Continuity, for the win

This should go down swimmingly with certain segments of the fan base.

If defensive coordinator Todd Grantham leaves Georgia after this season, it will be of his own volition.

Bulldogs coach Mark Richt, speaking to reporters on his weekly Sunday evening conference call, said he does not plan to make any changes to his current coaching staff between now and next season. The Bulldogs defeated Georgia Tech 41-34 in double overtime Saturday to finish 8-4 overall. They opened the season ranked No. 5 in the Associated Press rankings and were favored to win the SEC’s Eastern Division.

“Everybody should be back,” Richt said, answering a question specifically about Grantham. “I mean, everybody’s got to do what they’ve got to do as far as if they have opportunities and all that kind of thing. We have some things we’ve certainly got to get better at, but continuity is a good thing for Georgia.”

I sure hope Richt’s right about the youth and injuries, because otherwise it’ll be the same old, same old, which, while admittedly entertaining, will probably leave the record a little short in the wins department again.

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82 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

82 responses to “Continuity, for the win

  1. Andrew

    Oh fun. Here’s to hoping he bolts for the league after signing day.

    • Brandon

      Yeah I hope some NFL team decides they can’t live without him. I really thought Richt had learned his lesson. I love Richt but when bad defense gets him fired I’ll have the solace that he brought it on himself. It’s just a shame for the offensive coaches, and all the players who fight so hard and in a year or two will lose the SEC championship game because our seasoned seniors and juniors who will play on Sunday can’t get lined up properly on defense.

  2. Rick

    Seems like the right call. 2012 is still Grantham’s worst year relative to talent, IMO, and I don’t think this year was bad enough to ‘prove’ that Grantham isn’t a satisfactory long term solution, so I can’t remotely justify the almost guaranteed rough ‘transition year’ in moving a new coordinator along with the recruiting hit.

    Next year is another story – if we can’t muster a defense solidly in the top third of the conference with 10 returners, I’ll be ready to throw Grantham’s salary at ‘the field’.

    • Chopdawg

      Agreed. Give him one more year to coach the young defense.

    • WF dawg

      I think I’m about where you are, minus the “remotely” part of it. The preponderance of the evidence tips me ever so slightly toward keeping him. But it’s about 55%-45% for me.

    • Bulldawg165

      If we didn’t have an elite defense in 2011 with all of the talent we had we will never have an elite defense. Experience won’t matter.

      • Rick

        I think you mean 2012? The thing is, we had that same talent in 2011 a year younger and had a very good D (277 yards/g), though still not ‘elite’.

        • Bulldawg165

          I did mean 2012, but we only seemed to have a good defense in 2011 because we played the eight worst sec offenses in the regular season. We still got torched everytime we played a decent team.

  3. Rock and Roll Rebel

    Someone PLEASE offer Scott Lakatos a job like NOW!!!!!!!!!

  4. Bulldawg165

    I hope we at least give Bobo a hefty raise considering we don’t care to put our entire team’s success on his shoulders.

  5. Well there’s news that pours cold water over the Tech victory. Oh, God, PLEASE someone hire the man.

  6. HVL Dawg

    I’d say Greg McGarity is thinking of 850,000 reasons to give the defense a year to mature. After all, it’s pretty exciting to watch the reserve fund grow.

  7. Turd Ferguson

    I can maybe understand keeping Grantham around for another year, for reasons already acknowledged by some above. And if the youth/inexperience factor is significant enough to tip the scales in Grantham’s favor, it’d be really hard to justify getting rid of Lakatos.

    But I’m not sure I see the argument for keeping Will Friend around at this point. I *might* agree that the defense showed signs of improvement as the year went on, but the OL is still just as mediocre and unpredictable as it’s been for a few years now, if not worse.

    • Rock and Roll Rebel

      Our DBs were giving up wide open pass routes to untouched receivers in game one. They did the same last night. I beg you to tell me what justifies keeping a position coach who is obviously not coaching his position effectively. This is college ball, and “youth” will always be a factor. He gets paid to coach youth. Just my two cents.

