Belichick to Saban to Grantham: the “star position”

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.”



Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

12 responses to “Belichick to Saban to Grantham: the “star position”

  1. RocketDawg

    My man crush on Grantham continues to grow. The man is not only a great tactician he is also a great teacher. Man I hope he stays around for a few more seasons.


  2. Haywood Jablome

    Wish I was as confident in Richt as I am in Grantham. I have a bad feeling in my gut that this will be CTG’s last year in Athens. Perfect time for him to go this off-season if the right offer comes along with most of the defensive side scheduled to leave.


    • The Lone Stranger

      He won’t be a HC, so you must be concerned he will look NFL (ala Van Gorder) for an assistant’s position? I guess I could see that too although it would seem the freedom to experiment and handle the bulk of the defensive gameplan as he sees fit is an argument for the college game. I doubt he can wheel and deal, as he seems to at UGa, this way in The League.


  3. shane#1

    I have some questions.Is the star position a role CTG had wanted to fill all along and found the right man to play there or is JHC just to good to leave off the field? I wonder if they can teach him enough pass D and simplyfy his role enough to make him a factor against Mizzou? I find the prospect of a six five nickle-LB roaming around when the Mo Tigers are trying to run the QB and through short passes very interesting. Haywood, why would CTG be so ready to leave when Richt has a three year contract with no real buyout for either party and he finally has a chance to coach his own recruits? Seems to me he is in the catbird seat for a long term HC job and he won’t have to move. Besides, have you taken a gander at the D ballplayers they have recruited in the last couple of years?


    • JasonC

      My guess to the first question is yes for both. I don’t know if he targeted JHC during recruiting as a Star, but knew that if he could perform, he would find him a place. Remember, other articles suggested that JHC was trying to add weight in the summer which would have meant more of a pure OLB role. And as Saban suggests in the interview (when he isn’t dressing down reporters), a move to OLB is still possible since there would be some similarities in responsibilities.


  4. sanfordbound

    You guys are nuts, he is not going anywhere.


    • Mayor of Dawgtown

      I’m thinking Grantham is here until CMR leaves/retires and Grantham become the next HC.


      • Joe Schmoe

        This would please me greatly. I’m curious to see how much longer Richt wants to continue the grind of coaching in the SEC especially given the ridiculous nature of the press coverage that UGA’s program gets from the shitty remnants of the AJC. I could see him hanging it up in 3-4 years especially if he is able to win a National Championship during that time.


  5. W Cobb Dawg

    What’s so unusual about JHC playing safety? We’ve had some big safeties like Thomas Davis and Greg Blue. If the kid can play then get him on the field.


  6. Claw

    I’m not saying Grantham isn’t good. But, I would say at this point the jury is still out. UGA didn’t beat a single team last year that was ranked at the end of the season, and every team with a remotely good offense put up lots of points on the silver britches.


    • Mayor of Dawgtown

      ^^This is exactly what bothers me about last season. UGA played 14 games in ’11. 4 of those games were against pretty good teams (Boise, South Carolina, LSU and Michigan State). The Dawgs lost all 4. The only games that arguably appear to be “quality wins”–and I use that term loosely–were Auburn (8-5) and Tech (8-5). You might say Florida (7-6) was too but that is really pushing it.


      • Claw

        The games we lost we gave up an average of 28.5 points on defense (not good). Not to mention that Murray threw a pick six in three out of the four losses, and fumbled a few times.