The Georgia Bulldogs' 41-26 loss at home against the Missouri Tigers reassured something that has been whispered through the grapevines in Athens for the past few seasons: Defensive coordinator Todd Grantham really isn't very good at his job.
Well, at first glance, it seems hard-pressed. Georgia allowed 375 yards on Saturday, which, in today's day and age, is pretty decent. Some individuals played well, including freshman corner Shaq Wiggins and defensive end Ray Drew.
Individuals have made plays for this Georgia defense. Leonard Floyd did it against LSU. So where is the defense lacking?
Here was the turning point for me: Midway through the fourth quarter, Georgia had Missouri in a 3rd-and-10 and went into a timeout. At that point, the defense had all of the momentum and the energy from the fans.
What did Georgia do coming out of the timeout?
The defense went into a soft zone—its bread and butter—and gave up a 10-yard completion.
I'm not a rocket scientist, but if you are coming out of a timeout with that big of a situation, how in the world do you not have something slick up your sleeve?
Later in the quarter, the Tigers had to switch to their backup quarterback, and on another crucial 3rd-and-6, he ran for the first down after the announcers pointed out the obvious just seconds prior.
This is the worst third-down defense in the entire SEC. Considering the talent on board, there are no excuses. This defense, as a whole, is pathetic, and it's time the blame falls on the coordinator.
The catch is, no pun intended, that Georgia is so depleted with offensive injuries that it's hard for the team to not just exclaim, "What else can we do?"
The answer would be simple: Learn how to play defense.
I have personally defended Todd Grantham in the past, and even did so this offseason when explaining the 31st national ranking that was earned by the most experienced, stud-laden starting 11 in team history.
But here's the problem: Georgia's defense is more talented. And many of the players out there like Corey Moore (who has been clueless), Damian Swann (who has been clueless) and Jordan Jenkins (who has been nowhere this season) have been with the program for a significant amount of time.
This team is a new-look defense, but it still got top recruits. In fact, as I months ago, this personnel is significantly—nay, exponentially—more talented, according to recruiting services.
Georgia's best defensive game from last season came against Florida. Why? Because Florida runs a pro-style, vanilla offense. It's as basic as it gets. Grantham had a field day against it.
But Todd Grantham has no clue how to defend spread teams.
In fact, he's so clueless against the spread that he's let every second-tier opponent that has come between the hedges (i.e. Florida Atlantic and Buffalo in 2012) run its offense up and down the field.
The only season Georgia had a top defense was in 2011, when it faced arguably one of the weakest schedules in school history.
You might not even lay the blame on Todd Grantham for the loss to Missouri, as Georgia did commit three costly turnovers, but there's no doubt that we've seen a big enough sample size to fully understand the ineptitude of Todd Grantham.
This defensive group is young, but we're not saying young guys miss tackles here or there. No, we're seeing a defensive unit that sits back on its heels, even after a timeout and facing a 3rd-and-10.
Georgia's complete lack of defense has been bailed out by the best quarterback in school history, and a great offensive arsenal to boot, for the last three seasons.
With injuries plaguing the offense, fans are finally seeing that this team has to win in shootouts week in and week out.
Ironically, however, it's the same injuries that will become the scapegoat and ensure Grantham's title as defensive coordinator for the Georgia Bulldogs football program.