How to Beat Todd Grantham
Han Vance on Georgia football: As a head coach, Kirby Smart has not lost to a team defensive coordinated by Todd Grantham. And the sign marks to a strategy to beat him again Saturday in Jacksonville at the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party, are older than this era. They go back to Grantham’s time working at UGA.
I already said that the key for the Georgia defense is to physically get to Trask with our quicker not bigger guys, in my last Blawg.
Florida didn’t run last year, can’t run well this year, after losing their best back to matriculation. With the amount of real success they have had with their quick passing game, there is little to no chance they come out with a power running scheme, even with the dominant run stoppers, space cloggers in the Georgia interior out or limited. Kirby defenses have shown a willingness to majorly change for and shut down pass happy attacks such as they did for Tua. And they – as I predicted – got to him and hurt him. Cry me a river, that’s football.
LSU had running. Bama has balance now. This is a pass it almost every time team. That’s ALWAYS beatable in every league. Dominant running football outshines-ugly a team that throws it pretty, without any run game balance.
Georgia’s offense must also win it with time of possession. They got only seven possessions last year, when I was down there and as Dan Mullen said, “Ran out of time.” Do that but do it even more. Keep the ball away from them.
When Saban and the Tide ended Mark Richt’s last legit chance at a national championship – which was his 2nd or 3rd best team by season’s end not his 1st as wrongly reported by The Athletic – we’d seen similar heartbreak for years.
Tangent time: The 13-1 team of 2002, years before these non-fans covered Georgia for their low-pay jobs, was and is by EVERY real measure the best UGA team since 1980, including all Kirby Smart coached teams, still. They had by far the best winning percentage and lost one razor close game in Jacksonville, where three plays turned the game, which I attended: 1. Pollack did not forward lateral, 2. Good guy but backup DJ Shockley threw a pick-6 he should not have been inserted that late in the half to even try, 3. Edwards dropped a touchdown. These were glitches, chokes, bad breaks. One regular season loss, 13-1 and won SEC and Sugar.
The 2017 team went 1-2 vs teams from the state of Alabama, got blown out at Auburn. The 2012 team was blown out at S Carolina then didn’t win the SEC with two losses. Close doesn’t count in football as evidenced by our team that peaked at #2 AFTER they ran Moreno more, danced on Florida’s faces and won out huge, whipping one of the best now-Group of 5 conference teams ever (that Hawaii was dynamite) in an easy sUGAr Bowl win, the best modern Georgia team at season’s end. They would have run 2017 Bama over, not looked back with butts clinched. Great Marcus Howard-led defense hurt the opposition regularly with hard hits.
In the 2012 comeback first by Bama and then by Georgia, Bama exposed Grantham. You could run on his (most talented) defense by controlling the clock and the ball and not letting him get substitutes in, it worked. Bama made a tactical error by throwing a bomb to Amari Cooper for a late touchdown, as there was no reason to give Murray the ball and clock back. Game was over if they kept it on the ground. They didn’t and Murray was heroic, until a tipped pass (too short at the position ultimately?) led to Kirby Smart wildly celebrating on the field.
Me: “Fuck you, Kirby! You don’t do that on TV when you barely beat your alma mater and got lucky, in Atlanta. What a low-class redneck.”
Richt’s interim ran it down Grantham’s throat at Louisville in the Belk Bowl. Kirby’s kids ran it down his throat at Miss State, while I watched in San Diego with the UGA Alumni.
The last two years, Jake stood strong in the pocket and threw it before Grantham’s guys could get to him. Bennett can’t.
Georgia may not need to get into these scenarios, having to hit so many 3rd downs, by running creatively enough. I’d throw only on 1st downs, off draws, to Cook, run the rest.
This Florida defense can’t stop it. No defense has stopped them, yet. Just keep the ball, and they’ll get frustrated. …And hit Trask.