Game day thoughts: Grantham vs. Johnson

I’m on my way up for what I expect will be a long, chilly day (and night) in Athens, so for a game day thread, I leave you with what Phil Steele expects to see:

Georgia vs Georgia Tech-The Bulldogs new 3-4 defense has had mixed results this season and the last 6 games have proven that as they have held 4 opponents to under 75 rush yds while in the other two games they allowed 231 and 318 rush yds. This week they take on the nation’s #1 run offense in Georgia Tech but Georgia has several things in their favor. First, they have had an extra week to prepare for the option and last year they held GT to 205 rush yds (more than 100 yds below their ssn avg). They also need a win to clinch a bowl bid and possibly save HC Richt’s job. GT is playing with a backup QB and I think the Bulldogs hold the Yellow Jackets well below their season averages.

After you read that, go back and check out DrB’s post at Shakin the Southland about the Tech-Clemson game.  Todd Grantham’s job tonight begins with defending the dive play and likely ends with finding a way to involve Justin Houston in shutting Tech’s offense down.  I expect Paul Johnson to run away from Georgia’s best defender as much as possible; it’ll be up to Grantham to figure out how to move Houston around to thwart Johnson’s game planning.  It should make for a great chess match.


Filed under Georgia Football, Georgia Tech Football

95 responses to “Game day thoughts: Grantham vs. Johnson

  1. Macallanlover

    Spot on. Defend the dive well and that offense breaks down. Beyond that, stay disciplined in your lanes and take some chances with your DBs since they have little passing threat.

    • W Cobb Dawg

      Would love to see Alec Ogletree assert himself in this game. A big, hardhitting safety would give johnson fits.

      • Macallanlover

        Me too, we are going to need him to step up next season if we are going to turn this thing around. He might as well start playing a leadership role tonight and lead by example!

  2. Scorpio Jones, III

    It should be interesting to see Grantham’s rotation at nose. Geathers certainly has the body type the position needs, but, at least according to reports, he has been slow to learn the finer points of the job.

    The Awbun Bama game was interesting to watch because the outcome of the game was at least similar to ours, yet Bama, according to the pundits has a far superior d-line. I suppose the score was closer at least partly because of this advantage Bama.

    If we play as well defensively as we did against Awbun we should be able to beat Tech….if we don’t run out of defensive line gas late in the game.

  3. Brandon

    Even if Grantham v. Johnson is the match up to watch Bobo will still be blamed even if we lose 49-45.

  4. aious

    I am sure our offense under Bobo will find a way to put up yards but an extreme underwhelming amount of points

    • The one and only Billy Shears

      So go ahead and lay it out…what number of points would officially not be underwhelming?

      What legitimately realistic number of points would force you to compliment Bobo?

      Lay it out there, and don’t equivocate if the team hits the number.


    whaa whaa whaa, bobo this bobo that grantham this grantham that. How about putting blame where its deserved, on the players themselves. They have been put in position to win every game this year and someone picks their time to let down at the wrong time. they need to look themselves in the mirror and develope some inner strength and get their team togtherand show some leadership.

    • Ray

      Uhm, I think this was a topic about coaches………there are plenty of other posts on this site about the players if that is what gets you goin!

  6. ScoutDawg

    No I disagree. We come out hot and fast and take it to the nerds.

  7. jim

    I think this could be a 2002-ish type victory (and I’ve been the guy cautioning reason all week). I think we’re going to take a season’s worth of frustration out on these dorks

  8. The Original Cynical in Athens

    Grantham’s brother coaches linebackers at Navy, fwiw.

  9. D.N. Nation

    We really, really, really, really had no business losing to this Florida team.

    I know we ain’t all that at all, but whoo boy. I can smell the Gators all the way here.

    • The Original Cynical in Athens

      It puts into perspective just how mentally weak the program is right now.

      Got a real bad feeling that we will see that weakness creep up again tonight.

      • The Original Cynical in Athens

        And it did. Just got lucky that Gtu is to UGA as UGA is to UF.

