The Georgia Bulldogs have found a winner in new coordinator, Todd Grantham. He's confident, qualified, and determined to make sure that the Dawgs get back to being that feared defense that they were under both Erik Russell (in the Vince Dooley era) and Brian Van Gorder.
He's been personable in every interview and seemingly unflappable despite the question asked and that is just the kind of swagger us Bulldog fans like to see in the guy who's going to be in charge of turning the defense around.
Since Grantham's hiring, I have listened to every interview, read every article, and taken in every possible detail I could to gain more intel about our new coach and just what he plans to offer us in 2010 and beyond—coaching and recruiting wise.
If you are as passionate as most fans I know, you have heard a lot of this already, but if you missed out on a few of his stellar interviews, then this is for you.
I have compiled a few questions and used his own quotes as means of giving the answers. It's an idea that I saw in a blog written by David Hale called Bulldogs Blog —another excellent resource for Georgia information. Give it a look.
In the meantime, here's a little more insight into our defensive coordinator.
1. Why Georgia?
"When I saw the opportunity to come to the University of Georgia as defensive coordinator, I just felt like it was an opportunity that I couldn't pass up because 1) you have a head coach that has won—aiight—and you also have a lot of talent here and if you can get those guys, ya know, geared in the right direction I feel like you can be pretty dominant on defense." (From his interview on 680thefan )
2. What is your coaching style/philosophy?
"...Players wanna be coached and, and, players wanna improve...I really think that as a coach, you're a teacher and you're also trying to motivate the player. So I think that if you can establish a good relationship with the player—aiight—and then he believes that you have his best interest at heart, and you can teach him the fundamentals that you want him to go out and do, and he gets excited about playing, I think the sky's the limit and I think every player can reach their potential." (From his interview on 680thefan )
3. When will the final coach be hired and what position will he coach?
"It’s not etched in stone right now, but it is probably going to be a linebackers coach... That’s kind of the direction we’re heading right now. I think we’re very flexible on it," Grantham said.
"It could be soon, it could be late, but as Mark and I talk over the course of the next few weeks, we’re going to get the right guy in here so we can have a solid staff from a teaching standpoint. I think teaching is very critical.” (Tim Tucker, UGA Sports Blog)
4. How fast will you expect the guys to learn the 3-4 defense?
"We'll adjust throughout the year to certain things we're doing, but it'll be ongoing. You're going to have your base package in spring ball. It won't be everything, but it'll be ongoing." ( David Hale, Bulldogs Blog, 'Tweeting With Lakatos and Grantham')
5. Do you have a feel for who will be playing each position?
"...We're just now beginning the evaluation process of the players that we have and I think that's really important as you go into a new situation— to evaluate the players that you have...basically, right now, what we're doing is we're putting together 25-30 plays on each player to try to evaluate, ya know, where they are, the types of players they are, and how they would best fit in the system...structurally, we're going to be a 3-4, however, I think that it's important that you tweak or adjust your system relative to the talent you have". (From his interview on 680thefan in Atlanta ).
6. On the, all-important 3-4 nose guard—do you have someone in mind or are you actively recruiting for someone to fill this position?
"When we were in Dallas, Jay Ratliff made the Pro Bowl, and he’s an undersized nose tackle. We’re going to be more of a one-gap team, so you can play with guys that are like that, and I think that’s critical. So as we move forward, we’ll have a standard for what we’re looking for down the road, but right now I think it’s important to take the players you have and find ways to fit them into your system.” (Bulldogs Blog)
" In our system, size doesn't always have to be the premium, ah, you can adjust that relative to the player. I think the big thing is, is getting guys that have the ability to get-off on the ball, ah, that can play with their hands that can get off blocks. So, I'm looking more for that than say, quote, the big-size guy like the traditional 3-4...in this system, you're going to be more on the edge of a guy as opposed to playing the guy right down the middle." (From his interview on 680thefan )
7. His thoughts on Georgia becoming a national power:
"I have always believed— and I believe to this day— that if we took the best players in the state of Georgia and within a five-hour radius of our school, if they come to the University of Georgia, then we can win the SEC championship and compete for a national title. And I think you can be better than Florida, you can be better than Texas, and you can be better than Southern Cal – if those players came to the University of Georgia . So that’s what excited me about coming here.” ( UGA Sports Blog)
8. On assistant coach, Rodney Garner:
“He’s been here at the University of Georgia and they’ve had success, and I think if you look at where he has been before, they’ve had success there. I think Rodney has value, and I look forward to working with him and letting him help our defense. I really look forward to that.” (UGA Sports Blog )
9. On recruiting and his comfort level with doing it after being away from the college ranks for so long:
"Recruiting is all about relationships. When you are coaching guys in pro ball you have to motive guys somehow, too. I think it’s about being yourself and how they fit in to what you want to do here. I have always enjoyed recruiting....As we move forward it is all about developing relationships. I think the biggest thing is if the prospects feel like they have your best interest at heart then you will get those kids." (Dawgpost.com )
10. On becoming a part of the Bulldog Nation:
"That’s the reason I wanted to take this job, I understand the passion. I understand who Georgia fans want to beat and where they want to be. And I feel like we can achieve that. My standards are that high, and higher. I hear they (Georgia fans) bark here when you (a player on the field) make a big play…is that true?" (Dawgpost.com )
It is true, indeed, coach Grantham. And, if I might be so bold as to say that I believe the Dawgs made one heckuva play in signing you. So here's a big woof, woof, sic' em for our newest Dawg—I'm looking forward to seeing more of what he has to offer in 2010.