      • adam

        We were missing 1/2 of our weakest personnel unit. And it was our two best DBs.

        Let me ask you this… If David Andrews and Chris Burnette missed a game, how do you think the OL would look?

        • Gene Simmons

          I am certainly not advocating an “either/or” approach. I agree that Friend has not earned his paycheck. It’s just that we have been more able to overcome the O line derps than the d back derps, which almost always cost us points. This is indeed a frustrating time to be a true fan, to be sure. I don’t envy CMR’s job. Certainly it is a tough one. Here’s hoping that some coaches either leave on their own, or perhaps (and preferably) start earning their paychecks.

          • adam

            An OL missed assignment is a sack or quick QB pressure or a blown up running play (happened a lot this year). A DB missed assignment is a TD or a big gain. So, it looks different and the DB one makes people madder. But there’s no reason we shouldn’t want to fix the OL crap just as much as the DB crap.

            Also, Grantham is as responsible for the DB issues as Bobo is for the OL issues, IMO. And I’m not calling for their heads. I want new position coaches. Bummed to hear that almost definitely won’t happen.

  8. uglydawg

    I’m comfortable with one more year of TG.
    I’ll defend my position.’
    Some of the teams that scored a lot on UGA also have scored significantly on more “respected” defenses.
    Offenses are just getting better and better. It’s a new game..an offensive one.
    Rules and officiating favors the offense. Holding is legal…tackling hard or near the boundry..not so much.
    Georgia’s offense was beat up badly. This effects the defense in intangable ways..ie…the opponents gameplan..more willing to gamble, go for it on fourth, etc. ..knowing the offense can’t make them pay (in theory).
    Also the defense IS young and hasn’t been without injuries. They got screwed by the officiating after making some pretty important stops in key games…etc.
    Frankly, I’m a little bit dismayed to find our Senator encamped with the “fire the coach” crowd…because this IS one time where things are deeper than sheet stats and he’s usually digging pretty deep into reason.
    Improvement is important and I believe it is already happening. Continuity is very important also.
    If Georgia’s defense hasn’t shown significant improvement by this time next year, I’ll sadly admit my error today.

    • uglydawg

      And, Senator..if I’m mistaken in my comment that you are encamped with the fire CTG crowd, I apologize. It’s just seems to be your drift as of late. We’re all frustrated about the D, but I believe there have been some uncanny things that have compounded an already difficult task for CTG.

    • Biggus Rickus

      In games against actual competition (any team from a BCS conference):

      Clemson scored their 6th most points against Georgia (and I’m being charitable calling some teams in the ACC actual competition)
      South Carolina, their fifth most
      LSU, their most
      Tennessee, their most
      Missouri, their 4th most
      Vandy, their 3rd most
      Florida, their 4th most
      Auburn, their 3rd most
      Kentucky, their 3rd most
      Georgia Tech, their 3rd most

      So basically, Georgia managed to outperform a bunch of lousy ACC defenses against Clemson. They couldn’t even manage that against Tech. South Carolina was, relatively speaking, their second best performance, but if you watched the game, it felt like a miracle when they got any stop at all.

      The defense didn’t improve throughout the season. The offenses merely got worse, and that lack of improvement coupled with the waste of talent in 2012 leaves me highly skeptical of Grantham and the rest of the defensive staff. I hope it works out next year, but unless the offense plays lights out all year I don’t see Georgia winning the SEC. They may get back to Atlanta and win 10 games, though.

      • Mayor of Dawgtown

        ^This. There is no commitment from the school, the AD or, it appears now, the HC to have championship teams any more. It’s all about the dinero. This is a very dangerous road to take for CMR. He’s already had one losing season. Another mediocre one this year. If the Dawgs put up 5 wins or less next year with the talent they have I’m betting CMR is history. Plus, really has there ever been a college football team that consistently underachieved as badly as the Georgia Bulldogs under CMR? What a waste of talent!!

        • Biggus Rickus

          Georgia under Jim Donnan and Georgia under Ray Goff off the top of my head.

