Mark Richt confirms Todd Grantham will return as defensive coordinator

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If Todd Grantham doesn’t return to Georgia, it will be by his own accord.

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Mark Richt confirmed that Grantham would return as the Bulldogs’ defensive coordinator in 2014, unless he leaves on his own. Richt cites lack of continuity and youth on defense as the unit’s main problem. He had some interesting things to say on last night’s coaches’ conference call.

“Yeah. Everybody should be back. I mean everybody’s gotta do what they’ve gotta do, as far as if they have opportunities and all that kind of thing. But we’ve got some things we’ve certainly got to get better at.

“But the continuity is a good thing for Georgia.

“First of all, we had a young bunch. A lot of inexperience on that side of the ball,” Richt said. “The experiences that everybody went through is positive. Everybody’s gotta improve. Everybody’s gotta improve all the way around. There’s a lot of areas that we all need to improve on. But I think that we’ve got the right group of guys, and we’ve got the right staff. We’ve gotta make sure that we take care of business as far as improving, maturing, and keeping that continuity.”

Georgia’s defense replaced eight starters from last year’s NFL-filled unit that grossly underachieved and gave up 350 yards rushing to Alabama in the SEC Championship Game. This year, the run defense was much better, but the secondary took its lumps. They had communication problems the entire year. Grantham’s 3-4 scheme isn’t the issue; the issue is the players and their communication in coverage and fundamentals of tackling in space.

Related: What happened to you on Saturday?

Here’s a comparison of the Bulldogs’ defensive numbers since Grantham has been the defensive coordinator, starting in 2010 to present.

Category 2013 2012 2011 2010
Scoring Defense 29.4 PPG (11th) 19.6 PPG (6th) 20.6 PPG (6th) 22.1 PPG (5th)
Rushing Defense 148.5 YPG (6th) 182.14 YPG (12th) 101.21 (3rd) 148.23 YPG (7th)
Passing Defense 232.8 YPG (10th) 175.6 YPG (2nd) 176 YPG (5th) 180.3 YPG (5th)
Total Defense 381 YPG (8th) 357.8 YPG (6th) 277.2 YPG (4th) 328.5 YPG (4th)

Grantham is entering the final year of his three-year contract worth $850,000 per season, and it looks like he’ll be in full control of the defense in 2014, unless he takes another job on his own.

Photo Credit: Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

COMMENTS

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  • I think Richt may have sealed his fate with this one. He’s an extremely stubborn individual and it looks like he is content watching Grantham steer the ship towards that gigantic iceberg, hoping that he turns at the last second. Even if Grantham manages to coach up a good defense next year, he’ll use it as a springboard to the NFL. Of course, if he sucks or maybe even finishes in the middle of the pack, he’s gone. So, he’s pretty much gone either way. If Richt cares about his job, and I’m not so sure he does, he is really banking on a drastic improvement on defense next year.

    • Oh please. Richt and Grantham have forgotten more about the game of football than all of us commenters could hope to ever know. Have some faith in our coach like he has in his players and the direction of our program. Richt has set ridiculously high expectations for this program and school since he arrived and I’m proud to be a part of something this special.

      Now I agree that he may leave next year if he can right the course of the defense, but you never know. Richt showing a little faith in him might be reciprocated back, with Grantham returning and helping create stability at the position. Either way, if Grantham were to leave it’s not like a coaching change would result in another scheme change like 3-4 to 4-3. They’re smart guys and would do what would work best for our team. Like I said, they know much more and I trust our program is in good hands.

    • God I’m so sick of you georgia “fans”. Richt has us at a level many of our fellow conference members would love to be at. I will admit I had my doubts at the end of the 2010 season and beginning of the 2011 season, but since then he has proven to me that he is the right man for the job. For God’s sake we were 4 yards away from a NC last year…

    • @dawg780, are you kidding me?! wtf is wrong with you people. your argument is ridiculous.

    • I’m as big of a Georgia fan as each of you, so take that crap somewhere else. If you don’t see the need to dump Grantham right now, then you don’t care about our program or have a clue about the talent we have had that has consistently underperformed. Grantham produced the WORST statistical defense in UGA history this past year. Blame it on youth, suspensions, or whatever makes your little heart feel good, but he wasted, WASTED a ton of talent last year when our defense was experienced, not suspended (save Ogletree), and should have been lights out against everyone, including Bama. Also, I didn’t say I wanted Richt gone you geniuses, but just that this decision may seal his fate for those in power at UGA. I like Richt and will never be on the bandwagon to fire him, but firing Grantham is a decision he should have made. I agree they know much more than I do, but just because they know more doesn’t mean they are necessarily making the right decision.
      @Chris, when you say you’re proud to be a part of something “this special” WTF are you talking about? We haven’t done anything special (e.g., win a championship) in almost 10 years. Maybe you’re right and our D will benefit from another year, but the last two years support the notion that we will underperform in another “special” season and lose one or two games we shouldn’t.
      @HUNKER, yes, we were 4 yards away last year, but when we were up 21-10 in the middle of the 3rd quarter with ALL of the momentum, our horribly-coached, but super-talented defense let Bama ram the ball down our throats and we got beat on a huge play action pass. Anyway, you clearly misunderstood my post as a shot at Richt. I think he’s the right man, too; he just needs to make the necessary decisions sooner and not let bad DC’s sink our program a la Martinez and Grantham.

  • We started a majority of Freshman and RS Freshman in the Secondary. Heck, we even started a walk-on Connor Norman vs Clemson and Sammy Watkins b/c JHC was suspended. UGA only loses 1 SR off the Defense for next year. It HAS to be better than they were this year. The Offense loses 3 OL’s, 1 WR and of course Murray. Even with Gurley out for 4 games, MM out in game one, Marshal out, JSW out, Bennett out for 2 games on and on UGA still set and bettered their Offensive output from last year which set an new UGA record. We’ll be fine next year…..

    • I agree; our D has NEVER been as bad and cannot possibly get any worse than it was this year, so it HAS to be better next year. With Grantham still at DC, we will not be fine next year. I hope I’m wrong and will gladly admit I am if that happens, but I’d bet we lose two games we shouldn’t lose just like this year (see Vandy and Auburn) because of poor coaching on D.