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WOW Headlines – 1/17/13

Kentucky’s new football staff will make $720,000 more than last year’s staff
Ex-Florida QB Jacoby Brissett has reportedly transferred to North Carolina State
Florida OL Jessamen Dunker released from jail after allegedly stealing a scooter
Auburn FB Blake Burgess had his 2010 SEC and BCS championship rings stolen this week
Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham has been tied to the defensive coordinator opening with the NFL’s Eagles
Florida defensive coordinator Dan Quinn has left to take the DC job with the Seattle Seahawks…
Linebackers coach D.J. Durkin promoted at Florida to the defensive coordinator position
SEC Thursday Night Basketball…Florida 68, Texas A&M 47
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UF’s Quinn Happy With “No-Name Defense”

At Georgia, you can run down a list of NFL prospects and “watch list” athletes on Todd Grantham’s defense — Jarvis Jones, Bacarri Rambo, John Jenkins, etc.  But the Bulldog defense hasn’t lived up to its full potential yet, even with everyone back from suspension.

At Florida, the situation is a bit different.  The Gator D has been better than expected without all the hype and star power.  Defensive coordinator Dan Quinn likes it that way, too.

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UGA’s Richt Says The Focus Is On Vandy, Not Last Year’s Brouhaha

After Georgia’s win in Nashville last season, Vanderbilt coach James Franklin and Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham had a few postgame words for one another on the field.  It wasn’t the first time Grantham had shown a little too much emotion.  And it wouldn’t be be the last time in 2011 that Franklin would stir up some controversy with an opposing coach or fanbase.

Grantham and Franklin are fiery characters.  UGA head coach Mark Richt on the other hand is as cool as the proverbial cucumber.  Which is why he says his team will be “ready” for this weekend’s rematch with Vandy in Athens, but he claims that he won’t try to use the postgame kerfuffle as a motivator for this squad:


“I think the big thing is to make sure we just concentrate on playing football and not on the extra-curricular. Because those things turn into penalties. … I don’t want anything to take focus  off of executing [or] take  focus off of doing the right things fundamentally and knowing your job and taking care of your responsibility. So that’s what we’re going to focus on.”


I don’t think Richt will have to say Word One to his players regarding the end of last year’s game.  They’ll remember it.  So will Vanderbilt’s players.  Saturday could see a real slobberknocker between the hedges.

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UGA’s Grantham Knows His Defense Will Have To Be Better Against MU’s Franklin

Last weekend, Buffalo quarterback Alex Zordich completed 14 of 24 passes for 148 yards and a touchdown against Georgia.  But when the Dawgs’ pass rush got to him, he also managed to shake free for an additional 83 yards on 14 carries and one more score.

UGA still won the game 45-23.

This week, Georgia’s defense will face a stiffer test from an even better dual-threat quarterback in Missouri’s James Franklin.  Defensive coordinator Todd Grantham says he knows what last week’s issues were and how to correct them:


“Any time you have split-safety coverage and you’re rushing four guys, there are six gaps for four guys, so it’s critical that you collapse those pockets.  When you collapse the pocket outside in, you constrict that area.  But if you create a seam in there, a guy can get out and make some yards, because you’ve got vertical separation between the rush going one way and the receivers moving down the field.

We’ve addressed it with the players as far as what they need to do, and we will continue to work to make sure that doesn’t happen.”


Allowing Franklin to scamper free when rushers leave an open seam could mean the difference in tomorrow’s contest.  For the sake of Grantham and Georgia, he’d better hope his players were paying attention in the film room this week.

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UGA Sack Master Jones Needs To Be Ready For Offenses’ Tactics

Georgia outside linebacker Jarvis Jones led the SEC in sacks with 13.5 last season.  But he wasn’t able to get to the quarterback in either of the Dawgs’ final two games, both losses.  Jones told The Athens Banner-Herald that he’s watched and re-watched the LSU (SEC Championship) and Michigan State (Capital One Bowl) games and that he’s “beaten myself to death because I can see myself making those plays.”

He didn’t get many opportunities to hit the QB against LSU because the Tigers put the ball in the air just 13 times.  But Michigan State’s Kirk Cousins dropped back 50 times to throw in Orlando.  So why did Jones go 0-for-50?


“I pressure him quite a bit, but came a second late.  They were cutting the mess out of me.  That’s something I’ve been working on.  They were cutting, chop-blocking.  It was crazy.  They were trying to tear my leg off.”


