Following yet another poor performance on the defensive side of the ball during Georgia’s 2-overtime victory over Georgia Tech, there were many people who believed that Bulldogs defensive coordinator Todd Grantham could be on the chopping block. However, head coach Mark Richt wasted no time in announcing that Grantham would be back in 2014.
Defensive coordinator Todd Grantham will return, Mark Richt confirms. “The continuity is a good thing for Georgia.”
— Seth Emerson (@SethEmerson) December 1, 2013
A quick look at the numbers brings about the reality of just how porous this UGA defense has been in 2013. The Bulldogs are 81st in the nation in points allowed (29.4 per game), 49th in the country in total defense (381.3 yards per game), and 68th nationally in passing defense (232.8 yards per game) in a conference that isn’t exactly world-renown for its offense.
There are multiple “defenses” (no pun intended) for Grantham this season, ranging from a difficult schedule (Clemson and Tech in the non-conference, Auburn on the road, etc.) to multiple injury-related issues. However, it is borderline unacceptable (to be kind) to see that level of defensive trouble statistically, and with the elite-level athletes in Athens, it becomes even more surprising.
Followers of the program over the Richt era won’t be shocked, however, as he famously waited a year too long to fire Willie Martinez (Grantham’s predecessor) while riding out multiple waves of criticism for OC Mike Bobo. That level of patience, combined with the goodwill that Grantham generated with his 2011 defense (which was 3rd in the country in yards allowed) was apparently enough to keep him around for (at least) one more season.
Patience is drawing thin for Grantham, but the collective fan base of Bulldog Nation can’t be in that that poor of a mood after the come-from-behind win in Atlanta on Saturday. However, the tests will begin in earnest for the defense, starting with the bowl game (using that “continuity” that Richt mentioned) and heading into what could be a decisive 2014 campaign.