        Really, really not sure what to think about this game. Guess I am happy that we won, but really not sure that Mark Richt should be back. This program is in shambles right now. We just choke at every critical moment. I think this should be the end, but I imagine we will get one more year of Richt. Guess we will see. Hope I am wrong.

  10. JaxDawg

    I am arguably the biggest gator hater to post on this website, so to say I am absolutely sickened by the way FSU is manhandling UF is a tremendous understatement. DN spells it out above, but for the life of me I cannot understand how we played so poorly and they played so well.

    FL will ALWAYS PLAY ITS BEST GAME IN JACKSONVILLE. So we have to do one of two things:
    (1) play better than them and win, ie, stop turning the damn ball over
    (2) move the game

    Two ain’t happening so it’s got to be one. Stop being so goddamn scared of playing those chumps and beat them like FSU is beating them right now!

    Sorry for highjacking the thread guys but I HATE FLORIDA even though I live in Jacksonville.

  11. James Stephenson

    About the FU loss, if the Dawgs do not turn the ball over 4 times, or fall on those two loose balls, UGA probably wins that game. We just did not get break no. 1 in that game.

  12. Russ

    Ha ha! Best comment I’ve heard from ESPN was Rece Davis talking about this game and all the history/tradition. After talking about Georgia’s tradition, he said Georgia Tech “used to have tradition, many years ago”. Hilarious!

  13. Russ

    Thanks Mark Jones. He just gave us our third Heisman winner. He said Garrison Hearst, “Heisman trophy winner” was on the Georgia sidelines.

    Honestly, do these guys just make it up as they go along? Don’t they have people paid to do the research for them?

  14. Wolfman

    Please save me from Davie Jones Locker.

  15. Russ

    Well, so much for Grantham’s “adjustments” at halftime.

  16. Russ

    That’s the ballgame! Our chance was to outscore them, since we obviously can’t stop them. Fumbles are the undoing once again.

  17. The Original Cynical in Athens

    If you have watched this 3rd quarter and still believe that this will ever again be a championship program under Mark Richt, then you are either a blind loyalist, have never watched football or are mentally handicapped.
    Regardless of the outcome tonight, this should be Mark Richt’s last game at Sanford Stadium.

    • Charles

      Is it possible that I’m all three?

    • Brandon

      We damned sure can when a championship if we can somehow start playing good defense again. Richt is completely dependent on having a good defensive coordinator because he’s an offensive guy, hopefully Grantham’s the guy he gets a pass this year. If we’re not significantly better on D next year we should look for somebody else, lather, rinse, repeat.

  18. Brandon

    Those players that were trying to scoop that ball after the Tech fumble instead of falling it should be off the team considering what happened at Florida. Off the team! This is leftover from Martinez when our defensive guys lost all faith in their coaches to be able to put them in the position to win and felt like they had to make something happen but the new staff needs to set an example. Bobo is pulling our ass out of the fire right now, once again 28 points, we’ll need at least 35 to win maybe more, shitty, shitty defense. This fumbling is on the players, this not being able to get an an inch or two is on the players. I hate Tech, c’mon D, hunker down!

  19. Brandon

    Alright Houston, you should have fallen on the ball but dammit I’ll take it, God knows we’ve had enough of those slip away this year, like a broken clock is right two times a day once in a while that crap works out, c’mon Dawgs, run clock run.

    • Russ

      Yeah, I’m glad it worked, but 1 time out of, how many? 5? 10?

      Jakar Hamilton tried to kick our last opportunity away.

  20. Russ

    Our best defensive play is the GTU screwup/fumble. Can Grantham call another one of those?

    • devildawg

      that wasn’t a screw-up, that was aggressive defensive play, unless by screw-up you mean the decision to pitch at all, rather than taking the 5-yard loss. c’mon, give our fellas a bit of credit!

      besides, they dominated in the next to last GT possession (I don’t count GT’s last possession, that was just ugly bad, because “bad” alone doesn’t describe that, how do you say, flustercluk, that is GT’s passing game).

  21. Brandon

    35-28, once again our offense has to score, arena football baby.

  22. Russ

    Our “fantastic” OL can’t even push these little nerds for a half yard gain. Pathetic.

    And it’s painfully obvious that Grantham has never seen the option before.