While that quote will no doubt rile up some Spartan faithful, UGA defensive coordinator Todd Grantham seems to think his star had better get used to more of the same this season.  “We watched tape and as a player he’s got to understand there’s a lot of good coaches in this league and they’re going to say, ‘All right, we’re not going to let this guy wreck the game.  We’re going to try to find ways to take him away.’  You’ve got to have answers for that.”

Even when someone’s cutting the mess out of you.

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SEC Headlines 6/9/2012

1. LSU makes raises official for seven assistant football coaches. Combined salary for LSU assistants? $3.87 million.

2. A Georgia BCS title will mean a $150,000 bonus for defensive coordinator Todd Grantham.

3. Minimum ticket price at Vanderbilt this year – $50 bucks.

4. Jatashun Beachum has re-enrolled at Arkansas – but is not on the football team.

5. Jon Solomon: “If it so desires, Alabama could become an SEC athletics powerhouse.”

6. A Columbia, Missouri group will spend roughly $350,000 on pre-game football parties this fall.

7. When it comes to certain schools leaving the Big 12, Kansas coach Bill Self doesn’t have a problem with it.

8. There are many reasons why Jelan Kendrick is no longer a member of the Ole Miss basketball team.

9. Tennessee’s Jeronne Maymon has surgery on his left knee but is expected to be ready when the Vols basketball team goes to Italy in August.

10. The number one college basketball player in 2011-2012?  Not a surprise.

11. Former Florida guard Bradley Beal could be a top three pick in the NBA draft later this month.

12. Former Gator Chandler Parsons is glad he stayed all four years at Florida.


13. “Anyone who really thinks college presidents will suddenly get religion and put education over sports is dreaming.”

14. Questions raised about I’ll Have Another’s trainer after horse pulls out of Belmont Stakes. “Checkered history..”


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New Deals For Richt, Grantham, And McGarity At UGA; Richt Can Leave With Zero Buyout

The University of Georgia and football coach Mark Richt finally agreed to and announced that new contract extension they’ve been working on since the end of last season.  Defensive coordinator Todd Grantham got a new deal, too.  It was even announced that AD Greg McGarity had had his contract extended, too.

But the most interesting part of all this news?  Richt’s buyout.  On Georgia’s end, the school would owe the coach $4.8 million if it fires him after this coming season, just $2.4 million after 1013, down to $1.6 million after 2014, and all the way down to $800,000 after 2015.  If the coach remains in place for that length of time — which means he’s had continued success — it’s likely the contract and buyouts will be changed.

That said, that’s even the most interesting part of the buyout portion of the contract.  If Richt leaves UGA on his own, he will owe the school nothing.  Nada.  Zip.  Not a penny.  Through the life of the entire deal.

Under his previous agreement, Richt would have had to pay the school at least $2 million had he exited for another job.

“There’s no question that Mark Richt wants to be at the University of Georgia,” McGarity said of the new pact.  “He and I are in a great place.  This is a very positive deal… I don’t want anybody to read anything into that other than it’s all good on both side of the ledger here.”

Georgia’s AD added: “I think people are gonna twist it and say whatever they want to about it.  But I’m just telling you the truth.  I’m telling you how it is between Mark and myself.  There’s no monkey business here.”

Regarding that no buyout portion of the deal, Richt said:


“I think it’s Greg’s philosophy on the contract.  It’s not something that I was asking for.  It was something that he suggested and I said that would be fine.  I think the bottom line for me, gosh, I think I’ve been here long enough for everybody to understand… that Georgia’s my home.  Georgia’s where I want to be.  Georgia’s the only job I want.”


“At the end of the day, I’ve always believed that money should not be a determining factor that people stay,” McGarity said.  “I’ve just felt like that shouldn’t really be an anchor around anybody’s neck.  Life’s too short.  If someone wants to move on, I have no problem with that.  This sort of allows people to do what they really want to do.”

Richt — as expected — did not receive much of a raise, standing pat on salary at about $2.8 million per year through 2016.  His bonuses and incentives did double, as had previously been announced.  According to McGarity, Richt’s bonuses are “among the top in college football, if not the top.”

