Posted: 11:01 am Friday, January 31st, 2014

Did Georgia’s defense get better as result of Grantham’s departure? 

By Chip Towers

ATHENS –  The Bulldogs ended up completely rebuilding their defensive staff after coordinator Todd Grantham flew the coop for more money and less challenge at Louisville. But it’s hard to look  at what they’ve done since then and not say they’re better off.

They lost a defensive coordinator who had given up more points and yards than any Georgia coach in decades and replaced him with Jeremy Pruitt, the architect of the nation’s No. 1 defense on the national championship team. Since then the Bulldogs have added linebackers coach Kevin Sherrer, who earned two national championship rings as an assistant at Alabama, and Tracy Rocker, a former Lombardi and Outland Trophy winner who won a national championship as defensive line coach at Auburn and has spent the last three years coaching in the NFL.

Georgia may or may not be on the verge of hiring its last assistant coach. Indications are they may be close.

There are numerous reports that Georgia hiring Mike Ekeler, most recently of Southern Cal but also Nebraska and LSU, as linebackers coach is imminent. I must stress that I have not been able to corroborate those reports to the point I’d be comfortable reporting it. And you need to know I’ve checked it out with folks who absolutely would know.

But, for what it’s worth, I thought Kirk Olivadotti might have been the best football mind on Georgia’s defense these last few years and I thought his loss was the worst of the departures. He would have made a fine coordinator himself and likely will end up being one in the NFL. All that being said, Ekeler would come with an impressive resume, which includes considerable special teams expertise, and would be another good edition.

In any case, the coaches the Bulldogs now have on board have been a little busy, what with the recruiting period peaking here a week before signing day. I hope to visit with Pruitt and/or some of the new assistants once national signing day gets in the books next week.

In the meantime, I spent some time Thursday talking with Garrison Smith about what these coaches have coming back on defense next year. As has probably been evidenced on this site in the past year, I have a lot of respect for Smith and have gotten to know him well as he emerged as a de facto captain and spokesperson for Georgia’s defense his senior season. He has some strong insights with regard to what the Bulldogs might look like next season.

Check back later this afternoon and I’ll share his thoughts with you.

174 comments
greenedefense
greenedefense

Tech fans, we will always be in front watching you in our rear view mirrors!


GO DAWGS!!!


grh0317
grh0317

The dogs defense should stay the same. A real powerhouse!!

58Supersports
58Supersports

Please remove Grantham's picture and stcu about Grantham...that's past history, thank God.

DrPhill
DrPhill

The headline is kind of silly, since the measure of the defense is game performance.  Grantham was certainly a bad role model and not a very good coach. Whether the defense is better, remains to be seen.

Mulk
Mulk

Haven't seen the fan base this excited since....well, since they hired Granthem???

HotDawg
HotDawg

So far so good....what's not to like?

Princess_Leia
Princess_Leia

Well, obviously the dwags are a lock to win it all this year.


Just like every year, right?


Pass the Kool-Aid, please.

Buzz-Off
Buzz-Off

Question: if Grantham says he was the "backbone" of UGa's success.....does this mean we will have a much stronger back? Great news and go Dawgs!!!

ThomasBrown
ThomasBrown

How could it have done anything but get better, since Todd Grantham is an offensive lineman who dreamed up a defense, which he never could teach to anyone.

Rick_James
Rick_James

@GTBob

"The guy has only 4 years of college coaching experience and only one year of experience as a DC. You may want to wait a little while before anointing him the greatest defensive mind that ever lived."

Yeah Bob we know..You'd rather have Ted Roof just like you would take Paul Johnson over Mark Richt..And UGA never does anything right until the last Saturday in November.

DaltonbywayofBickley
DaltonbywayofBickley

It was immediately obvious Grantham to Louisville in itself was addition by subtraction. But then to learn that Pruitt had as a goal to be on Mark Richt's staff after he coordinated the top defense in the nation seemed like a miracle. The staff he's assembling seems great. No UGA fan has any right to expect anything better than has happened these past few weeks. Pinch me. What a great set of circumstances.

Dewnsav
Dewnsav

proof is in the pudding...really like the hire, it looks great, but we'll see...I THINK it will be much better...I'll feel better if and when I see the D dominating...go dogs

GSU93
GSU93

I don't know much about Ekeler but sounds good that he's also a special teams guy. I read that he's interviewing with Richt today.  I just hope they make an announcement by Monday as it would be ideal to have the full staff in place before Wed.  Finish the drill!

JeffersonDavisHogg
JeffersonDavisHogg

Just read where Rocker was hired for 300,000 and Sherrer for 200,000. Both are 1 yr contracts. I kind of figured it would have taken more than that for Rocker to come aboard even being unemployed.

thebucket
thebucket

I am cautiously optimistic at this point about the defensive changes. There were reasons and excuses for the lack of success on defense the last couple of years. In 2012 there was a lack of team depth that hurt the defenses effort in the second half of games. That was the year we were down to 68 scholarship players. No doubt the starters were talented, but there wasn't much behind them. Last year there was a ton of new starters so there was going to be some hard knocks early and there were. My main problem with Grantham last year is that the defense didn't get better as the season progressed and he didn't build any depth despite the fact that they had brought in over 30 recruits. None of the new LB's got any significant playing time.