          • Biggus Dickus

            There’s a consistent theme here, Bro. Can you figure it out or do the other personalities have to explain it to you? (Hint: Maybe it’s not just the coaches?)

      • McTyre

        This+1000*

    • RocketDawg

      I have to agree with you on this one. I am not a Grantham lover by any means but if you look at things in context I think that he has earned one more year to prove himself and I’ll defend my position on this:

      1-Inexperienced secondary-yes this is a result of somewhat poor recruiting but it is also due to some attrition as well. The guy who was supposed to be our #1 CB this year is the starting QB at Auburn. Corey Moore hasn’t exactly panned out and Mark Deas hasn’t played at all this year to my knowledge. I think the Tech game showed us why Wiggins and Langley have started over Dawson all season, he is seriously lacking in man-to-man cover skills. Next year we will have a starting secondary of Wiggins (with a whole year in the weight room to get stronger), Swann, JHC, and Matthews with Mauger and Shaq Fluker as backups. We also have a couple of JUCO secondary players coming as well.
      2-Front Seven-The front seven played pretty well all year with the exception of crossing routes underneath and generating pressure on 3rd down. I believe that this goes back to the inexperience in the secondary and the fact that a blitz creates one-on-one situations in the back end. Leonard Floyd should be a beast with another year in the S&C department.
      We also return all of our DL except Sterling Bailey.

      If we underperform on defense next year I will be calling for Grantham’s head.

  9. DawgBiscuit

    North Texas, Florida, Appalachian State, and Kentucky. That is the list of teams we held under 30 points this season. And we’re retaining Grantham. Sigh.

    • IAmAGurleyMan

      It is indeed shameful. There is no way anyone can justify this man has earned the right to keep his job after the way the defense has performed the last two years.

    • adam

      Tennessee and Vandy belong on that list as well, but special teams mistakes hurt us there.

      Still, with a competent secondary, the defense would look a lot better.

  10. Bright Idea

    Not a surprise but like Muschamp and Pelini every game starting with the first one will be a referendum on Grantham. That will be like 2009 for us all over again. At least he’s not the head coach.

  11. heyberto

    2 things. First, I think Richt might be putting his own tail on the line. If the CTG project hasn’t worked out next year, it could be his own job on the line. That being said, this may be the right decision.
    Second, I get the continuity argument, but he really waited one year to long to cut Martinez loose. If its broke, it’s broke and better to pull the plug now. I’m concerned CTG’s system doesn’t work for CFB. Too complex, takes too long to get it down. Did experienced guys really get it down good enough to run it properly? I’m not so sure. Our most experienced team last year was adequate to support winning games, but couldn’t quite get it done either.

    I do hope Richt is right. I want UGA to get back to punishing defense.

    • Gene Simmons

      I have had this same conversation with several who are in the know. CTG’s system is very complicated. A friend of mine knows Jarvis Jones and, according to him, Jarvis said that the Steelers defense was much easier to learn than CTG’s. This is my concern with college kids. CTG was in the NFL for a long time and his defense is an NFL defense.

      • adam

        A) I don’t trust hearsay
        B) FSU, Florida, Alabama, and Michigan State run equally complex systems.
        C) If Jarvis *did* say something like that, it’s worth considering that after learning Grantham’s system, learning another pro-style 3-4 defense would be a lot easier than learning Grantham’s scheme the first time was. I am positive that Dick LeBeau has a pretty complex system with a TON of complex blitzes and zone blitzes.

        • Gene Simmons

          With all that being said, do you believe that CTG’s defense is suitable for college? It just seems that it takes the players too long to really get it.
          I’ll hang up and listen….

          • adam

            If the system at MSU, Bama, UF, FSU, etc. is suitable, then yes. We need to make sure we’re doing a good job teaching the scheme, but I don’t think the scheme is the issue.