    I guess the offense will have to be perfect from here on out. If we don’t “hold serve”, we’re done.

  23. Russ

    Uh oh, Bobo strikes again. I guess we needed some “balance” in the playcalling.

    • Russ

      We can’t overcome Grantham AND Bobo.

      • devildawg

        Playing to preserve the lead is the offensive equivalent of the prevent defense. Ugh. Got saved by that missed xp.

        • Brandon

          That wasn’t playing for the lead when we went for it on fourth and 1 and Murray fumbled the damn snap, call it what you won’t but it sure as hell wasn’t conservative.

          • devildawg

            I’m talking about the earlier series; Bobo didn’t fumble that snap. Bobo did call the plays on the 3 and out earlier. That was the “preserve the lead” series; I figured that was fairly obvious, considering the initial comment by Russ.

            • Russ

              Agreed. I was talking about the “preserve the lead/give the defense a breather” series earlier where we ran twice up the middle, then threw incomplete into double coverage.

              The later decisions to go for it were gutsy, but there really wasn’t a choice as it was obvious we weren’t stopping them. Inexplicably, we had one stop at the end which was nice. But I can’t say I saw that coming, and I’d seriously doubt if anyone else said they expected it.

              Speaking of going for it on short yardage, we had several times (including the first turnover on downs) where we couldn’t gain 1/2 yard on Tech’s DL. Our OL has been a huge disappointment, and something needs to change. I don’t know if it’s S/C, OL coaching, players, or a combination of all of the above. I just know we used to have good OLs, but we haven’t for the past few years.

              I’m a Richt apologist, but next year I’d like to see major improvements in the team. Otherwise, I think we might have to start looking elsewhere.

            • Brandon

              Unfortunately I don’t have my game tape synched with Eastern Standard Time displayed up in the corner, so I can’t look at his comment and see specifically what play he was referring to. Your comment appeared to be general so I’m sorry I didn’t realize you were speaking of a specific play or two fair enough. I will say though inevitably in football your offense can’t be expected to score every time you get the ball unfortunately ours has virtually had to the last few years which has resulted in endless second guessing of Mike Bobo no matter how points we score. I think that would be entirely appropriate were we losing or winning these games, 13-10, 9-6 or something like that but we’re not our offense is putting up points. It would be unreasonable to point fingers at the DC in a 13-10 loss and its just as silly to rail against the OC when we’re putting up 30 points or more in what 7 games in a row? I’m just saying, I think our main problem is the other side of the ball, and fumbles which you are correct are on the players not the coaches.

  24. Russ

    Well, we can use those 15 extra practice days.

    • Brandon

      Maybe we’ll get to play Clemson in the bowl game. At least we’ll get to see A.J. play one more time, I’d love it if he came back but am not holding out much hope.

  25. The Original Cynical in Athens

    Ealey running it in typifies the state of UGA’s football program right now.

    We are a bumbling, stumbling bunch. So, so poorly coached.

    Good win, I guess, but that is a terrible Gtu team.

    Perhaps Miami will come calling on Coach Richt? I would hope we would let him go. If they don’t come after him, I think that will tell you all you need to know about what others think of Coach Richt.

  26. Brandon

    ((((42-34))))) hahahahaha St. Simons, up your butt with a coconut you pansy. Now, lord did our defense stink. Some you guys will blame Bobo no matter what but if we had a half ass decent defense this game would have been a blow out, they ran nearly twice as many plays as we did and had over 400 yards rushing, you will lose 99 times out of 100 when that happens, luckily tonight we were the one, or should I say Tech’s kicker is the one. Thanks bud, say hello to Reggie Ball for me. Back to the defense, horrible, granted they pulled it together at the very end and that’s something to build on but we wouldn’t have been in that position had we not sucked it up the whole game. We should add “First and Willie” and “Second and Willie” to the lexicon. Grantham this was your pass year, get it together or get out of town.

    • dudetheplayer

      C’mon brother, I am not a Bobo hater, but what the fuck was going on there at the end of the game?

