“That’s what gets you to 8-5.”

Those are the words that safety Nick Williams said he hears from new defensive coordinator Todd Grantham, one of three coaches Mark Richt hired after the Bulldogs’ first five-loss season in his nine years at Georgia.

I need to quit reading Grantham stories, at least until I see how his charges perform.  Because his comments get me more pumped up about the defense than is sensible, given all the in-season let downs we’ve all observed over the past few years after being seduced with preseason sweet talk about new attitudes.

But it’s so hard to resist when you read quotes like this.

“Every day we talk about that,” Williams said. “Every day somebody says 8-5. It’s on our minds all the time because that’s something coach Grantham makes sure. He lets us know he doesn’t want to get back to (8-5). … It just keeps our intensity up in practice and just keeps us going hard. Every day he’s letting us know 8-5, 8-5, 8-5. Every day. That’s something we do not want to experience again.”

It’s clear that Grantham knows his Xs and Os.  If it turns out that he’s the best motivator at Georgia since Erk, I’m not sure I could handle it.  But I’d like to find out if I could.

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44 Comments

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44 responses to ““That’s what gets you to 8-5.”

  1. baltimore dawg

    that’s one of the things that’s so encouraging about the new coaches: it’s hard to improve if you can’t acknowledge that standards had slipped, and that kind of frankness can’t happen when you’ve got coaches who are just trying to defend their jobs. i just think that a fresh start on that side of the ball is going to make a world of difference to this team.

  2. Captain Obvious

    Willie was ok with average to mediocre. Grantham is not and the players know it.

  3. Brandon

    I hope I’ve seen the last wide receiver or tight end streaking wide open down the middle of the field on 3rd and 10 with no one within a ten yard radius. I hope I’ve seen the glowing white spotlessly clean jersey on a Tennessee quarterback in the 4th quarter. I hope our offense does not have to score on every possession to win a game against a good or even decent team. Grantham says all the right things, I for one am going to cut him some slack this year to implement his scheme but there is a difference between being able to say the right things and actually do it (see Charlie Weis). If Grantham’s defense does not show significant improvement within a year or two we need to fire him. Defense wins championships, the reason we all remember the early Richt years so fondly is because we played great great defense. Our offense has been good enough to win big every year since Richt has been here (with the exception of pre-Auburn game 2006), it is our defense that has been lacking hopefully Grantham’s boys will come on strong, if not I have confidence in Richt to find somebody who can restore the defense, if he showed Willy the door for lack of performance I am sure he won’t hesitate to get rid of CTG if he can’t get it done.

    • Spence

      Isn’t the fire CTG talk a little premature?

      • Brandon

        Yes it would be if there was any.

        • Bryan Carver Dawg97

          But the idea that you are only willing to give him 1-2 years is a bit over the top no?

          • merk

            Well he is only in a 3yr contract. It would be stupid to fire him if he did not do great for 2 yrs. They would be better off letting him stay another year with the heat of win big or your not comming back on him. Then at the end they do not have to piss away a ton of money to break a contract.
            I highly doubt Grantham will not at least be good. Great may not happen, but I do not see him being as bad as CWM was.

          • Brandon

            If we don’t see significant improvement from our swiss cheese defense of the last several years by the end of at least Year 2, hell yes I would say fire the DC, and no I don’t think that’s over the top. If we had fired Willy’s ass after the West Virginia game as we should have we’d all have been spared a helluva a lot of pain and Richt’s win total might be over 100 instead of at 90. God I do love this blog, we have so many critical thinkers, it really makes it fun.

            • Puffdawg

              Dude. Listen to yourself. Your statements embody why clowns like Finebaum claim Richt is on the hot seat.

              Grantham hasn’t coached a single game and you’ve already figured out the timeline for firing him. Step back from the ledge my friend!

              • Brandon

                Puffdawg, I’m not on the ledge my friend. I specifically affirmed my support of Richt in my first post, I also specifically said I would cut Grantham some slack this year to implement his scheme. My comments are not Grantham specific, they would apply to any new DC. I don’t think its that radical to demand something better out of our defense than giving up 34 points or more 10 times in two seasons as we have done in 2008 and 2009, if at the end of 2011 we haven’t done better than that, short of some sort of plague taking out half our team having occurred, we should move on.

