Posted: 9:00 am Monday, January 13th, 2014

Rewind: Grantham’s UGA departure was inevitable 

By Chip Towers

mark richt, georgia bulldogs, tood grantham, defense, georgia bulldogs, sec, southeastern conference

Georgia head coach Mark Richt has heard from possible candidates to replace Todd Grantham. (Rob Saye / UGA Sports)

MONDAY MORNING REWIND

ATHENS — How was your weekend? Georgia’s was a little busy.

Of course, Todd Grantham’s departure for Louisville dominated the news, and rightly so. I have to admit, it’s something I didn’t see coming. Coach Mark Richt had spoken convincingly at the end of the season of the need for continuity on defense, with 10 starters returning on that side of the ball next year. Then we had the resignation of secondary Scott Lakatos on Thursday and Grantham’s acceptance of Louisville’s rich offer sometime between Saturday and Sunday.

So now we’re left with the chicken-and-the-egg question. Is this something that Richt initiated or is it something that just happened? There’s evidence on both sides of the equation.

Consider the timeline:

  • Richt meets with AD Greg McGarity for his end-of-year review on Thursday morning.
  • Thursday evening, UGA announces the resignation of Lakatos.
  • On Saturday, Grantham informs McGarity that Bobby Petrino wants to talk to him about Louisville’s defensive coordinator position.
  • On Sunday, news breaks that Grantham has accepted the Cardinals $5 million offer.

Here’s what I think: I believe the Lakatos resignation was going to happen anyway. There is some validity to the “personal reasons” the fourth-year assistant cited and clearly the Bulldogs needed to address the shortcomings at that position.

As for Grantham, I happen to know that he had no plans whatsoever to leave Georgia as of Friday night. Louisville swooped in fast-and-furious on Saturday. But the Cardinals’ lucrative offer left the Bulldogs no choice.

Based on Georgia’s sketchy defensive performance the past two seasons, there was no way Richt or UGA could justify a $300,000 raise for somebody who was already under-performing as the highest-paid assistant by far on the Bulldogs’ staff. So when Grantham informed his bosses of the employment offer at Louisville, they had no choice but to say, “Congratulations. So long and good luck.”

And nobody can blame Grantham. He had two years left on his contract with Georgia that pays him $850,000 annually and he would not have been assured of coaching beyond next season. Based on the performance trends of the past two seasons, he would have been firmly on the hotseat next year. Better to accept a $5 million guarantee now from Louisville than a $1.7 million from Georgia.

But this is also clear: Grantham’s latest move is a career downgrade. Even moving to the ACC, being the DC at Louisville is a demotion. If things don’t go fantastic in the Bluegrass State, Grantham’s stated goal of becoming a college head coach or NFL coordinator (again) will be dashed. His next stop would b be as an NFL or college position coach.

In the meantime, Georgia must move quickly to find a replacement. The open period for recruiting resumes Thursday and the Bulldogs will be a tough sell to defensive prospects if they don’t know for whom they’re going to be playing.

I’m hesitant to throw out a bunch of names of candidates because it’s pretty much impossible to verify 100 percent their validity because the primary parties on either side will not confirm. However, there are several that would make sense from a logical standpoint.

Of course, the one name Georgia fans throw out immediately is Kirby Smart. I’m pretty skeptical when it comes to the Alabama defensive coordinator. His UGA ties aside, I tend to look at these schools as Fortune 500 companies, and Smart is already working for one that has greater resources and opportunities overall. A more likely move for Smart at this point in his career would be as a head coach. I’m not saying it couldn’t happen or that Georgia shouldn’t try (I’m certain it will, or should). It just doesn’t seem likely to me.

Of course, former Texas defensive coordinator Manny Diaz is available after Mack Brown’s retirement and there are some ties between him and Richt. And Georgia has two strong candidates on its current staff in linebackers coach Kirk Olivadotti and defensive line coach Chris Wilson. Either would be quite capable and would provide continuity of system Richt desires.

But that’s another blog for another day. As it is, it appears that Grantham simply hastened inevitability. It’s my understanding that he never bought a home in Athens. He has been renting the four years he’s been here. My guess is he’ll rent in Louisville as well.

201 comments
PigIron
PigIron

Pruitt is a good hire.

Chuckles2014
Chuckles2014

We are hiring Pruitt according to Breaking News from AJC.  He has Bama secondary pedigree so looking forward to learning more about him.  He is bald however so that is a good sign.  Don't see any dents in that noggin though.  GO DAWGS.....

hfc95
hfc95

this will be a sign that UGA is going to the 4 team playoff if UGA lands Kirby Smart, let Kirby be the DC and DB's coach and then we will have one slot open to hire a special teams coach.


I hadn't been on the internet this past weekend and I had this feeling to check the ajc to see if anything new had happened and what do you know? Grantham gets a raise to be a DC at Louisville and has to pay UGA for a buyout? If that is not a tell tale sign of things to come for UGA football then idk what is. 