      Short little anecdote to illustrate my point:

      I was watching the game with my dad who was born in another country and is largely ignorant of football strategy, but I asked him on that first drive up 35-28 with 9-10 minutes left what play had been working for us consistently throughout the entire game. He told me, “throwing to the Green kid. Nobody can stop him.” I told him before the series ever started that Bobo wouldn’t do it and would instead try to force the running game. Now, if I know this, then you can bet your ass that any competent opposing coordinators know this (Al Groh is an old bastard, but he’s been around too long not to be at least semi-competent).

      It has been stated on this site and elsewhere (correctly) that Bobo CLEARLY cannot play to our strengths and consistently exploit mismatches against our opponents. This is what the great OCs do. For whatever reason, Bobo is hellbent on playing for balance and going by the book when leading. The book says pound the rock and eat clock when leading (like Arkansas against LSU today) but we FUCKING SUCK when running in predictable situations. Yet Bobo does not adjust. And it damn near cost us today (and it HAS cost us previously). We can quote the 30+ points crap all day long but it tells us more about the INCREDIBLE talent of AJ Green and Aaron Murray than it does about Bobo’s prowess as a playcaller.

      I guess we’ll just keep werkin’ hard to get butter.


      • Brandon

        Bottom line is we were stopped on that series and you guys are going to rail Bobo when that happens. I don’t blame you, the defense we play makes it imperative that the offense score each time they get the ball so every play and call is magnified. I don’t think Bobo’s perfect, I think he’s good enough to win us a lot of games. The defense is and has been our main problem for some years now, you give us BVG quality D these last 6 years and we are just as good or better than we were the first 4 years of the Richt era. Either way Richt is now 23-17 against GT, UF, AUB, and UT. As a comparison for the younger among us who think the last couple of years are the worst seasons in the history of GA football evah, Goff was 8-17-1 against those teams and Donnan was 6-14.

  27. Brandon

    On a positive note, at least we finally one a close game.

  28. devildawg

    so many haters! i’ve got plenty of things i could be upset about with that game, but the negativity is just over the top, especially the guy who seems to have copy-pasted some crap from an AJC spewblog.

    1. originalcynic, are you seriously going to claim that Ealey running it in is a perfect sign of “all that’s wrong” with UGA? I’d have run it in too. Screw Tech. They were going to have to throw the ball to try to come back (INT alert) AND I wanted UGA to win by more than 1 point. I’d have run that ball in, too. Maybe it’s unwise, but I think there’s a limit to acceptable restraint/moderation, and that limit is falling down untouched at the five yard line against Georgia Tech.

    2. Brandon, the defense was fighting fairly well; their only AWFUL possession was Tech’s last scoring drive, where they looked like warm butter. I figure maybe they were tired; with the “protect the lead” possession and that D, that was the worst few minutes of play from the whole UGA team there. For most of the game, Georgia Tech had to dive and dodge their way a few yards at a time to convert first downs, which was why they had so many plays. I’d like to see Georgia catch ’em behind the line more, so it’s not like I think they played great. In sum: the faults were minor. They used to be glaring.

    • The Original Cynical in Athens

      Yes, I am claiming that. We are really fucking stupid as a team. We make more stupid mistakes than any team I have ever seen above the Jr. high school level. We are very, very poorly coached on the details of the game. We are just fucking stupid. If you don’t see that, then you are probably pretty fucking stupid as well.

      You do realize that Gtu had 411 rushing yards, right? 411 rushing yards. 411 RUSHING YARDS.

      I think there should be competency tests for voting and typing on blogs. Pretty sure Devildawg would be bitching about the test questions.

      • Charles

        Wait… the #1 rushing offense in college football got 411 RUSHING YARDS!!!!111!!!!111!!!!111 OMG!!!!111!!!!! ROME IS BURNING!!!!!111!!!

        Your posts are soul-crushingly ignorant. So, I’d shy away from calling people out over competency tests for blog commenting – especially considering your potty mouth. But, I’d rather have you spewing ignorance on blogs than going to the actual games.

      • devildawg

        I’m relieved you can correctly diagnose my stupidity.

