Monday, January 18, 2010

My thoughts on the Grantham hire

Sorry for the delayed response...busy weekend

Big picture, I was just happy to finally see the DC search come to an end…between the muckrakers at the AJC and the rapidly plummeting IQ level of the average message board fan, I basically had to force myself away from some websites. I could just feel myself getting stoopider

I honestly believe that Coach Richt had a plan, and we saw it materialize at the only time that it could…after the national championship game. Kirby was always the first choice, and Grantham was the fallback position. Obviously, there were conversations with Bud Foster and John Chavis, but I don’t believe they ever progressed to the point of an offer being made. If either of them really wanted to leave their current position, then maybe the talks would have been escalated, but I don’t think it ever got past a “feeling-out” situation.

I’ve made my thoughts on the Kirby Smart situation pretty clear…bottom line, I never expected him to leave Alabama, but I also never expected him to use his alma mater as leverage. Guess “Once a Dawg, Always a Dawg” can be applied selectively. He’s dead to me.

My thoughts on the Grantham hire:

- With a name like that, you just know he’s gonna be successful. :-)

- If you haven't had the chance to check out Coach Grantham's teleconference quotes, do yourself a favor here.

My favorite quote? “I think what you want as a defense is, after the game is over, the team you just played, they're happy they don't have to play you anymore.”

Awesome. That is the mentality that I believe we have been missing over the last few years…our defense was not instilling fear into anybody. We were never dictating to the opposing offense, we were always instead reacting to what they were dictating to us.

Sounds to me like Coach Grantham is looking to install a swarming, aggressive, eleven hats to the ball, Junkyard Dawg mentality. We’ll probably give up some big plays, especially early on, but in the long run I think this will be the style of defense Dawg fans have been hoping to see for YEARS.

- Like a lot of people, I was initially concerned about the switch to a 3-4 because we have run a 4-3 for so long that I was afraid there would be a rebuilding phase as we switch over. But the more I look at the roster, the better I feel about it.

One of my biggest concerns from a personnel perspective has been how thin we were getting at defensive tackle, with the top three in our rotation all graduating this year. Well, in a 3-4 you only need one DT. So between Tyson, Wood, Jones, Geathers, and Lott returning, Garrison Smith already committed, and hopefully at least one more (either Thornton or Whitaker, preferably), I think we should be able to put together a pretty good 2-3 man rotation.

There has been some concern that we don’t have the prototypical space-eater nose tackle, and that concern probably has some merit. But Coach Grantham’s current nose tackle, Jay Ratliffe, is in the 290-300 pound range and he’s playing in the Pro Bowl this year. The important thing is that the NT be able to occupy two blockers, and you can do that with technique and quickness off the ball if you don’t have the size.

T.J. Stripling was born to play outside linebacker in a 3-4. Wouldn’t be surprised to see Justin Houston and/or Cornelius Washington stand up and convert to OLB, either.

In other words, I think a lot of people are going to be surprised at how well are personnel translates to the type of defense that Coach Grantham is probably going to run.

- I love that we got a coach with NFL experience…I think that will be a great recruiting tool. I will love it even more if he brings former Dawg and current Saints assistant Travis Jones into the fold as well.

If that means we lose Rodney Garner, so be it. I have tons of respect for Coach Garner, and I think he may be underrated as a position coach, but whatever we lose from a recruiting perspective in Coach Garner I think can be made up. John Lilly is also one of the most respected recruiters in the South, and he is already on the staff. Coach Bobo and Coach Searles are establishing their own reputations as solid recruiters. And I think that Coach Grantham has the potential to be a strong recruiter as well, with the combination of his attitude and NFL pedigree.

If you can’t tell, I am excited about the hire. I think Coach Richt and Damon Evans deserve a lot of credit, both for how the process was handled and for the result.

So…honeymoon’s over, Coach G. Time to get to work.



MikeInValdosta said...

Great post, Scott.

With regards to personnel, I loved Grantham's quote about ranking them 1-50 and finding a way to get the top 11 on the field.

I can't wait!

Shan said...

Nice assessment. I, too, am excited about the DC hire. He's saying all the right things, seems to have the proper aggressive temperament that we've all wanted, and all the folks in his past have nothing but praise for him. The process (and its related hyperventilating coverage) was a huge pain the ass, but at the end of the day, next year we'll only care about how he's coaching 'em up and how the unit is performing. And frankly, almost anything would have to be a step up.

As for the 3-4, I know nothing is set in stone about a position switch yet, but man, would Samuel look good putting his athletic gifts to work in that scheme.

Scott said...

Yep..both of you brought up even more reasons to be excited. Hopefully, a true meritocracy where playmakers rise to the top of the depth chart, and also Richard Samuel reverting to his QB-terrifying high school persona.