NCDawg
NCDawg

Some guy called the Bill King XM radio show this morning seeing if he could confirmation of Smart to Georgia.  King was not aware of any such rumor.  That doesn't mean it isn't happening...he is at the coaches convention BTW.

Chuckles2014
Chuckles2014

If Kirby accepts I hope Satan crashes and burns and get busted for cheating then loses his hair from all the hate that bama fans will reign down on him.  Nothing personnel : )

Chuckles2014
Chuckles2014

Love the thoughts Willie, I hope you ain't smoking the same stuff you were when you wrote that song. LOL

KeepOnSmilingWetWillie
KeepOnSmilingWetWillie

Kirby is going to accept the UGA position so they say. Congrats to Kirby and UGA. The question is can Nick have success without Kirby.

southgabrave
southgabrave

What are the chances that UGA and Larry Johnson DL coach (Penn St) getting together?  He just resigned and was with Penn St 18 yrs.  He has been offered DC jobs before some at double his salary, and he turned them down due to loyalty to Joe P and the recruits he told he would be there.  With the changes there he decided to move on.   He has had excellent lines in the past. 

Also who is UGa looking at for secondary coach or are they going to allow the new DC to choose?

TideDawg
TideDawg

Kirby Smart makes $1.3 million and Louisville hired Grantham  for $1.5 million. Wow! That should make Smart worth about $2.0 million a year.


The SEC is known for defense and defense wins championships, then a great DC should earn at least half of what the head coach earns. Sound reasonable????

TideDawg
TideDawg

I don't like this new blog format!!

TideDawg
TideDawg

I'm going out on a limb here and predict the new DC will be Foster or Smart. A shot in the dark....yeah, but who will remember who I picked?

TideDawg
TideDawg

PigIron.......Money usually changes availability.


PMR.....How many passes do you think Ga. players get before they do arrest someone? It's no different than any small college town.


SlawDawg....any better than average QB can be a winner with a great defense and great offensive players. No doubt Grantham knows football....he just didn't know how to coach college players or the college game. Also, I hope the new hire knows the players names better than you do.

UWreckMeBaby
UWreckMeBaby

Yeah I know I'm in enemy territory, not trolling, just curious: Seeing that Shaq Wiggins was arrested for speeding and driving with suspended license - why was his license previously suspended?

KeepOnSmilingWetWillie
KeepOnSmilingWetWillie

Kirby and Pruitt are the main players for the slot. Either guy would be a great hire.

PigIron
PigIron

Gene Chizik and Ed Orgeron are obviously the best two candidates out there who are known to be available.

SlawDawg
SlawDawg

Grantham is nothing more than a loud mouth lardazz. Petrino is noting more than a slithering snake in the grass.....they will mkae a good team. As for my beloved Bulldogs, we are screwed for this year. Richt will make a quick hire since NSD is close by and it will be a wrong hire. Mason Hudson will play like a true freshman this year causing us to lose 5-6 games. Richt may decide to take his millions and work on his tan year round instead of just the fall.

ThomasBrown
ThomasBrown

Todd Grantham's own football player here tweeted that :


"Ga finally will have the best players on D playing this year."

UnderTheBleacherstoo
UnderTheBleacherstoo

If some Georgia fans are naïve to believe that Grantham and members of his Defensive staff are the real problems for the State of Georgia University then they deserve to get what is coming to them. 

Look back in time.   Folks complained about the former DC, folks complained about the strength and conditioning coaches, folks complained about the Offensive Line coaches, folks complained about the special teams coaches or lack of one, folks complained about the Offensive Coordinator, folks complained about the recruiting coordinator, folks complained about the new Defensive Coordinator, folks complained about the play calling from the OC, folks complained about the new Offensive Line Coach.  See a pattern here. 


What is the common denominator?  The SOFT Head Coach. 


While other programs are out hiring Head Coaches who are out for blood, and hiring assistant coaches who will work day and night to get players who fit their scheme, and building staffs that know that winning stops or at least slows down complaining.   Look at Jimbo Fisher, he heard the war chants last year after losing to NC State and went out and hired guys who take no prisoners on defense and they brought a new level of attitude and discipline to the program that for years show holes during various times during the year. 


Time for a Good Man Football program to turn into a slobber knocking program who makes young boys into men and treat them like Men and when they screw up make them responsible like Men.  I will take 25 3 star players who buy into the program, work year around, take coaching, and stay out of trouble over a handful of 5 stars who act and play like they do not need the coaching and the discipline.  Every program has issues, but how the internal program reacts says a lot about a head coach.  

1980-was-so-long-ago
1980-was-so-long-ago

"Grantham’s UGA departure was inevitable"


The best part about this...now we won't have to listen all the dog fans telling us how great this B. A. was.  He has turned to chopped liver overnight.

gordonguy
gordonguy

How ironic is this?  Falcons fans hated Bobby Petrino, but now he's become a friend to Dawg fans since he removed a thorn from our paw.