        Note that you changed the point of disagreement to avoid replying to what I’d written. That’s a pretty classic maneuver. The defensive failings are certainly a bigger concern than Ealey’s TD, and I wouldn’t hardly deny that it was troubling they gave up 411 yards on the ground. But on the other hand, a yards per carry of ~5 is pretty standard against Tech, and it was just the second game this season where Tech didn’t have a run of 30 yards or more. Exciting news, I know…

        They need to force stops more often, yes. Seeing Tech convert on 3rd or 4th down is frustrating, yes. Seeing our guys get tired and allowing Tech to get 10 yards or so in a run up the middle is exhausting, yes. I hated seeing Allen and the OL push their way into the end zone. But this is far from a doom and gloom scenario. That wasn’t hardly Cannae out there (because a moron would know what that means), and it wasn’t even Beneventum, though I’d give you Heraclea.

      • dudetheplayer

        We need a bigger, more powerful defensive line. Grantham largely knows what he’s doing and is a solid coach (and Belin is the man), but we gotta get the proper hosses in there to start running over people.

        I think maybe Garner might be living on past glories but that’s only half-assed speculation on my part. When you lose 3 NFL caliber DTs in one year, you’re bound to see a drop-off up the middle.

    • Brandon

      I’m not a hater if you’ve ever read any of my posts before you ought to know that, but we gave up 511 yards and over 400 on the ground, that’s really bad defense and I’m not going to say it isn’t just because we happened to win tonight just like I won’t beat up on our boys when they give good effort and come up short. Nor will I call for coaches to be fired because we lose a close game as we have many times this year. I generally defend the staff but I am sick and tired of our defense dragging us down, we have wasted so much offensive talent these last few years because we can’t stop a paper sack. The Auburn game was ridiculous, this game was ridiculous, Florida scoring 34 on us, after seeing FSU stuff them today and USCe last week makes me sick. I hate it for the players. I’ve seen some improvement this year on D in that we don’t have as many recievers running wide open down the middle of the field with no one within a ten yard radius anymore and we’re no longer conceding the 7 yard curl route on every down but the last few games have to inspired me to believe we’re making the kind of progress we need to make. Grantham was starting from scratch though I get that, but next year will be Year 2 in the system we should be a lot better if not maybe he ain’t our guy.

      • Charles

        Hear hear.

      • devildawg

        I apologize for laying into you unnecessarily and, considering your record as a reasonable guy and solid fan, unfairly. I didn’t expect to see all the negativity after the game had ended; most of it was being posted before the game ended, when there was more reason for concern. I like what you say here:

        “I’ve seen some improvement this year on D in that we don’t have as many receivers running wide open down the middle of the field with no one within a ten yard radius anymore and we’re no longer conceding the 7 yard curl route on every down”

        But you’re right in what follows as well; fightin somebody down the field, but still letting them score far too often, just ain’t gonna cut it. There are some positive developments, but they aren’t nearly so large as to really inspire confidence. And so we’re left with this muddled feeling.

    • Russ

      I probably shouldn’t post during the game since I just post whatever gloom/doom is passing through my mind during the game (so sue me, I learned from 40+ years of listening to Munson).

      However, going back and looking at some of my posts, I can’t say I feel much different even with the win. Our defense was absolutely horrid. We did play hard, but so did Ray Goff’s teams. It seemed like Grantham had no answer at all. Luckily, Paul Johnson outsmarts himself every year in close games (trying to throw the ball). We had one legitimate stop all game and it was the next to last drive, which was big. However, we were dominated on both lines, which should not happen with the players we can get. Except for one series, it did seem like Bobo kept his foot on the throttle, which we needed.

      Overall, it’s always good to beat the maggots, and I’m glad we’re going to a bowl. I’ll still pull for the Dawgs, and I still think Richt can get this turned around. However, I think we regressed tonight against a bad tech team.

      • Brandon

        I’m with you Russ, I probably shouldn’t post during games either, if I got out of control it’s because I love Georgia and really really hate Tech. Agree with the rest of what you said as well.

    • dudetheplayer

      I don’t blame Ealey at all for scoring, because dude was in the heat of the moment and that is what he is trained to do. Score pints.

