Posted: 5:31 pm Sunday, January 12th, 2014

Where will UGA turn after Todd Grantham? 

By Mark Bradley

Todd Grantham

“Yeah, baby! One million per season! I’m the man!” (AP photo/David Tulis)

Esteemed colleague Chip Towers is reporting that Todd Grantham is leaving Georgia to become defensive coordinator at Louisville under Bobby Petrino, of whom you’ve heard. This constitutes a major upheaval for the Bulldogs, who must find a new coordinator not a month before Signing Day.

There was a time during the 2013 season when it appeared Grantham, who presided over an underwhelming Georgia D for the second consecutive year, might be urged to pursue some of those opportunities he had publicly courted while in Athens. And this change – from the SEC East to the ACC Atlantic, in which Louisville will begin play in 2014 – would seem something of a downward move.

But Louisville is famous for spending big – not that Georgia already hadn’t, sinking $850,000 annually into Grantham – and Mark Richt had said after the season that he wanted all his assistant coaches to return. (Secondary coach Scott Lakatos resigned on Thursday, citing “personal reasons.”)

(Sure enough, Joe Schad of ESPN reports that Louisville will pay Grantham $1 million per year over five seasons.)

Rank It: Pick defensive coordinator candidates

Grantham’s tenure at Georgia can serve as a case study in the fickle fortunes of collegiate coaching. He was hailed as an upgrade over Willie Martinez when he was hired, and in his second season the Bulldogs played such terrific defense – they held No. 1 LSU to no first downs in the first half of the SEC championship game – that Grantham was elevated to Rock Star status among UGA fans.

But the 2012 defense, despite the presence of a half-dozen talents of NFL caliber, didn’t perform to expectations, and the 2013 unit wasn’t very good, either. Thus did the Rock Star’s popularity plummet as quickly as Vanilla Ice’s.

It will be intriguing to see where Richt turns. Before settling on Grantham, he tried to hire John Chavis, now entrenched at LSU, and Bud Foster, who might only be a year away from succeeding Frank Beamer as head coach at Virginia Tech. The hottest names among defensive coordinators are Kirby Smart, the former Bulldog working at Alabama, and Pat Narduzzi, who has had great success at Michigan State, but both figure to be looking to take head-coaching jobs, not to make lateral moves.

One name to note: Manny Diaz was considered a long-shot candidate for the UGA opening, but he was then at Middle Tennessee State. He has since moved to Mississippi State, where he did fine work, and then to Texas, where he was by Mack Brown two games into the 2013 season after an egregious loss to BYU. Richt and Diaz worked together at Florida State in the late ’90s.

And Brian VanGorder, who was named Georgia’s DC after Richt left FSU to take the Georgia job, is off the market. He just accepted the position as Notre Dame’s defensive coordinator. And Will Muschamp, another former Bulldogs, has not yet gotten himself fired as Florida’s coach.

It’s possible Richt could choose, especially at this late date, to stay in-house and bump up linebackers coach Kirk Olivadotti. But let’s face it: In a world where the famous failure Lane Kiffin can land at Alabama as offensive coordinator, what isn’t possible?

168 comments
GTMan1949
GTMan1949

  Take Paul Johnson, he sure cant run an offense, maybe defense would be his future.

BigIrishMike
BigIrishMike

Two guys to throw the bank at would be Ed Oregeron and Pat Narduzi.  I disagree the UGA from Michigan State would be a lateral move. Succes in the SEC will put him in the best position for a good job. Oregeron is the best at recuirting talent.

96JB
96JB

High profile names. Forget it. Fill the slot at 400K and hope to find a diamond in the rough. We're looking at talent to win 8, 9 games over here. Not willing to write a chk for 1.3 per year to hire a solid resume. Just watch.

96JB
96JB

Richt will hire someone comfy chemistry wise. Proven DC is about 3rd on list for Richt. Seriously.

Getting_Older
Getting_Older

Red McCombs is recommending Charlie Strong as a DC for UGA.  It makes about as much sense as thinking Kirby Smart, Pat Narduzi, or John Chavis would leave their current DC job to come to UGA (as DC).  Randy Shannon however seems like a very viable candidate.  

gbal
gbal

Ed Oregeron

countryboi706
countryboi706

I like Randy Shannon! He's was a great D. Coordinator at the U (Miami) for years and he is familiar with recruiting in this part of the country. It also would not hurt to add a little more color to the coaching staff.  

