Earlier this year UGA hired a new Defensive Coordinator named Todd Grantham to replace the former DC Willie Martinez. The search for a new DC took six weeks and was not an easy quest for Coach Richt. Grantham was the fourth prospect on UGA’s priority list, but after three respectful declinations from Virginia Tech’s DC Bud Foster, LSU’s DC John Chavis, and Alabama’s DC Kirby Smart, UGA directed their focus on Grantham. Grantham was previously the Defensive Lineman Coach for the Dallas Cowboys and has been coaching in the NFL for 11 years. Coach Richt was not personally familiar with Grantham, but said he came highly recommended from several other coaches including Bud Foster. Before coaching in the NFL, Todd Grantham was an assistant coach at Virginia Tech and Michigan State. The UGA fans and coaching staff are excited to have him back in college football. Coach Grantham will now be the third highest paid assistant coach in college football at $750,000 this year behind USC’s Monte Kiffin ($1.2 M +$300k from Tennessee) and Texas’ Will Muschamp ($900,000).
Coach Grantham has changed the defense from the 4-3 to an “aggressive style” 3-4, meaning they will play 3 lineman and 4 linebackers. CTG said “We want to be aggressive. We want to attack. We want to be relentless in our pursuit to the ball.” (Atlanta Journal Constitution) Last Thursday, Coach Grantham met with some reporters to share the progress of the new defense. CTG is focusing on developing some depth to the front line. With the aggressive approach this defense is striving for, UGA plans on rotating lineman to keep them fresh and persistent. Georgia is hoping this new approach will create some turnovers and reverse that awful ratio of -16 from last year. A high turnover defense would definitely relieve some of the pressure for the new young quarterback Aaron Murray. This will allow Murray to grow into the leader of the offense and avoid playing timidly because he is concerned of making a mistake. Mistakes will come this year and the defense will hopefully negate those mistakes.
Georgia fans are excited about the new defense and pray that the Dawgs return to the ferocious defense that used to be synonymous with UGA a couple of years ago. Coach Grantham should also be great for recruiting, especially with his ties to the NFL. UGA can once again be a team that pipelines top defenders from high school to the pros. Expectations are high for the new defensive coordinator, and it will be interesting to see how soon the defensive changes will start producing results. Either way, the general consensus is that Coach Grantham is a giant step in the right direction.