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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Grantham settles into recruiting, targeting Gators, skinny reporters

As Todd Grantham gets re-acquainted with the recruiting trail, he has developed a pretty central philosophy:

“The first thing I ask is: Can the guy help us beat Florida,” Grantham, the Georgia defensive coordinator, said on Wednesday. “I mean truthfully, because that’s who we have to beat to win the SEC. And off the guys that I feel like we’re recruiting and have committed to us, I can say yes off of that. So I’m really excited off those guys.”

But what about South Carolina – which won the division this year and might be the favorite next year?

“I’m playing percentages,” Grantham said.

(Or perhaps Grantham is still riled that Steve Spurrier took a dig at him earlier this year. But I’ll take him at his word.)

Grantham is officially six weeks away from his second Signing Day since he returned to the college game, after 11 years as an NFL assistant. But as he points out, he came in so late last time, in mid-January, “it was over with, truthfully.”

The 11 months since then have allowed Grantham to watch more recruiting film, and make evaluations on what kind of fit they are: inside or outside linebacker, end or tackle, or whether they can play in the 3-4 at all.

It’s also been an adjustment from his previous life, when Grantham had to depend on general managers to make draft picks or sign free agents. And even then, it was limited.

“Here you have to go out and recruit, but you can go get more than one dynamic player,” Grantham said. “Whereas in pro ball, truthfully, from a defensive perspective, after the first few guys at a certain position, after that you’re just kind of grabbing.”

Grantham can’t get into specifics, but Georgia is believed to be looking hard at a core of key defensive players. The ones often mentioned are junior college nose tackle John Jenkins, Thomasville defensive end Ray Drew and Atlanta cornerback Damian Swann.

“I’m convinced more than ever than if we just keep the guys in the state of Georgia home, we’re gonna be pretty good,” Grantham said.

Grantham is also thinking creatively. Near the end of an interview session on Wednesday, when discussing the need for a nose guard, Grantham began scraping the bottom off the barrel.

“Can you play?” he asked, looking at me.

“Me? Well I have four years eligibility,” I answered, rather meekly.

“Do you?” Grantham said, smiling. “We could start beefing you up now, and you might be ready by spring.”

“Yeah …,” I answered, slowly. “It’d take a lot of lift work. I lift and lift and nothing happens.”

“I wish I had that problem,” said Grantham, who doesn’t have time to lift anymore.

For the record, I’d be happy to help. But Joe Tereshinski will have to be the real deal in the weight room if he can get this 6-2, 175-pounder ready to play nose tackle.

So yeah, I’ll let you know what happens with Jenkins.


CSA said...

Hahaha, awesome article. I love your exchange with Todd Grantham.

There's a part of me that thinks perhaps Georgia focuses too much on beating Florida, and gets too tightly wound. What are your thoughts, Seth?

Anonymous said...

Nice read. Thanks for all of your work. I'm curious about how much time we are looking at before CTG believes he has a fully functioning unit? I understand the personnel issues, most notably at NT, so I can see why UGA wouldn't have the same immediate change as other programs have seen (MSU for example), but how long approximately are we looking at before we do see change? Are we talking 1 recruiting cycle or 4?


Tyler said...

A bit picky here Seth but Ray Drew hails from Thomas County Central H.S. Do me a solid. Next time you get to
interview Coach Bobo, brazenly mention his playing days back at TCCHS and see how well that goes over.

ChrisDawg said...

I think that Grantham hasn't been given enough credit for what he has already done. This is the first year in the 3-4. Nick Sabans defense at Alabama actually got worse in his first year from the year before he arrived. Actually our defense put up numbers very similar to what Sabans defense put up in his first year at Bama.

Our defense is not really that good yet yes but it is much improved over last year. Come on all of you saw last years defense just like me. These are the same players pretty much and they played better.

Also I believe some fans are making too much of the players that will be leaving this year. Houston, Dent, Gamble....

Look at last year. We lost Curran, Jones, Owens, Atkins, and Weston in the NFL draft and were a better defense after it. Not a great defense but improved over last year. Imagine what Grantham would of been able to do with those three huge NFL dt's! It's not too often that you have three senior NFL defensive tackles on the same team.

