So there I was Sunday afternoon. Getting some much, much overdue outside yard work done, thinking it’s a nice quiet day, that nothing of consequence would happen in the Dawg Nation.
Then, I come inside, and thanks to the marvels of modern technology, we learn that today may as well be a belated Christmas for some of us in the Bulldog Nation. Not only is Todd Grantham leaving, but he’s been lured away by Public Enemy No. 1 to Falcons fans, Bobby Petrino.
You can’t blame Grantham for leaving. I mean, it is much easier to coach against most teams in the Almost Competitive Conference (The ACC) than the SEC.
Grantham had some good moments at Georgia – the defense was pretty stout in 2011 and was at that point when it wanted to in 2012. That’s the thing, though. There was talent here, but for various reasons, it didn’t materialize.
Fair or not, it is the job of the defensive staff to get results from its players. When the talent is there and it does not get the job done, that falls on the coaching. For whatever reason, Grantham’s defense stagnated. It’s for the best – for both Grantham and Georgia, that Grantham is going elsewhere.
While there could be some speed bumps defensively for the new defensive coordinator, Georgia should have no problem attracting a good field of candidates.
When you combine 10 starters returning next year and UGA’s resources, finding top of the line candidates should not be a problem. In other words, Greg McGarity should be opening up the wallet in a wide way.
As for candidates? Here are some very educated guesses.
1. Chris Wilson. Already on staff and is a big reason for the defensive line improvement this year, namely Ray Drew. Plus, he has defensive coordinator experience.
2. Wade Phillips. Ok, just kidding.
3. Mel Tucker. Experienced NFL coach has coached 3-4 defenses in the past and also has experience having coached under Nick Saban when he was at Michigan State.
4. Tim Kish. Assistant defensive coordinator/linebackers coach at Oklahoma. Coached a pretty strong position group in a conference that has seen a good share of the spread, which is never a bad thing to have prepped against in the past.
5. Bob Shoop. Did a lot with less at Vandy as defensive coordinator. If Georgia wants him bad enough, they’ll throw money at him and convince him not to go to Penn State.
6. Manny Diaz. Was a hot name among defensive coordinators on the rise a few years ago, but was abruptly fired by Texas earlier this season. There’s some x-factor of hiring a guy who was canned midseason, but the question has to be asked if was Diaz or the overall program at Texas. As a sidenote, how crazy would having two guys named Manny Diaz coaching at UGA?
7. Randy Shannon. It’s hard to go wrong with a guy with head coaching experience. He has rebounded since being at the helm when Miami rock-bottomed, most recently being the linebackers coach at Arkansas.
8. Kirby Smart. I’m sure Georgia will call. But do you really want a guy who turned you down at the last minute last time by?