                • Puffdawg

                  “…short of some sort of plague taking out half our team having occurred…”

                  You mean like the plague of ’08?

                  • Brandon

                    I knew is soon as I posted yesterday that I should have left that part off because somebody was going to bring that up. Nice follow through taking it down though. In any event, I don’t excuse our defense’s performance in 2008 based on injuries, the pattern of meltdowns was already well established before then and was only confirmed last year.

                • Puffdawg

                  “My comments are not Grantham specific, they would apply to any new DC.”

                  In that case, the same could be said for ANY coach period, which means it goes without saying. But dwelling on what might happen if CTG doesn’t pan out is part of the reason sportswriters have picked up on the hot seat meme in the first place.

                  I see your support of CMR (and CTG by extension). Just be careful how you phrase things or the next thing you know you’ll see CTG “on the heat seat” on the next Sportscenter!

                  • Brandon

                    I see where you are coming from, believe me I am not one of those “fire all coaches” guys, I was very anti-Willy as DC though, and I hate seeing some of the players and production we have had on offense squandered with crappy defense. I hope Grantham can turn things around, I have been very excited about the things he has said, I think he has the right philosophy, I hope is good at implementing it too, that remains to be seen, but I am pulling for him. Regardless though if by chance he doesn’t work out we shouldn’t shun his aggressive philosophy, just try to find someone who can implement it, and we shouldn’t give the next guy 5 years like we did Willy if he can’t turn it around. If there was not some significant improvement from the last two years by any DC we may have hired by the end of Year 2 I think we would have to ask serious questions about whether we wanted to waste more time with that DC.

            • Mayor of Dawgtown

              Actually, I would have relieved Willie of the DC duties (kept him as DB coach) after the ’05 Auburn game. I realize that may not seem feasible since UGA was about to play Tech and in the SECCG. But given what happened at the end of the UGA- AUB game I would have felt uncomfortable with Willie for the rest of that year and for subsequent years.

              • Brandon

                I’m with you Mayor, Kenny Irons was toss sweeping us to death in that game and Willy never adjusted. I realize you can’t guard everything on every play (not even close) but dadgum don’t let a team beat you with the same play over and over, take it away and make them beat you with something else, Willy was real bad about that. I became nervous after that game and my fear was confirmed in the Sugar Bowl that year, from after that game until Willy was fired I never had any confidence in our defense and therefore went into every year feeling like there was a limit on what we could achieve, this year for the first time since 2005 I believe the sky is the limit again. (I’m not saying I think we’ll go undefeated or anything, I think 9-3 or 10-2 is more likely but if the defense can get solidified the offense is going to be fine once Murray grows up and there’s nothing we won’t have a shot at)

    • Puffdawg

      I have no idea from where the hot seat talk comes…

  4. Spence

    Senator, as someone who reads your blog religiously and agrees with you 99% of the time, I have to write a concurring opinion on this one. CTG makes me want to headbutt fully padded football players until I bleed. But, that said, your statement that, “It’s clear that Grantham knows his Xs and Os” is premature.

    Really all we know is that he knows how to talk dirty to the fans and make us swoon. We have no idea what sort of an in-game play caller he is (unless you want to reference his stint at Cleveland). The great unknown about CTG is whether he’ll call savvy plays/blitzes at the appropriate time. He may wind up as the 2nd coming of Erk, he may show he has Bobo-like moments of head-scratching ineptitude followed by moments of greatness, or he may simply tank it and get his lunch eaten by offensive coordinators. We simply don’t know.

    Here’s to hoping he does in fact know his X’s and O’s and can use that knowledge to bring back our beloved Defense.

    Go Dawgs. Three days. Amen.

    • When I say he knows his Xs and Os, I’m simply referring to his technical knowledge. It’s clear (at least to me) that he has a definite defensive philosophy and that he’s certain about the path he wants to take to achieve results. That’s all abstract, though.

      What we don’t know yet is how that translates in the real world. Motivation is part of that, and, you’re right, so are in-game tactics.

      • Spence

        We are on the same page, sir.

      • BeerMoney

        A defensive philosophy…this is what has been missing for the last four years in Athens.

        I will say this, if CTG’s defense plays merely half as good as the way he explains it all, then it will be a vast improvement over what we have seen of late.

