If we have learned anything about Georgia Football over the past week, it's that there is a certain amount of respect to be had for their coaches, especially on the defensive end.
The Bulldogs lost Orson Charles to the draft, and as big of a loss as that is, it isn't on defense. Todd Grantham has come to Athens and infused a sense of respect and determination that can only be compared to one person—Erk Russell.
Russell was before my time, but he was perfect for his time. From downtown Athens to Sweetheart Circle in Statesboro, Erk carried that presence with him everywhere he went.
He would only do it one way—his.
Erk wasn't a big fan of changing things. Erk was old school. Erk was fiery. Erk was legendary. Todd Grantham follows those same principles, and it only becomes more evident when you go back and read Russell's comment when Mark Richt was hired.
The comments weren't even Richt-related. They were football related—and how he believed the game should be played.
In this 2001 interview with DawgPost, Russell is eerily prophetic to the success of the Bulldogs defense, 11 years later...
DawgPost.com: What advice would you give a young, aspiring coach hoping to enter the coaching profession and achieve longevity?
Coach Russell: "To follow the basic principles of coaching, such as not letting anyone outwork you and obeying rules and regulations. Integrity can never be sacrificed. A head coach must be prepared to handle any situation that may happen in a game, surround himself with good assistant coaches, a good support staff and good players. He also needs the support of the administration and faculty in order to be completely successful. And perhaps most importantly, any coach needs to have a lot of luck."
DawgPost.com: How have you managed to accomplish all you have?
Coach Russell: "Quite simply, by hard work and doing things the right way. I want people to think of me as being the luckiest football coach in the world. If you are a winner or are successful in any endeavor, you have to be lucky to a great extent. I consider myself to be the luckiest person to ever coach football."
If I had anything to say to Erk Russell, it would be, "You were lucky, and Dawg fans everywhere were lucky to have you. I think Grantham is ready to take that torch now."