Now, back to McGarity’s comment that he doesn’t want anyone reading into the no-buyout thing.  Some already are.  For example, there’s already speculation among some Dawg fans that the lack of a buyout might allow McGarity — if faced with a tough situation in a year or two — to “encourage” Richt to find another job.  The coach, of course, could hold out, demand to be fired and collect his own small buyout from the school.  Or he could save face, say he made the move on his own, leave free and clear, and keep McGarity from having to oust a man who’ll someday be revered as a legend in Athens.

Well, that’s possible.  Doubtful, but possible.

McGarity himself received a pay raise from UGA’s board yesterday in addition to a two-year extension.

As for defensive coordinator Todd Grantham, the third year assistant will get a raise from $700,000 per season to $825,000.  In the age of million-dollar coordinators, that’s a darned good value for UGA.

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UGA’s Richt Expects Some “Vinegar” When His Dawgs Play Vandy

At the end of last year’s Georgia-Vanderbilt game, there were some on-field fireworks between Commodore head coach James Franklin and UGA defensive coordinator Todd Grantham.  Franklin didn’t like what a gloating Bulldog player said to him after the contest.  Grantham didn’t like Franklin bringing his complaint to him.

Franklin went on to deliver his now famous “we are not gonna sit back and take stuff from anybody” speech in the postgame presser.  Grantham was later told to tone things down by Mark Richt and AD Greg McGarity.

That episode hasn’t been forgotten.  Asked yesterday by a Dawg fan if Richt might send Grantham to the pressbox for this year’s matchup with Vandy, Richt laughed and said:


“Yeah, he may need to go upstairs.  You know what, I think the Bulldog Nation likes a little piss and vinegar…

We all as coaches have to set the right tone and that kind of thing.  But it was an interesting exchange, I’ll say that.  I don’t think we’ll have much trouble getting jacked up to play the Vanderbilt Commodores this year, I’ll tell you that.”


Here’s guessing Franklin would say the same about his team getting up for Georgia this year.

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SEC Headlines – 3/29/12 Part One

1.  Florida’s defensive players are more comfortable as they begin Year Two under coordinator Dan Quinn.

2.  Will Muschamp has allowed tight end AC Leonard to return to practice after a February arrest, but the coach says the player still has work to do before his fall status “is addressed.”

3.  Asked if he might have another emotional blowup on the field this fall, Georgia D-coordinator Todd Grantham said, “We’ll see.”

4.  This writer says “Georgia is back to having behavior problems.”

5.  Frank Martin’s recruiting ability gives South Carolina a chance to build in basketball.

6.  Stephen Garcia was back at USC for Pro Day voicing  regrets.

7.  New defensive coordinator Sal Sunseri is ramping up the tempo at Tennessee.

8.  Signal-caller Tyler Bray continues to show more maturity.

9.  Vanderbilt didn’t land ex-Maryland quarterback Danny O’Brien, but Wyoming transfer QB Austyn Carta-Samuels is at practice.

10.  There’s more competition for spots at Vandy this spring.

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Richt, Grantham Pacts Extended At UGA

The University of Georgia has announced today that the contracts of head coach Mark Richt and defensive coordinator Todd Grantham have been extended.  Richt’s deal will be extended three years through the 2016 season.  Financial details of the new pact aren’t yet finalized.

“The extension is a statement that we are excited to have Mark as our coach and that he is excited about being at Georgia in the years to come,” AD Greg McGarity said via press release.

Richt makes $2.81 million per yer under his current deal.

Grantham has been given a two-year extension which takes him through the 2014 season.  Again, the finishing touches have yet to be put on his new financial package.

“I’ve said for many years that I wanted to be at Georgia as long as Georgia wanted me,” Richt said in the release.  “I’m excited about where we are with our program and looking forward to the years ahead.

With a 10-win season in 2011, Richt was able to turn around and walk back down from the gallows that many UGA fans had prepared for him.  But after more than a decade in Athens, the clock is still ticking for Richt.

That’s simply a reality of the current college football culture and the 24-hour media cycle.  Coaches don’t stay in jobs as long as they once did.  Fans tire of them more easily.  And with what fans are coughing up for tickets and parking spots and concessions, they want more bang for their buck.

We applaud Georgia’s extension of Richt’s deal.  He’s the tip-top best ambassador the SEC has, bar none and his track record of success at UGA would make him an instant-hire elsewhere if he ever departed.  But the next time his team loses four or five games in a season, the talk will once again be about letting him go, not about giving him extensions.  That’s just the world we live in today.

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