            • RC

              That has long been my concern/contention- it’s not that I don’t think TG is a bright guy. Clearly he is. It isn’t that I think the scheme itself is too complex for college. As you and others have observed, it is clearly successful in other outposts. I just really question TG’s ability to communicate the knowledge and experience he clearly has to today’s college athlete. That doesn’t make him a bad coach, or certainly not a bad person. It just makes him a bad fit here, and that’s why I will continue to hope that somebody hires him away this off-season and we can get an established college DC in here. And no- I don’t buy into the whole scheme change/recruiting lag/sky is falling argument. We will be better than fine if the right change is made.

        • W Cobb Dawg

          Sorry Adam, but its a false analogy. If CTG coached the teams you cite, their D would get worse. Those teams are prepared, tackle well, have players in the correct position (even freshmen). Some teams go with a 3-4, but that’s where the similarities end.

      • Mayor of Dawgtown

        Plus college kids have a limited amount of time. NFL players can work on learning the system full time.

  12. Aladawg

    I agree that the bigger issue is Will Friend and strength and conditioning. I can live with CTG one more year, but Friend has gotta go. Aladawg

    • Not a snark, I’m genuinely asking, what makes you think changes need to be made in S&C? This was the first year in a long time that I can’t remember any game where I thought we wore down towards the end of the game. I still see complaints about S&C though, I’m wondering if I am missing something. Unless you feel like the injuries are a result of a deficiency in that area…….I don’t have enough medical knowledge to argue that point either way.

      • SAtownDawg

        We have OL who have been in the program for three to four years now and they don’t seem to be any stronger than when they came in

        • adam

          If they don’t block people with good technique, it’s hard to say how strong or weak they are. Especially if they just don’t block anyone at all (like Theus does all too often).

          • Dawgfan Will

            Yeah, I’ve got to agree with this. I’m not very knowledgeable at all, but the o-line problems seem technique-related. I mean, none of the tackles seem to be able to hold their own against a speed rush.

  13. TennesseeDawg

    Although no coaches will be “fired”, certain coaches might be “encouraged” to pursue other opportunities. Wink, wink.

  14. Bulldog Joe

    I am not surprised. It helps with recruiting.

    I pray we learned some lessons about simplifying the scheme, evaluating our discipline policies, motivation methods, strength and conditioning, and how we deal with the SEC.

    It is long past time we own up to the institutional barriers we put in front of our team’s success and change them. We lose as many games off the field as we do on.

    What we are doing now is not working. And will never work.

  15. 69Dawg

    Barring a UF like dumpster fire, CMR will not cut his guys lose. We just have to get used to the cardiac canines. It’s going to be like watching tennis and hoping that our team can break service. I for one need the off season to recover and prepare for 2014.

  16. Skeptic Dawg

    I have joined the “UGA admin and athletic department are to blame” camp. Our beloved University has created far too many barriers for this football program to succeed. I root for the kids wearing the “G” I so love. Coaches will come and go, so I hold zero loyalty to the men on the sideline. That being said, Richt is now walking the plank with Grantham. I sure hope that JSW is the only suspension for 2014. GATA!

  17. Coastal Dawg

    I just don’t get the S&C comments. We outplayed every team in the 4th quarter and never looked gassed. I don’t remember a game where we got pushed around. I would agree that we came out flat against Mizzu and Auburn, but I don’t think they were stonger.

    • Ginny

      Agreed. And blaming S&C for the unusual amount of injuries is a bit unfounded I think.

      • I don’t understand all the complaints about S&C, either. And I mean that literally. A team that finished off two games with eight-minute drives and fashioned huge comebacks in two of its last three games doesn’t strike me as having strength/stamina issues. What am I missing?

        • AusDawg85

          Weaker bench too because of the injuries, so probably far less substitutions than normal. Why does no one say FL’s problem is S&C?

  18. Dawgfan Will

    As I said elsewhere, Grantham has now been given enough rope to climb out of the enormous hole the D dug this season…or enough rope to hang himself.

  19. I think that several of the Dawg Coaches will be coaching for their jobs next year, Especially those coaching the defense.

