I Am Looking At You Grantham

Look, we here at the blog have been big fans of Grantham. Even when the national media banged on the UGA defense back in 2011 for playing a weak schedule, I pointed out that UGA actually played a similar schedule to LSU and Alabama, and had comparable performances against the same competition. I even did a series looking at how well the defense played but was skewed statistically due to special teams and offensive miscues.

The UGA defense was as good as LSU and Alabama’s.

But now the defense has taken a step back. You can bang on Murray and his poor decisions at time, or Mike Bobo’s play calling. But the reason we lost to Clemson wasn’t Murray or Bobo. It was that the defense gave up 38 points. If we had lost to South Carolina or LSU, you couldn’t point fingers at the offense.

Even when the “UGA and Murray can’t beat ranked teams” meme was going in full force, the defense played poorly in those games. We weren’t losing 17-10 folks.

If Georgia loses again or even misses out on the SEC Championship game, I have no doubt fans will point fingers at Bobo and Murray. Grantham seems immune from any critics because he yells and cusses. That’s fine. But if the Dawgs fall short of the goals and expectations we all have then it will be the defenses’ fault.

I am not a cold hearted person.  I am reasonable. I understand the youth on the team and also realize the daunting task of having to play a tough schedule early in the season.  There were growing pains and bumps in the road to be expected.  Georgia has played so far three teams with the some of the best offenses in college football.   The Dawgs won’t see any QBs as good as Shaw, Boyd or Mettenberger again until (hopefully) the Dome December 7.  So I am not going to hit the panic button just yet.

However, Tennessee is awful on offense.  If the Vols hang more than 20 on the Bulldogs, then it will be time to hit the panic button.

As excited as I am about seeing Murray and company light up the score board Saturday, I am even more anxious to see how the defense plays.  Consequently, the offense has played well against the elite competition.  I am not worried about they are capable of doing going forward.  But, even in this league, you are going to have to win an ugly game at some point.  Georgia-Florida last year.  Alabama-LSU Part I in 2011.  LSU-Florida last year.  There are times when you are going to have to win a 17-10 type  game in the SEC, no matter how good Murray, Gurley, Lynch and the rest are.

So Saturday will be a big test for the defense. If they dominate Tennessee like they should, then it bodes well for Georgia to run through the rest of the schedule. If they continue to struggle, then it is going to be a bumpy ride.



9 Responses to “I Am Looking At You Grantham”

  1. 1 Vineyarddawg October 1, 2013 at 9:48 am

    I agree with you that the next set of games will be the litmus test for Grantham. I find it difficult to fault him for our performances in the first 4 games of the season, simply because of the fact that we have so many true freshmen and sophomores not just playing, but starting. (And that’s basically due to the fact that Grantham was a victim of his own success, with so many defensive players from the ’12 squad leaving early for the draft.)

    Many of our defensive lapses in the Clemson and South Carolina games were what I would call “freshman mistakes” like overpursuing and not wrapping up on a tackle. The LSU game was more concerning, with several simply blown coverages and veteran players like Damian Swann playing poorly, as well.

    Of course, we were playing the 3 best offenses on our schedule in those games, so that has to be considered. Even mighty Alabama gave up more than 40 points to Texas A&M, then shut out Ole Miss last week. The real proof of our defense’s growth will be in how we perform against the rest of the teams on our schedule.

  2. 3 BMac October 1, 2013 at 11:30 am

    I had this thought as well that I haven’t really seen anyone else bring up… A raucous home crowd is great because it has an adverse affect on the opposing team’s offensive cadence… but wouldn’t that have a similar effect on a young defense trying to get audibles across the field and get in the right coverages? I wonder if the crowd noise had a negative effect on our defense’s ability to communicate successfully with one another.

    • 4 Steven Gibbs October 1, 2013 at 1:24 pm

      Not really. You have signals that you call, so its not like you HAVE to hear the call, you just have to watch the signal.

      • 5 Dukes October 1, 2013 at 4:17 pm

        Not always true. There are a number of calls made on the field that are audible, not signaled. Also, if our FS is making a call to a Corner who is not facing him, a signal is moot.

  3. 6 Joe October 1, 2013 at 1:27 pm

    To me its simple….and that is that Granthem is making things too complicated for 18 yr old kids. Me and my buddy who played college and in the pros were talking and he said “Granthem is just making it too hard for theses kids. Sometimes you just need to make it simple and let the kids athletic ability take over”

  4. 7 Steven Gibbs October 1, 2013 at 1:29 pm

    Basically, I feel as if Grantham gets complacent with the personnel. We have to rotate at inside LB as well as CB. Swann, Langley, Mauger, and Wiggins all made costly mistakes that resulted in big plays. On film, Mauger over runs a few plays, tips the coverage, Langley is still peeking in the backfield and over running a tackle, and Swann had too soft of a coverage Zone that resulted in a lot of inside slant plays for a TD and first down on 3rd down. Gotta do better if we want to entertain the idea of a SEC championship

  5. 8 Dukes October 1, 2013 at 4:22 pm

    You don’t mention that in both the Clemson and South Carolina games, there were redzone turnovers that cost us points. Oh, and in the LSU game there was one at the 30 or so.

    For those who haven’t read my play-by-play breakdown of every pass attempt by LSU in Saturday’s game, I’d encourage you to do so. Then, decide if you think our defense and DC don’t know what they’re doing.

    • 9 Corbindawg October 1, 2013 at 7:54 pm

      I have, in the past, given Grantham a pass on those type of miscues that lead to points and skew stats in a negative way. But that is not the case now.

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