Late Sunday afternoon news broke that University of Georgia’s Defensive Coordinator Todd Grantham has been hired by Bobby Petrino for the same position. Grantham will be compensated $1,000,000 per season, guaranteed for 5 seasons.
Grantham is 47 years old and started his career at Virginia Tech coaching the Defensive Line before a 3-year stint at Michigan State coaching the same position. After leaving the Spartans, Grantham spent a decade in the NFL with the Colts, Texans, Browns (DC), and Cowboys coaching the Defensive Line. After leaving the Cowboys, Grantham joined the Georgia Bulldogs in 2010 as the Defensive Coordinator. At Georgia Grantham established himself as an outstanding recruiter and implemented his 3-4 defense with the Bulldogs.
UGA’s Defense was 45th in Total Defense in 2013 despite a young & injury riddled unit to go along with a Top Flight schedule. The enduring heart-wrenching moment for the Georgia Defense in 2013 was Auburn’s 73-yard Hail Mary to beat the Bulldogs. It wasn’t Grantham’s year in 2013, but Coach Grantham has had plenty of success: 32nd in 2012, 5th in 2011, and 23rd in Total Defense in 2010.
In the 3 NFL Drafts that have occurred since his arrival at Georgia, Grantham has had the following players drafted into the NFL: Justin Huston (DE), Akeem Dent (LB), Brandon Boykin (CB), DeAngelo Tyson (DT), Jarvis Jones (LB), Alec Ogletree (LB), John Jenkis (DT), Shawn Williams (S), Sanders Commings, Cornelius Washington (DE), and Bacarri Rambo (S). 11 Defensive Players Drafted in 3 years, 7 of which were in the 2013 Draft. There were 9 ALL-SEC Selections on Defense during his tenure.
To editorialize this hire, I have to say that I really like it. Grantham is currently responsible for three 4-star commitments to the 2014 class for Georgia. That is solid. The ability to recruit is a key element for any Louisville assistant coach as the Cards can not rely on a heavy influx of talent from the local area.
Grantham’s 3-4 defense will rely heavily on Big Nose Guards, like Jamaine Brooks and DeAngelo Brown who are currently on the roster and sat out the 2013 season with injuries. In the 3-4, however, Defensive Ends need to be much larger than what Louisville has typically seen. Players like Sheldon Rankins, De’Asian Richardson, and BJ Dubose have the right frame to play on the outside. But players like Deiontrez Mount, Lorenzo Mauldin, and Nick Dawson all have maybe the most important and exciting role in rushing the passer from a variety of different points either with a hand down or standing up like a Linebacker. The idea is control the middle and the edges with 3 big bodies (players on the outside must be big and athletic enough) that demand double teams and will free up the linebackers to make plays. This style eliminates a lot of big play potential with screens and draws and allows for more bodies in coverage & possibilities with the blitz. The current Louisville defensive players should be excited with the arrival of Grantham, as his style is the current defense of choice in the NFL.
The defensive coordinator & other defensive staff is extremely important to the start of the Bobby Petrino era at Louisville. With Bobby Petrino at the offensive controls, moving the ball is not the problem. With the addition of Grantham, Louisville fans can feel good about their defense heading into the 1st year of the ACC after boasting the best defense in the nation in 2013. The good news is that there are plenty of good pieces of the puzzle left on the roster despite losing Preston Brown, Brandon Dunn, Calvin Pryor, Marcus Smith, Hakeem Smith, Roy Philon, Champ Lee and George Durant. The Louisville Defense may be re-tooling in 2014 but it is already re-loaded.
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