RandyHall
RandyHall

DawgGoneIt....has some valid points....but is living a pipedream if he thinks Will Friend and his OL will be better....they were inconsistent last year w/ 3 seniors...none of which sniffed any All SEC selections!!! And to think....the OL will be more physical and better in '14....Friend has under-recruited in size and #'s!!!    

Redding
Redding

I' a little confused by the statement that Ekeler "would be another good edition."


Is he a newspaper?

THEBuckeyes1
THEBuckeyes1

You can book it that THE Ohio State University will win the 2014 National Championship in basketball and football!

gbal
gbal

New blood... New ideas.... That's all we can say at this point. Hope it translates into improvement on the field but we won't know till fall


ThomasBrown
ThomasBrown

@grh0317 Your defense of Ted Roof gave up 4 TD to just Todd Gurley II alone and 41 points to us.  Why wouldn't you be then over on your own blogs working on your Defense ?

NCDawg
NCDawg

@DrPhill That is of course true but if somebody hands you a great set of circumstances and says run with it, don't you think that your average person would think "life just got much better?"  The fan base's attitude is better and most people won't count that as important but it is.  The negativity was a balck hole for momentum for the program.  Any shift in that is a serious improvement.

Dewnsav
Dewnsav

@Mulk  guess it's better than being a tek fan where the only excitement for the fan base is trolling UGA stories and making derogatory posts...feeling better Mulk ?? go dogs

DogBreath
DogBreath

I guess Toad was implying last year's defense was basically Spineless.

DawgGoneIt
DawgGoneIt

@DaltonbywayofBickley  Agreed. We have nowhere to go but up on defense. It can't be any worse with Pruitt who seems to be a proven winner everywhere he's been. He's won championships at every stop in his career. From high school to when he went to Alabama to coach the secondary from 10-2012. Then at FSU last season as a DC and they were rock solid on defense. He is inheriting a lot of talent here. 10 starters returning. Gonna be fun.

DogBreath
DogBreath

Why is it THEButtGuy is always trolling UGA? No meaningful life in BLOhio?

barking spider
barking spider

Hey Mr. Browneye this is a Bulldog blog. Please do us all a favor and go back to making out with your Urban Meyer fathead poster plastered on your bedroom wall. Thanks and have a great weekend

barking spider
barking spider

Hey Mr. Browneye this is a Bulldog blog. Please do us all a favor and go back to making out with your Urban Meyer fathead poster plastered on your bedroom wall. Thanks and have a great weekend.

Dawg350
Dawg350

I wonder if Ohio will beat an top ten team this year?? They haven't beaten one since 2006! Woooooohoooooo!

Mulk
Mulk

@Dewnsav @Mulk I think that you stated the same thing earlier did you not? Was it derogatory ten? Derogatory? Pointing out that the excitement when Granthem was hired is eerily similar to the posts going on now? It is not derogatory, it could be history repeating itself. As you stated, why don't we wait and see......

Dewnsav
Dewnsav

@DawgGoneIt @DaltonbywayofBickley  I'm fired up, just tempering my enthusiasm 'til I see the product...Grantham generated a lot of hoopla and fell flat on his face...that being said, it LOOKS like a great situation...go dogs

barking spider
barking spider

THEBrowneye needs to get a life. If Ohio St.., errr, I mean THE Ohio State Browneyes played in the SEC and actually played a really schedule last year they would have won 8, maybe 9games last year. We really don't care what a fan of a top team in a mediocre conference has to say. Now go back to fantasizing about giving urban a passionate kiss

POAD2013
POAD2013

@Dawg350  How many have the Dogs beat. not Top 10 in week 4 but a top 10 team after January?

Dewnsav
Dewnsav

@Mulk @Dewnsav  true Mulk...so used to tek fans who live on UGA stories trashing all things UGA...you are correct, we simply agree on a wait and see approach...go dogs

DogBreath
DogBreath

Gee. There's THEButtGuy again. On a UGA blog. Go figure. No life.

POAD2013
POAD2013

@NCDawg yes very true. The problem is that many teams are way over ranked early.

How can the writers rank a team high when they get a NEW QB or lose most of the O-line? I'm not a big fan of OPINION POLLS on sports.

thebucket
thebucket

@POAD2013 @NCDawg Besides all that don't you think your team has enough problems that you could help solving without worrying about UGA? UGA Obsession Disorder is such an ugly thing.

thebucket
thebucket

@POAD2013 @NCDawg No he didn't. He replied to your fellow Tech fan Buckeye and asked him if OSU was going to beat a top 10 for the first time since 2006. It is a fact that they haven't and it also a fact that UGA did this year. You tried to come to your fellow Tech fan and fellow trolls defense and made an epic fail. Just admit it and move on.

NCDawg
NCDawg

@POAD2013 @NCDawgjust the way you want to read it.  Face it, you are extremely negatively biased against Georgia and read all comments that way.

POAD2013
POAD2013

@NCDawg So 1 Top 10 team. Dog350 makes it seem like UGa is killing top 10 teams all the time..


NCDawg
NCDawg

@POAD2013 @Dawg350and the truth is that once you beat a ranked team they often drop and most of the time they never bounce back.  SC hung in there and ended up #4.  It depends on when you lose, how high you were ranked, and who you lost to.  Losing to Georgia didn't drop SC all that far.  Beating Clemson again, launched them into position to finish that high.