Why Todd Grantham SHOULD excite you
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.