I brought up Chris Brown’s piece on what he calls hybrid defenders the other day and mentioned that it brought Josh Harvey-Clemons to mind. With that in mind, watch this Nick Saban clip that Chris posted. (Start at the 5:30 mark.)
And then take a look at what Grantham has to say about Harvey-Clemons.
Georgia has a so-called “star” position on defense, which is essentially a nickel-back that can double as an outside linebacker. The Bulldogs use it in a number of base sets, whether in the 3-4 or 4-2-5. Grantham described it as an “underneath zone player.”
When Harvey-Clemons sees the field early on this season, that’s where he’s most likely to be playing. Grantham explained that Harvey-Clemons is at safety because most of the “verbiage and concepts” he will need for the star position come with the defensive backs.
“Whereas if he were in my meeting (at outside linebacker) he would hear it for 25-30 percent of the time,” Grantham said. “The things he’s gonna do, whether he’s playing the star position, the safety position or another position, he’s gonna hear more often in that meeting. And it’s always easier to learn things from top down.”
Maybe there are a few good reasons to start giving Grantham the benefit of the doubt about what he’s doing here. First of all, you’ve got to like the lineage behind that line of reasoning, no? Second, there’s a method to the madness, as opposed to sticking a kid in the secondary because he’s not a physical fit for the position to which we thought he was recruited. Third, it’s worked before.
Grantham compared it to Alec Ogletree, who was at safety his first year.
“But truthfully in my mind there was gonna be a point in time even then we were eventually gonna move him. And by him playing (safety) his first year, when he moved, he knew where the pieces around him fit,” Grantham said. “So it made his learning curve less. So I think by playing Josh where he is now, it gives him a better feel for the whole body of work. When he gets to his position, he kind of knows where everyone fits.”