      But the smarter play would’ve been just to take a knee and kick the FG.

      Could woulda blah blah blah….

      Go Dawgs and to hell with Tech!

      I just wish we’d play better.

  29. TennesseeDawg

    Here’s hoping the Dawgs get into the Music City Bowl. At least it will be close for me to go over and watch. Our D-line is pathetic. The 3-4 gets absolutely no pressure (at least with our team)

  30. Mayor of Dawgtown

    We were really lucky to win this game. We also got at least one favorable call which, if called the other way, probably would cause the Dawgs to lose.

    • dudetheplayer

      Man, what was up with those spots after the Durham third down catch and the Murray 4th down QB sneak though? My red and black glasses are pretty tinted, but I felt like we got completely robbed there. And that turnover on downs was a UUUUGE (h/t: Bob Davie) momentum swing.

      • Brandon

        Yeah, during the game I told my friend that we needed GT to get a few “Durham spots”, you know spotting of the ball at the ankle.

    • Russ

      I think our fumble recovery and theirs on the sideline were identical. The techster’s head was on the sideline as he recovered, as was Dent’s (?) foot on the sideline when we recovered. They equaled out in my book.

      The spots were a little, uh “spotty”, but it really shouldn’t have been close. Our all-world OL can’t push a bunch of nerds 1 yard? What’s up with that?

  31. dudetheplayer

    Cheers to PJ for calling a truly strange series for the second year in a row with the game on the line. That goddamn dive/pitch game was shredding us the entire game, and for some reason he moved away from it with a chance to win in the final minutes.

    We’ll take the W, my man! Don’t punch anyone on yer way out!

    • Jim

      It is truly remarkable isn’t it? CPJ can’t seem to get out of his own way. And Blair will now go down in history with Reggie ball and bay bay on the choke meter (too bad chase Henry isn’t on that list)

      I’m glad we won but if that performance isn’t evidence of why we need a change at the top I don’t know what is. Yes we scored a lot and yes we won but I wasn’t confident we migt actually win until houston’s fumble td and even then there were more moments of angst than I’d like in the remainder of the game

      • devildawg

        With 1 1/2 minutes, running the dive play would run out of clock REAL fast. They had to throw the ball.

        • The one and only Billy Shears

          You WANT to give them a long field with a minute or two. The triple option is a ball control offense, not a quick strike one. Tech had to throw it.

          Thing is, even if that kid had hit the extra point, Bobo would have had Walsh kick the field goal instead of going for it on 4th and 1. (Being up by one allowed him to try to go for it; he never would have in a tie game.) Either way, it’s a long field with no more than 2 1/2 minutes and Tech with only one timeout and a crappy kicker. They’re not a sideline offense, that reduces the number of “options” in the offense and makes them easier to defend.

          One of the best ways to defend a triple option is to force them to pass or aim for the sidelines with a short clock. That situation takes away much of the deception necessary to make the offense work.

  32. shane#1

    Poor defensive coaching. Very poor. With two weeks to prepare, UGA might as well had Willie. In fact, Willie did a better job against Tech than Grantham. Thank God for Houston, Gambel, and Boykin. The players may have saved Grantham’s and Richt’s jobs.

  33. Dawgfan17

    Are people really even bringing up Grantham’s job at the end of his first year? WOW.

    • Turd Ferguson

      Exactly my thoughts. I mean, I wasn’t wild about the defense’s performance last night either. But I think too many people are taking out their lingering Willie-angst on Grantham.

      I really think that last night was about the best we could’ve hoped for all-around, at this point. I’ll be a hell of a lot more negative if things don’t look any different next year at this time. But for now, I’m satisfied with the win.

  34. shane#1

    I don’t want Grantham fired either. I doubt he saw many triple option spreads with the Cowboys. However, he did have two weeks to prepare and he should have known that the wheels come off that offense when you stop the fullback dive play. You don’t stop the dive with gaps between down linemen that you could drive a F350 dooley through.

  35. 69Dawg

    It was clear that we lack a Nose that can control the middle. Tech’s center was handling Tyson the whole night. CTG had to slant the DE’s to stop up the middle and that hurt on the outside.