MikeS777
MikeS777

Hard to say who they should go after.  Seems a bit bad timing for any of the good candidates, but you never know.  I'm not sure I would hire Manny Diaz though.  If he couldn't put together a good unit at Texas (where they get the pick of recruits in one of the top 3 recruiting states), how is he going to come in here and do anything?

daddydog
daddydog

Kirby Smart, Randy Shannon(top 10 D. every year he was DC) ,or Narduzzi(should be affordable for UGA).

Quackmeyer
Quackmeyer

If you read between the lines, McGarity is very pleased w/ this development.  As is 99% of the Dawg Nation.

ShovelPlease
ShovelPlease

It would be expensive (very expensive), but I'd make a run at Nick Saban as def. coordinator.

WhiskeyBreath
WhiskeyBreath

Don't worry Ga, as long as you have Brother you will figure out how to fudge it up.

Then you guys can tell us it is everybody's fault except Brother. 


Peachs
Peachs

Good programs and coaches make upward moves; no one on this staff seems to have that mojo to be a head coach.With that in mind what aspiring young coach wants the wet blanket of Georgia on his resume?

Strong was a Spurrier man, if anyone is keeping score. He is now making more money than the old ball coach, now that is real success

And as far as a weak ACC, if overpaying bums to mentor our youth and winning football games is our goal, seems to me the ACC is as low as anyone now days and getting lower which is bad news for the SEC if that is your measuring stick.I keep waiting for the thugs in Miami to show back up. What modern football has that saves us from all this is limited scholarships. Thugs as TG show Georgia do not get in condition. If you can hang with them till the fourth quarter all the talent in the world won’t help an out of shape and weak character of a thug.

scp1
scp1

CMR will hire CKO.  Fits hs program, etc  No big name to overshadow him.  He can continue to stand on the sideline and smirk while CMB calls predicted plays, we kick, and same ole, same ole.

ThomasBrown
ThomasBrown

Must be a proven Defensive Coordinator.

decatur_g
decatur_g

I would see if long-time Penn State DL coach Larry Johnson is interested.  He has pumped out some quality DL to the NFL and he is probably tired of always being the fallback/bridesmaid whenever Penn State has coaching issues.

Gadawgs3
Gadawgs3

We will be ok and I hope cmr stays as long as he want.yall forgetting what we had b4 him goff and donnan.

Adamsran
Adamsran

It's Diaz.  CMR wlll go back to someone he knows and trust.


That simple.

HotDawg
HotDawg

Finally shutup all the grantham critics.

HotDawg
HotDawg

A year early for muschamp.

Ask kirby smart again. You never know.

OldFan
OldFan

It doesn't matter. UGA is an average team with an average staff.  Only a wholesale change will help this drift.


DrTruth
DrTruth

THIS is what's missing here:  


Nobody wanted that job 3 years ago....Richt settled for the 4th or 5th guy on his list then.  Worse still, nobody wants that job now...Not even Todd "Mugshot" Grantham.


How absolutely depressing can it be for Dawg Fans when even $850K/Year can't retain a complete LOSER like Grantham?  Simply DEVASTATING for the UGA Football Program and Athletic Association!


Grantham was a HIGH-PROFILE HIRE by RICHT himself...Now he walks away from $850K?  Just another superb FAIL by Mark Richt.


Richt is destroying UGA Football one brick at a time.  Now they're about to once again OVERPAY for LESS TALENT than good old Willie M.  Maybe he's available?  I'm sure Richt has already given him a call.


Too bad Willie has Caller I.D...And a long memory.....lol  

Sail Dawg
Sail Dawg

Here is one from right field; Leslie Frazier, form CHI Bears ProBowl DB and former MN Vikings Head Coach?

Furrdaddy
Furrdaddy

I just read that CBS Sports reported that UGA has contacted David Gibbs, DC @ Houston to gauge interest.

As always, the G is looking to make a big time hire. Wow...