This year we will lose Houston, Dent, Gamble, and a few others. I don't believe this compares to the losses of last year on defense. Sometimes fans put too much into players leaving. This is college. It happens. Many times when it looks bad it actually gets better. Also it's not like this defense was great with these guys so let's give some other players a chance.

meansonny said...

Nice article seth.

I like the idea of recruiting to beat uf. The problem is... They don't have an oc yet. That doesn't work so well when we don't know what type of offense we'll be facing.

I'm a little peeved at grantham for our defenses performance against gt. I don't know how many defenses gt faced that did worse against the jackets. With our talent, that's not a good indicator of our coaching. Especially this late in the season

GreenDawg said...

meansonny, I'll admit that it was disheartening seeing that kind of effort against the git's, but you also have to throw in that Grantham came form the NFL and probably hasn't coached against a triple option in over a decade. I wasn't pleased with the performance by any means, but I'll be interested to see how he does against it next season. I think a lot will hinge on whether we can get a big NT to really stuff the dive. We'll have to see how it works out.

RayJayCrowell said...

In think if we had some really good cb's we could have the best defense in the SEC. We have some great talents at cb they just haven't played that great yet. Boykin, Smith these are NFL caliber guys athletically.

Look at next year. Tyson and Abry on the line with a new nt hopefully. Jarvis Jones, Richard Samuel, Christian Robinson, Cornelius Washington, Marcus Dowtin, and maybe Ray Drew at LB. Rambo, and Ogletree at safety. Boykin, Smith, and Cummings at corner.

That is a lot of talent there. A number of these players will play on Sundays one day. The athletic ability and potential of our defense in crazy.

We have the talent and we will have a full year in the 3-4. Aaron Murray is a year older.

With the schedule and talent next year I see 11 wins. Luckily for us our first game is against Boise in primetime so a win there and everyone will take notice. Then if we can get past SC it's smooth sailing for a while.

College footballs offseason seems like it last a whole year!!!!! I want next season to start now! I want Mark Richt to shut up all the haters now! I want to hear what all the fans that wanted him fired have to say then!

Anonymous said...

Newton and Lattimore and Tebow proved all it takes is a superstar to get you in the championship hunt because the competition is so close nowadays. Georgia was in EVERY game this year. It won't take much more to get us there but the big fish we need haven't been caught yet. I've got faith Richt can do it . Go Dawgs!

Anonymous said...

Seems Spurrier was right after all about Grantham. Our D was shreaded to bits by Auburn and Tech. This guy was clueless at and just looked at his play sheet and couldnt adjust on the fly. Our D is Willie Willie bad.

Anonymous said...

We stopped GT in 2009 because we had 3 NFL DT's on the team to stuff the dive play. This is the exact area that the D was weak this year. If Grantham can get some beef on the D line, we'll be much better.

Seth Emerson said...

Thanks, fixed the Thomasville reference.

Anonymous said...

Man imagine if we had Owens Atkins and Weston on the team this year! Let's say we got Aj green for a whole season too. 11 wins!

Also btw I think we might have that superstar guy in Aaron Murray. None of those other guys had a freshman season like Murray.

RayJayCrowell said...

Seth I have a question for your mailbag.

What exactly is your job? Seriously I would like to know. Like do you solely get paid by the newspaper you work for? Do they say you have to have this blog and be on Twitter or is that your decision? You don't make any money from this blog right? What are you paid to do by the newspaper you work for? Just to cover all Bulldog sports?

Anonymous said...

Question for mailbag:

Who is the most vocal coach at the limited practices ou have seen? Player?

Joeski said...

Seth, sadly, I don't think you have any eligibility left: if I recall correctly, the rule is that once you enroll at a school, you have 5 years to play 4 seasons. You can bend the rule slightly because they only count full years (which is why early-enrollees are at an advantage: they get an extra spring practice plus summer workouts without giving up a year of eligibility).

But unless you're telling us you never went to college, I think you're not gonna have to stock up on protein shakes and weight-gain supplements.