Has “scheme” become a dirty word at Georgia?

I thought I’d share some quotes from Mark Richt about what’s behind the hiring of his last two defensive coordinators.  Start with a couple of things he said when he hired Todd Grantham.  One:

“There were so many names that crossed my desk and people calling from all around that recommended people and when Todd’s name came up I was very interested in learning more about him. The more I learned about him the more excited I got about him. It just so happens that a lot of coaches that I know in the business know Todd and know of what he’s done in the past and know of his football knowledge. I think a lot of people in the college game who have spent time with Todd and grown as coaches, let’s face it, the NFL is really the cutting edge of football and Coach Grantham is one of the best minds out there. [Emphasis added.] And it also turned out that my brother in law, Brad Johnson, who played quarterback for the Cowboys at the tail end of his career and was there last year and got to know Todd as a coach … and was highly impressed with him and his energy and how he would teach and the respect that players had for him.”

And two:

“I think it is particularly valuable that he has a wealth of experience on the defensive side of the ball at both the NFL and collegiate levels…”

Here’s what Richt has to say about where his head’s at now:

“You could have great scheme and poor tactics, and you’re going to have no success. I’d rather have less scheme and more tactics and more fundamentals because I think we’ll have a better chance of winning. That is what is happening right now,” Richt said.

To answer the question in the header, no, I don’t think Richt is abandoning defensive scheming.  But it’s pretty obvious he’s blowing off all that NFL-based expertise for something more practical, something that Grantham gave plenty of lip service to, but never seemed to instill in his troops.  Will that pay off, or will we be reading about a new approach from Richt in a few years?


Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

18 responses to “Has “scheme” become a dirty word at Georgia?

  1. I dropped CTG from my list of “great NFL minds coaching college football” after the Kentucky game. Watching their smaller but determined OL whip our NFL sized linemen at the line of scrimmage and then proceed to drive the ball down our throats was too much to bear. Murray and an alert special teams guy (Sailors?) was the difference in that game.


  2. Keese

    Grantham was quoted saying the same things when he started about “tackling, fundamentals” blah blah


    • mdcgtp

      Actually, the things I distinctly recall Grantham saying related to playing physical and being relentless, but that is hardly the point.

      I think scheme matters. I think we want our players being given the best chance to succeed. One of the ways to that is to come up with ways of confusing offenses and QBs. So having a great scheme is NOT a dirty word.

      That said, we learned that Grantham’s players fundamentals were poor. Whether that was a function of his inability or unwillingness to teach is not clear to me. Again, that does NOT mean that having knowledge of scheme is not a good thing. It simply means that having good fundamentals is more important. That is the definition of the word isn’t it?

      forming a necessary base or core; of central importance.
      “the protection of fundamental human rights”
      synonyms: basic, underlying, core, foundational, rudimentary, elemental, elementary, basal, root; More
      antonyms: secondary, unimportant
      affecting or relating to the essential nature of something or the crucial point about an issue.
      “the fundamental problem remains that of the housing shortage”
      so basic as to be hard to alter, resolve, or overcome.
      “the theories are based on a fundamental error”
      noun: fundamental; plural noun: fundamentals
      a central or primary rule or principle on which something is based.
      “two courses cover the fundamentals of microbiology”
      synonyms: basics, essentials, rudiments, foundations, basic principles, first principles, preliminaries; More
      a fundamental note, tone, or frequency.

      late Middle English: from French fondamental, or late Latin fundamentalis, from Latin fundamentum, from fundare ‘to found.’
      Translate fundamental to
      Use over time for: fundamental


  3. Go Dawgs!

    Yeah, damned if the other team didn’t keep refusing to run the offense Todd wanted to defend against…


  4. Mayor of Dawgtown

    You cannot overstate the importance of the defensive players knowing and understanding the scheme. Georgia’s problems under Grantham were: (1) Players didn’t know where to be and what responsibilities they had from play to play; and (2) Lack of fundamentals. Personally, I think Grantham is a smart guy. The problem is that in college, unlike in the NFL, a coach is limited in the amount of time he has with the players. Grantham’s schemes were too complicated to teach in the amount of time available and spending time on fundamentals went right out the window because of that. I predict Grantham’s tenure at Louisville will be short and he will be back in the NFL soon, where he will have enough time to work on scheme with his players and he won’t have to teach fundamentals.


