Georgia Is Making a Mistake by Retaining DC Todd Grantham

Barrett Sallee@BarrettSalleeSEC Football Lead WriterDecember 5, 2013

USA Today

Any changes on the Georgia staff will apparently have to wait a while.

One day after Georgia topped intrastate rival Georgia Tech 41-34 in double overtime, head coach Mark Richt told Seth Emerson of the Macon (Ga.) Telegraph and Columbus (Ga.) Ledger-Enquirer that the entire staff should be back.

"Yeah. Everybody should be back," Richt said. "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."

Everybody includes defensive coordinator Todd Grantham, which is a mistake by Richt.

Georgia Defenses Under Todd Grantham
YearYPGSEC Total Defense RankingYards Per PlayPoints Per Game
2010328.54th5.1622.1
2011277.24th4.4620.6
2012357.86th5.1819.6
2013381.38th5.4329.4
CFBStats.com

After finishing fourth in the SEC in total defense in each of his first two seasons in Athens (2010 and 2011), Georgia has regressed on his side of the ball. With a defense loaded with NFL talent in 2012, the Bulldogs gave up 357.8 yards per game (sixth in the SEC) and 182.14 rushing yards per game (12th in the SEC). 

Georgia DC Todd Grantham
Georgia DC Todd GranthamDale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

This season, with new pieces all over the field, Grantham's defense finished eighth in the SEC (381.3 yards per game) and set the school record for points given up in a season, according to Emerson.

Yes, Georgia's defense was young this season. In fact, when toe met leather against the Yellow Jackets, defensive end Garrison Smith was the only senior starter on that side of the ball.

But is there anything to suggest that Grantham is the guy to lead this new crop, which includes potential stars in linebacker Jordan Jenkins and safeties Tray Matthews and Josh Harvey-Clemons, to a defensive resurgence?

Nope. 

Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham
Georgia defensive coordinator Todd GranthamDale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

In fact, Grantham's track record suggests that he will underachieve.

Georgia had Bacarri Rambo, John Jenkins, Alec Ogletree, Jarvis Jones, Shawn Williams and Sanders Commings on the same defense in 2012, and defense was a liability even then. 

In fact, it's the reason Georgia didn't play for the BCS National Championship that season. In the second half of the 2012 SEC Championship Game, Alabama running backs Eddie Lacy and T.J. Yeldon tore the Bulldogs front seven up, which led to the game-winning 45-yard touchdown pass off of play-action to put the Crimson Tide up 32-28 late in the fourth quarter.

Continuity is important. I get that. But mediocre continuity isn't helping Georgia take the next step defensively.

It's preventing it. 

Mark Richt is loyal, which is one of his best qualities. But keeping Grantham around is an indication that, sometimes, he's loyal to a fault.