June 10, 2010

Bulldog fans gonzo for Grantham

MACON - It's been a long time since an assistant coach has provided so much preseason fodder as new defensive coordinator Todd Grantham.

Everywhere he goes, fans can't seem to get enough of the former Dallas Cowboy aide, whose job it will be to get Georgia's defense back on a successful plateau.

Head coach Mark Richt laughed that fact was never more evident during the annual Football 101 For Women camp that took place last Saturday at Sanford Stadium.

"All the ladies wanted to be on defense this year, which was unusual because everyone wants to score touchdowns," Richt said. "But it's good, he's definitely got a lot of energy, he's really a sharp guy and I think we're all anxiously awaiting to see what we look like. The main thing is that we run hard, we hit hard, we play fast and we play with an attitude."

Attitude appears to be the optimal word.

One of the first things linebacker Akeem Dent learned about his new DC is just how intense Grantham can be, not only on the practice field but in the film room where his attention to detail is unlike anything he's seen before.

"It's been great, just seeing Coach Grantham bring his fire and bring his intensity to this program," Dent said. "He's a guy who's been around a long time, so he knows what's going on. It's been nice having him around."

Getting to learn from someone who honed his craft in the NFL is something Dent said players like him appreciate as well.

"That basically just tells us this is one guy who knows what he's talking about. He's just a real smart guy, especially with the way he breaks down an offense so it's going to be real interesting to see how the season unfolds," Dent said. "The way he breaks it down, it's almost easier. He makes it easier to understand, what the scheme is and what we're trying to accomplish on defense."

Dent added that inside linebackers coach Warren Belin is cut out of the same cloth as Grantham.

In fact, the Atlanta senior isn't sure if he's ever been around a coach who's as much as a stickler to detail as the former Vanderbilt assistant.

"Coach Belin is all about detail. Just the way he starts out practice, just reacting to his movements," Dent said. "He could move his pinkie and we would have to react to it. He's a real detailed guy, and playing linebacker you have to be that detailed because there are keys and things like that you have to follow if you really want to be able to do your job."

So how quickly will Georgia pick up Grantham's 3-4 scheme?

Although both Dent and Richt agree it's liable to take a year to figure out every little nuance and get totally comfortable with what's going on, both see no reason why the Bulldogs can't take a big step forward this fall.

"I feel if we start this offseason right, do what we're supposed to do in the film room, just get in our playbooks, it might take a while to learn the defense but we'll get it done," said Dent.

Richt has his fingers crossed, too.

"It takes a while to really get comfortable with it, but I still think you can have success in the first season, I don't think there's any doubt about that," Richt said. "But for guys to really get comfortable with it, it's probably going to take a little while."

But so far, Dent likes what he sees.

Georgia fans saw a sample of the Bulldogs' new attacking style during G-Day as the two teams combined for seven sacks. However, Dent said that was just a tiny fraction of what will be in store this fall.

"As soon as we unleash it, it's going to be something to see," he said.

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