    • I once took over a loft project in Mid Town for the Early Corporation. A small software company that was flush with cash and dabbling in buying and flipping warehouses. They had finished one as an office and moved in. They decided to do a cluster of 12 lofts. Zoned commercial neighbor hood they had office, art gallery and loft apts in their mix. In the first year their builder (a very capable custom home builder) was 4 months behind schedule and was fired. He dropped by once when we CO-ing the last unit. He talked about his current projects and how he really wanted his loft project to end better than it had. I thought about it. Lofts, multifamily and custom homes are all similar but very different. Just because you are good at one doesn’t make you good at all the rest.
      Point being, Saban and SOS are great college coaches but the NFL was not their oyster. How many coaches can do both? Pete Carrol? Harbaugh? I don’t think CTG is a NFL HC or a college HC for that matter. Right now he is a DC for a HC that doesn’t put much stock into the D side of the ball. Strong left the cupboard with some talent. If CTG can’t learn to coach all aspects of the college game he will find himself back in the NFL as an assistant coach for a lot less pay.



  5. What fresh hell is this?

    Right now I think I’ll take the HS/College coach who can teach kids to tackle.


  6. And CJP is gonna do just that!


  7. W Cobb Dawg

    As I recall at the time CTG was hired, he said he was going to be attacking all the time. Except for the fu games, the D turned into a form of bend-but-don’t-break to the point that we were reacting all the time.


    • Mayor of Dawgtown

      Actually the D under Grantham was…bend, bend, bend some more, then break at the worst possible moment. I’m glad that SOB is gone.


  8. Grantham talked the talk. But he never walked the walk.

    Some very good points made so far. Bottom line .. at Georgia anyway, Grantham was never who he said he was. And he wasn’t a very good teacher or coach. Scheme? Yeah, most of the time.

    But good schemes are only a small part of being a good college coach.


    • Schemes matter more where there’s greater parity, like on the NFL level.


      • Exactly. And Grantham never figured that out. Or if he did, he was too stubborn to change. Either is equally bad, because the scheme and system were forced on players who couldn’t handle it.

        But he just wasn’t a good coach anyway, not for Georgia. Not sure he’s a college coach at all. Maybe he’ll do great in Louisville, but not unless he adjusts.

        We have a life now, because of Grantham’s absence, as a defense and as a team. A life we didn’t have in early January. We were headed down the tubes.


  9. 81Dog

    I’m clearly too lazy to Google this, but I think Churchill once said “A mediocre plan executed with great force and violence is superior to an excellent plan executed with indifference and confusion.”

    Of course, either one is superior to having a mediocre plan executed mediocre-ly, which kind of circles back to the Martinez era, and basically the whole Jim Donnan era, and everything post-Erk Russell under Coach Dooley.

    Pass the Tums and pray for our new defensive staff.


    • 81Dog

      Hmmm. It was George Patton:

      “A good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan executed at some indefinite time in the future.”
      ― George S. Patton Jr.

      Make your mistakes, if you must make any, going full speed!


  10. Gr

    Still get a laugh at Richt holding secretive practice,s while Spurrier has every practice open to the public from here out.

    Spurrier’s like, you know my schemes, and you can’t stop me.

    richt’s like, you know my schemes, you’ll stop me because we arn’t a good team at execution, we don’t run a few plays well, we run a bunch of plays poorly.


  11. Gr

    Gus at AU is King of execution, keeps schemes simple, plays few, but runs them with excellence, enough to win a Natty in his first year installing his “scheme”.

    simply Amazing.


  12. shane#1

    Coarch said that the scheme was less important than one’s belief in his scheme and his ability to sell the scheme to the players. Then you have to recruit guys that fit your scheme. I am reminded of a guy that had a scheme that he believed in and drafted a guy that wasn’t big enough and didn’t have the arm to be a NFl OB and drafted a receiver that was too slow and drafted an O lineman from UGA that was too small. That coach was Bill Walsh and the guys he drafted went on to be some of the gratest players in NFL history.