Will Muschamp wasn’t the only SEC coach to go a little nuts on Saturday night. Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham went off in the immediate aftermath of the Bulldogs’ 33-28 win at Vanderbilt. When James Franklin mentioned to him that one or more Georgia players had said something “inappropriate,” Grantham snapped.
“I love our players,” Grantham told reporters when asked about the incident. “I’m going to stick up for my players. Everybody’s competitive.”
Sticking up for one’s players is fine, but Franklin seemed to be calm and composed while Grantham appeared to go haywire.
In the slow motion video below — which leaves Grantham looking like a cross between Bigfoot and Ed Orgeron — you’ll see the coach unleash a flurry of obscenities at Vandy’s coach. You’ll also see players separate the two men:
Franklin made it clear in his own postgame press conference how he has respect for Mark Richt. And how Mark Richt is a classy. His emphasis on Richt makes it clear he can’t say the same for everyone associated with Georgia.
But what’s more interesting from Franklin’s statement is his declaration that Vandy’s not going to be a pushover any longer.
“At Vandy we are gonna compete with class and we are gonna play with class. And we’re gonna coach ‘em with class…
I have tremendous respect for Coach Richt and that program. He’s been a class act guy the whole time I’ve known him and watched his team play. Let me make sure I address that about Coach Richt…
What happened at the end is we had a very, very tough, emotional game. And some things were said that I didn’t thinks was appropriate. I tried to find Coach Richt to address it. And I couldn’t find Coach Richt and I happened to have a discussion with one of their assistant coaches. That didn’t go well. And I apologize that things escalated from there.
But we’re also gonna fight. I want to make sure everybody understands that. We are not gonna sit back and take stuff from anybody. Anybody. No one. Those days are long gone and they are never coming back. Ever.”
Franklin also went out of his way to emphasize how Georgia’s fans came early, cheered for their team and stayed late. A message to his own school’s fanbase? Most likely.
Richt addressed the situation in his own postgame presser.
“I don’t know exactly what happened. Maybe TV picked it up and we’ll get a better view of what was going on. But we are grown men and we need to act that way. But we’re also competitors and we all have emotions and sometimes when you get a little fired up it’s hard to keep from getting in some kind of jawing contest. I’ll say this: There were times when I was ashamed of some the choice things that came out of my mouth during the game. So I’ve got to be disciplined, too.”
That’s true. We’ve been told that Richt was heard muttering, “Dagnabbit” and “Gee willikers” at various points during the contest.
“But the bottom line is when the game is over the game’s over. You shake hands and you be thankful for the victory. Just like at the end of a play. When a play’s over, it’s over. Go to the sideline. We didn’t do a very good job of that at times. It was heated. It is battle. It’s not war with real bullets but it’s a war in a sense and it’s very physical. Tempers do get flared up. I don’t mind our blood getting hot but we have to be able to get excited or maybe even angry but not foul.”
The Dawgs were flagged 11 times and three were personal foul penalties. Defensive tackle Kwame Geathers could be punished by the commissioner’s office for what appeared to be a thrown punch during the game. But it was Grantham whose actions took center stage at game’s end. (It’s not the first time Grantham has brought negative attention to himself during a game.)
“I just think that tempers were hot (and)it was a very heated ballgame… for everybody. When you look at the big picture, it certainly wasn’t a pretty scene, but it really could have been a lot worse than it was. I thought coaches on each side and even some players did a good job of trying to keep the peace and get everybody off the field without anything really horrible happening…
We all know we want to do things a certain way, and we want to be able to keep our poise throughout the ballgame. We need our players at the end of a play to not be chirping or anything. Just go back to the sideline if you’re on a special team or go back to the huddle if you’re still on the field. Let’s just play football.”
It might be hard for Grantham to deliver that message to his unit since he himself has now twice been caught acting like an overheated, 20-year-old player.
The takeaway from all this: Georgia got the win. Grantham got some egg on his face. Franklin set the tone for Vanderbilt’s program with his postgame comments. And Commodore fans now have a reason to show up early and stay late when supporting their team.