  20. Bob Sackamono

    It would be nice to truly understand what CMRs expectations are for his defense, offense and special teams. In addition, it would be nice to hear him give a thoughtful and true analysis of the performance of the three throughout the 2013 season. It’s very hard to sit here and say, fire this guy, fire that guy without knowing truly understanding what he thinks of all areas. This is probably not the case, but maybe he came into the season thinking this was the worst defense he ever had at UGA and Grantham overachieved. Or Colin Barber was no more fit to be a punter than McGarity. You just never know and unfortunately coaches are very political in that they play up and play down situations to temper expectations or not shine a light on a major weakness, player, etc.

  21. BulldogBen

    The facts are that this years D gave up it’s most yards since 1999 and the most points per game in program history.

    That can be spun several ways but it’s still the elephant the room and if it doesn’t get fixed, this team will forever be in 8-9 win purgatory.

    • Mayor of Dawgtown

      “8-9 win purgatory.” If we’re lucky. In ’13 UGA easily could have lost 2 more games (FU and UT) plus arguably could have lost 2 more (USCe and Tech). That’s 4-8 folks.

      • KingCantona

        So let’s do nothing and be happy with 8-9 wins per season? Never reach for something more? Just hope that maybe it falls in our collective lap? You have to take risks at times if you want to be great. Yes, you may fall on your face. But isn’t it better to try and fail than to simply produce the same results over and over — knowing that your ceiling is limited? And, I’m sorry, the way things currently stack up with our program, we are limited. That certainly includes our defensive coordinator but also extends to our head coach, AD and overall attitude toward athletics from the top down.

        It’s all kind of a moot point anyway, as fans and alums can do little to change things in Athens — short of a mass boycott of ticket sales (which will never happen so long as we keep on winning 8-9). But damn it is frustrating to see so many so content to be above average. I would love — just once a decade even — to be exceptional, and we haven’t been that (as a team) since 2002 (and even that season included a “d’oh!” moment).

        2005 included too many losses to be exceptional — though the SEC title win was sweet. 2007 also had its great moments but no sustained excellence. 2012 was close but, again, produced a mind-numbing instance of complete ineptitude.

        I would love to see a program that looks like it refuses to accept anything less than ultimate success. We have such poor fundamentals on defense (and, yes, on the offensive line at times too) that it drives me to distraction, and there are plenty others that see it too. I wonder if our coach is one of them? And, if so, why little is being done to remedy that?

        • Mayor of Dawgtown

          Completely agree with your post Cat. That said, does “a mind-numbing instance of complete ineptitude” mean the ’12 UGA-South Carolina game or the end of game failure to spike the ball in the SECCG that cost us the SECChampionship and the BCSNC?

      • Ginny

        We could have easily won several more games too (Vandy, Auburn). Win those two and we’re looking at a 10-win season. It goes both ways.

  22. Nashville West

    We need to hire a special teams coach. North Texas put 2 special teams touchdowns on us. Young Mr. Tommy Perry of North Texas would seem to be a big improvement on anything we’re doing now.

  23. W Cobb Dawg

    Doing the same thing and expecting different results is the definition of insanity. We tweak at the corners, but overall very little actually changes. The abundant talent available to UGA allows us to win 8+ games a season without much effort. CMR is saying 4 losses with this program is the norm. He’s also saying nothing much is really going to change between now and next season. Anybody who doesn’t like it, well T.S.

    Some fans have deluded themselves into thinking CMR’s goal is the mnc. It’s not. In 13 seasons he’s rarely shown that level of ability or commitment. So I’m not surprised he’ll retain CTG, Lakatos & Friend – new coaches would mean CMR would have to do extra work to find better replacements, and he’s not gonna do that.

  24. Greg McGarity, your athletic director

    Now that the season is over, I sincerely hope that those of you who haven’t already done so give serious consideration to making your Hartman Fund donation as soon as possible. The Hartman Fund funnels into our reserve fund and, as many of you know, our reserve fund is the lifeblood of our program. Things are just fine at UGA and we are very happy with the way we do things.

    Thank you for your support,
    Greg

  25. JRW7

    CMR is one more stubborn SOB when it comes to firing coaches, and it will be his own downfall!