doesn’t suck are well aware), and Cleveland just hasn’t had many great players in…. well, you get the picture. What interests me more is who the man has worked for. Frank Beamer (along with Bud Foster), Nick Saban, Jim Mora, Dom Capers, Romeo Crennel, and Wade Phillips. Grantham must have picked up at least SOME defensive genius through osmosis alone. And if we throw out what happened in Cleveland, this guy has been successful wherever he’s gone. I know, we can’t throw out what happened in Cleveland, but I would argue that at Georgia, he won’t have the talent disadvantage that he had in Cleveland.

And that brings me to my next point. The real immediate impact that Grantham would bring to Georgia, would be in recruiting. Most coaches tell high school kids that they will prepare them for the NFL. Grantham can tell these kids, “I AM the NFL.” You don’t think Florida was thinking the exact same thing when they hired the Miami Dolphins’ inside linebacker coach as their new DC yesterday? The difference is, Grantham’s NFL resume is more impressive than Edwards’, as is his college resume. The defensive recruits that Grantham will visit will get all starry-eyed when he starts telling them about how nobody knows better than he does what it takes to make it in the NFL, and how he will prepare them better than anyone else will. If we hire Grantham, you can count on Rennie Curran returning, and we’ll keep every single defensive recruit on the board. At least, that’s my take on it.

Now…. watch the Grantham buzz turn out to be much ado about nothing, and UGA announces Kirby Smart as the new DC on Monday.

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. Dunwoody Dawg permalink
    January 9, 2010 8:16 am

    True about Gratham, more than likely sends Garner packing. I’m more interested in who the new DC brings in for assistants. We need secondary and LB coaches, who can coach these kids UP to play and tackle – get back to some fundamental football with junkyard dawg intensity.

  2. Left to Right permalink
    January 9, 2010 1:05 pm

    I understand your hope that Grantham has learned something through osmosis, but as you concede, there is absolutely no evidence of that. As for recruiting, Van Gorder wasn’t much of recruiter but he was able to take players and make them great. Great coaching attracts great recruits (and wins games). If the best that can be said of our next DC is that he SHOULD be able to recruit well, then Richt has made a terrible mistake.

    • georgiadawg85 permalink*
      January 9, 2010 1:47 pm

      That’s a worthy concern, left to right, but do you think that all the coaches he’s worked for would have hired him and kept him on their staffs if he didn’t know how to coach players up? He’s gotten great results out of the D-lines he’s coached. I don’t think coaching players will be a problem. I think the question is; how successful can he be drawing up game plans and schemes, and then calling the right plays?

  3. adamrush permalink
    January 9, 2010 5:42 pm

    ….let me say this…and this is in my family circle. I go to church with CMR….and he is a great man with a tough hire on this decision….and that’s why it has to be tough for him. I see him every Sunday….and any other time he’s always upbeat and confident. This time around…I believe he knows this will be the biggest career decision that he has ever made. It needs to be a good one.

    My brother in law is good friends with Dax Langley who played with Kirby Smart on the teams from 96-99. Dax told my bro in law…it is almost a shoe in that Smart is on his way back to Athens….now…that being said. I believe Smart is the best man for the job…no offense to Grantham whoever? I don’t think a no name…..is gonna cut it for Georgia. It is just as important about a name than almost what they have done. Kirby Smart….has both. Evryone has always told me we both look alike and asked if we were brothers.

    Right now…I thank God that Coach is taking the classy way of handling this hire and believe he will make he right decision in the coming days…probably by this friday we should know. And for all you Bulldog faithful…Tommy Tuberville is not coming….just heard he was signed by Texas Tech!

  4. Kerryb permalink
    January 14, 2010 4:20 pm

    Why do people on this blog talk about Grantham as if his coaching resume is nothing compared to,of all people, Kirby Smart? What has he done beside hide in the shadow of Saban his whole career and has been labled as a DC for only 3 seasons. I think Granthams resume is far superior to Smarts. Grantham has been coaching in college or the pros for 20 years with some well named coaches. I’m far more impressed with him than I am with Smart.

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