Barnhart talks to Grantham.

Once you get past the… well, conventional wisdom of Tony Barnhart’s spring piece on Georgia, there’s some meat on its bones to chew on.  Start with this stat about Grantham’s defense last season:

Statistically, last season was strange for Georgia’s defense. The Bulldogs had four starters suspended for the first two games and two of those for four games. Grantham had to mix and match players and play guys out of position to get through the first month. They gave up 478 yards to Tennessee and still won. They gave up 350 yards rushing to Alabama and still almost won. Georgia finished sixth in the SEC in total defense (357.79 yards per game) and sixth in scoring defense (16.74 points per game).

But the defense also made plays when most necessary. The Bulldogs forced 30 turnovers in 2012 (second only to LSU and Mississippi State in the SEC) and 32 the previous season. Only LSU got the ball back to its offense more often than Georgia has the past two seasons.  [Emphasis added.]

Getting the ball back to this offense is a good thing.  (And it also helps explain how Georgia could finish 32nd nationally in total defense and 19th in scoring defense.)

Barnhart also pulls an intriguing quote out of Grantham.

“We basically only had 28 guys on scholarship last year, and then we had the suspensions at the beginning of the year and that put is in a bind,” Grantham said. “[This season] We’re young and we’re going to coach them up a bit. But we’re pretty talented. We have guys who can do a lot of things. We have a bunch of guys who want to be the next Jarvis Jones.”

So he was concerned about the numbers game at the start of last season.  And he recognizes that he’s got a far different challenge this year.  You’d think that would mean he would be testing out personnel combinations all through the first part of the season to find his most productive group.  But it doesn’t sound like that’s necessarily the case.

“We pretty much have to have things set when we leave here in the spring,” Grantham said. “There is not going to be any time for experimenting when we get here in the fall. We have to get ready to play against a great offense.”

Hmm.  I’m not sure if he’s referring to players or schemes there.  If it’s the former, I’m a little skeptical, because I don’t see how some of the talent influx (particularly the JUCO kids for the secondary) don’t work their way into the mix coming out of fall camp.  Maybe it’s just his way of stressing to the ones who are here for spring practice how crucial it is.  But at least he knows what he’s got ahead of him and his defense.


Filed under Georgia Football

10 responses to “Barnhart talks to Grantham.

  1. Scorpio Jones, III

    “350 yards on the ground….almost”
    A fitting epitaph for last year.


  2. Bob

    How many times did we leave the starters in late into the game last year? Too many. Trying to protect a meaningless shutout against an Auburn or keep Ole Miss out of the endzone should have been secondary to getting more players playing time….not to mention the possibility of getting one of those few scholarship players hurt.

    Oh yeah, I forgot. That was Bobo’s fault.


    • Gerga Bulldougs

      Tell me this…what “more players” are you referring to exactly? I think the point was that there weren’t any. Until now.


  3. uglydawg

    TG’s comment on “having things set”, probably means the ones who are there now will know where they are playing, what the basic scheme is, and will be studying their parts. Of couse JUCO players will get a look and a chance to fit in.


    • Bulldawg165

      This. I took his comments to mean that he isn’t going to have players practicing at one position in the spring and a different in the fall as opposed to the players on 1st team D not changing


    • Cojones

      Yes they will, Ug, but at an advantage compared to those yet to arrive. They have the D Coach’s will thrust upon them to achieve now as if they have the position. That’s his buffer against another Boise St. result. Pretty clever (if he doesn’t ruin the attitude of those to arrive). They can arrive with two attitudes among them: 1) Starting late to learn plays and how to mesh with others on the team; “I don’t have a chance” or 2) I’m gonna blow some people out of here and play, so help me Uga!

      We will see.


  4. I’m so intrigued by this defense. Much more so than the offense. What will the LBs look like? What will JHC be for UGA? Will Matthews live up to the seemingly impossible-to-live-up-to hype? Can Jenkins play the role of known assassin? It’s one thing to get to the QB, it’s another to do it when the team playing you sets out to ensure you don’t beat them. The thought of having a big, fast defense is intoxicating, though. I was lucky enough to have a field pass to the SEC title game, and seeing JHC in person was amazing. Dude is HUGE. Can’t wait to see him play the slot and blitz off of the line a la Matthieu at LSU two years ago.


  5. Dog in Fla

    Rumor is that when Mr. Conventional Wisdom dialogued with Todd, the lead cow was still in possession of and had not yet eaten this lovely parting gift from the interview


  6. IveyLeaguer

    I think it’s gonna be tough for a player, JUCO or no, to crack the defensive lineup this year. Especially at Safety. There may be several who can crack the 2-deep.
    But a guy will really have to have the stuff, and have himself all together, to get any real PT, IMO. And that would likely come around mid-season or later.
    For somebody to break in earlier than that would be a very pleasant surprise, but unusual.