GATA!

UGA85'

58Supersports
58Supersports

Thank u Lord!

Now Richt can get some one he wants and he didn't have to fire his biggest problem. Richt  is to nice to fire

anybody. The DC at Central Fla would be good.

KeepOnSmilingWetWillie
KeepOnSmilingWetWillie

Smart is at Disney World with his family. He hasn't discussed anything with UGA at this point. However UGA is going to offer him 2mil a year and HCIW.

Saw the above posted on another site. If this is true then Mark has told the AD complex he will coach two more years max. Could be a great hire for UGA.  It will not be a bad thing for Bama either since Nick will hire Pruitt away from FSU and off we go. Silly season at it's best.  Roll Tide

Looks like Big Ed will sign on with Bama on Monday but that could change. Brick Haley is in the mix and even an old Pat Dye player Tracy Rocker has asked about the gig along with Wilson and Marlon Hobby of Clemson.

DrPhill
DrPhill

Orgeron would be a good hire.  Grantham's sideline antics encouraged thuggish behavior and penalties. 

Dewnsav
Dewnsav

Warren Belin..??..go dogs

WhiskeyBreath
WhiskeyBreath

NCDawg, I warned you about using words you don't even know the meaning.

Fellow mutts are not impressed, but keep fooling yourself

gulfwavesgary
gulfwavesgary

I am so.glad to see this pathetic coach leave. Than you Lord. Now Mark Richt will have no more excuses to lift this program. One year or he goes.

JaySly
JaySly

can  bobby get todd a ride on his hawg with one of his campus girlfriends???  todd would appreciate it

SinceVince
SinceVince

Hire Carl Pelini.. He can smoke a big ole Spliff with the playa's!

BigTimeTECHFan
BigTimeTECHFan

Charles Kelly would be a nice pick. He's going to be a nice DC someday, player love him and he recruits well


POAD2013
POAD2013

Do you really think RIChT will hire a guy with a bigger personality then himself or Bobo?

I doubt Richt will hire somebody that could replace him or Bobo in a year or two.

NCDawg
NCDawg

I will not be distressed if we don't get the Narduzzi or Foster type hire.  Smart is a longshot... it depends on what he has been promised outside his salary.  I want a guy that teaches fundamentals and is aggressive.  And most of all I want a scheme that doesn't try to reinvent the wheel.


Just remember that all the top DCs were unknowns before they got their jobs at a bigger school and started building their reputations.

Phillipdj
Phillipdj

Orgeron:

1. He's a great Defensive mind

2. He's a top shelf recruiter

3. He has intensity and fire

4. He's coached in the SEC

5. He knows all the HS coaches in the southeast

Crime dog
Crime dog

That is way too much for smart! Waste of money!

Snagglepuss
Snagglepuss

@POAD2013


CMR will be UGA HC as long as he likes so shift on to another topi!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

NCDawg
NCDawg

@Phillipdjhe has never been a DC at any level...he has always been a position coach.  His stint as a head coach was an absolute failure at Ole Miss.


Not sure that he is the guy we want.

Phillipdj
Phillipdj

I hear ya - but he does have extensive defensive background. Studied under Monte Kiffin and others - and he's known for keeping it simple, aggressive and disciplined all the while the players adore the guy.

Others would be the guy from the Texans (forget his name suddenly), Randy Shannon, Chan Gailey (yeah I said it), Wade Phillips or Kirby (won't come to Uga unless he knows Richt is retiring in 3-4 years).

Don't forget - whoever the new guy is also has to hire the most crucial position coach for '14 - Defensive Backs. Tons of young talent who need to be coached up!

Trackbacks

  1. […] – Mark Bradley of the AJC writes on where Georgia may turn to replace Grantham. […]

  2. […] won national championships as Alabama’s defensive coordinator. If the Bulldogs could hire him to replace Todd Grantham, it would be the biggest “get” for Georgia since the guy from Wrightsville signed his […]

  3. […] help but be impressed by the drive and dispatch shown by Georgia in landing Jeremy Pruitt to replace Todd Grantham. When Grantham was hired, he’d never been a college defensive coordinator, nor had he — […]