      • ChicagoDawg

        Indeed. I actually assume that CWM knows the technical aspects of defensive football. An indepth understanding of schemes and Xs & Os are table stakes for being a DC in the SEC. However, there are very different philosophies and approaches to get to the same result — posting Ws. Bill Oliver, Bill Arnsparger, Joe Lee Dunn, Erk, BVG, et al had differing approaches, but I have no doubt they each understood the game — including CWM.

        What resonates with me, with respect to CTG, is the fact that he seems to articulate an approach, philosophy and awareness of what UGA should be that is a perfect fit for what is needed coming off of the CWM era. Leadership, personnel evalutation and decision making have to be merged with technical X & O knowledge and to me those are the tie breaking variables that make good coaches into great coaches. We can only hope that CTGs music to our ears rhetoric translates into productivity on Saturdays.

    • If he didn’t know his Xs and Os, he would not have earned constant jobs in the NFL.

  5. jw

    OOOHH that made me want to jump up and do a snoopy dance!! 8-5, 8-5, 8-5, that is going to drive me all day! YEP, my blood is pumping now! How bout them dawgs!!

  6. What fresh hell is this?

    Defense is the new offense.

  7. Irishdawg

    Grantham has had success in the NFL, which you don’t get by coasting. He had one good defense in Cleveland and one crappy one with no talent, and the Cowboy’s D-Line has been nasty ever since he’s been there. That comes with work and knowing how to motivate players. The man can coach, and I believe the same of Belin and Lakatos.

    • jferg

      I wonder how much CTG has taught/helped improve CRG? I could be said CRG is a pretty damned good coach in his own right…but if CTG improves his coaching, DL could be a VERY special thing moving forward.

  8. Bulldog Bry

    I just sacked Sarah in Accounting, and took out Joseph in IT, who was coming across the middle.

    I blame Grantham.

  9. Bad M

    Two thumbs up, Bry.
    CWM was spoiled by the pass rush of the good years. You’re just asking for trouble on a read-n-react D when there’s no pressure.
    The team just forgot to show up at times. While it was impressive that they usually started to get it together, many times it was too late (See VaTech, WV, Alabama blkout, Tenn, Fl most years). Just need to cut down on the half game brain farts and we’d be in the top 5 every year, knockin’ on the door to the big dance.
    Hit ‘em in the mouth, Guys! Then hit ‘em again! If you want success…just take it. You can help scrape them off the turf after the game.

  10. W Cobb Dawg

    CTG obviously has a different philosophy than what we’ve had on D since BVG left. From what Nick Williams says, it appears the players are absorbing it. Ya can’t help but get jacked up about it after all we’ve been through over the past few years.

    How many more wins could Dawgs have if we were #30 in D nationally (which really isn’t very good for an SEC team), instead of #64?

  11. thewhiteshark

    We have three guys on that side of the ball with good history. It said a lot during Spring when Belin made his comment about tackling. Confirmed to me what I thought — that Georgia’s defense had a bad reputation among other coaches. I know for a fact that Alabama thought we were soft before the 2008 game. These guys are changing the culture of the defense. If Grantham can call make the right defensive calls (I have little doubt that, after having to confuse NFL QBs, he is up to the task) there is going to be a significant upgrade here. I can’t wait when we start seeing drops across the middle because receivers are hearing footsteps. We shall see, but every time I read quotes like that I get real excited.

  12. 69Dawg

    We should find out pretty quick if the D has learned any lessons. The only way to defeat the 3-4 is with draws and short passes. The QB has to get it out quick so I look for the backs and tight-ends to be the go to guys for LA LAff and SCU. If the LB’s are coached up and we actually cover these players then we know we are on to something. The only problem with this 3-4 is with a team like Ala that runs right at it, then play actions off of that. If CTG has a run blitz package we are heaven bound.

    • W Cobb Dawg

      Hadn’t thought about this til now, but Bama playing FL on Oct. 2nd gives CTG another good look at how corch’s O will approach the 3-4. With GPOOE™ gone and Brantley being a different type of QB, last year’s seccg tape isn’t of much use.

      • Hackerdog

        Saban coaches a 2-gap version of the 3-4. Grantham coaches a 1-gap version. I’m sure something can be learned by watching a team play the different version of the defense, but I don’t know how much.

  13. oh, it's a lady

    saturday cannot get here fast enough for any of us!

  14. 12-2

    And, the OFFENSE ?