DrPhill
DrPhill

Grantham was a bad example for a program that has led the country with player arrests, suspensions, and unsportsmanlike conduct penalties.  He was also a lousy coach.  He belongs with Petrino.

electric1234
electric1234

Well, Well, I am happy anytime misfortune happens to UGA, Hopefully all the "Billy Bob's" won't cry in their Budweiser's too much, but all the players will, thy have come accustomed to lax coaching, but there is always deer hunting they can fall back on, then there is classes they can absorb all their UGA education and intellect on such as cow tipping 098, 099, and 1010, and deer head mounting classes since most UGA football players have a depth perception problem and learn to mount the deer head in center of plaque before the nail it to the fireplace area.

PigIron
PigIron

"Grantham’s latest move is a career downgrade. Even moving to the ACC, being the DC at Louisville is a demotion."


Why is that? Did he not get a raise? Is he not moving to a higher ranked team? Sounds like a promotion to me.

Bayonet
Bayonet

Oh, as a quick follow-up, I actually have gotten some of my Southern Baptist friends on board with the idea of legalizing pot in the state of Georgia for one singular reason:  If it's legal, the Bulldogs won't have to suspend so many players each year for getting arrested.  D'oh!!!  (And yeah, I say this as a devoted Dawg fan.)

Bayonet
Bayonet

Heck, for a fraction of what Grantham made, I could coach a defense that routinely blows leads and lets opponents regularly hang 40 points on the Bulldogs.  I bear no grudge against Grantham...he's a good man.  But something has to improve, and I'm not so sure that his obsession with the three man front was gonna get Georgia to the next level.  Sadly, Smart won't come unless it's for CMR's job (which might be on the table next year).  Yet, I've a hunch Kirby won't be available by then.  Best wishes to Grantham though...especially when Louisville plays Tech!

RomanLegions
RomanLegions

Positive change for UGA will come from this..

RomanLegions
RomanLegions

Positive change for UGA will come from this..

CobbCountyBraves
CobbCountyBraves

"It’s my understanding that he never bought a home in Athens. He has been renting the four years he’s been here."

Chip,

I'm surprised this was never mentioned until now.  That's a standard "red flag" that one isn't 100% bought in to one's new job and the inevitability of one leaving at the next opportunity.

And to think he did this for four years…wow! 

How long have you known this, Chip?

MUSCLECAR
MUSCLECAR

TUSCALOOSA, Alabama -- Bo Davis is coming back to Alabama as the Crimson Tide's new defensive line coach, a source confirmed to AL.com.



USC, where Davis spent less than a week as new coach Steve Sarkisian's defensive line coach, confirmed his return to Alabama.

"We wish Bo and his family the best of luck. He is a good coach," said Sarkisian, who also cited "family reasons" as a motive behind Davis' departure.  "We will move forward and find a great coach for our defensive line."

Davis replaces Chris Rumph, who left the Crimson Tide on Saturday for the same position at Texas.

PigIron
PigIron

@TideDawg "PigIron.......Money usually changes availability."


Usually, but not always. Didn't work for Texas.

UWreckMeBaby
UWreckMeBaby

From ESPN.com:

According to Athens-Clarke County police, Wiggins was pulled over Sunday night for speeding after he was clocked driving 52 miles per hour in a 35 mph zone. The arresting officer's routine check on Wiggins' license found that he had failed to appear in court on an earlier charge, resulting in the license being suspended.

ThomasBrown
ThomasBrown

@UWreckMeBaby


Because he was on NCAA Probation ?


No, wait, that is Georgie tek who is NCAA Probation all of 2014.

JeffersonDavisHogg
JeffersonDavisHogg

@UnderTheBleacherstoo You make some good points. Sadly, even if UGA makes the right hire at DC there are still holes left to fill. Here's hoping something positive comes out of all of this chaos.

DawgWhisperer
DawgWhisperer

@PigIron You mean like Saban going to Auburn would be a promotion but Auburn doesn't need him since they already have the better coach.

SvenOttke
SvenOttke

Pig, Chip's a Homer Dog. He has to spin it that way.

NCDawg
NCDawg

@MUSCLECAR- wow the carousel is really spinning.  It's like musical chairs.

DawgWhisperer
DawgWhisperer

@SvenOttke Sven, us dawg fans like it that way. If you prefer your own brand of Homer, you don't need to go on an odyssey, just cross the state line into Alabama.

SvenOttke
SvenOttke

@ThomasBrown Charlie Strong says hello.  Yeah, L'ville was a clear demotion of a program.  Um, I think he parlayed that into a job at one of the top 3 programs in the nation.  You guys are delusional.

ThomasBrown
ThomasBrown

@PigIron and @SvenOttke :


Louisville beat no team ranked for 2013.


Louisville is # 91 All-Time in Wins.


Louisville is # 161 best college.


Louisville loses 6 games 2014.


Now, we ALL know neither of you PigIron nor SvenOttke are LOUISVILLE fans, who is ?


So, the question is running in here on UGA 's blog to BRAG about Louisville, who the hell is your team PigIron and SvenOttke.   Too obvious why you are not.



 Why aren't you talking about YOUR TEAM ?