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September 3, 2010

Grantham Prologue

On the eve of the unveiling of Todd Grantham's new 3-4 scheme, I wanted to give a couple of links and ask a couple of questions about our new defense.  First, although these are old articles, our own Mark Schlabaugh has a couple of good pieces on the proliferation of the 3-4 and the personnel required to run it effectively.  Saban and Grantham figure prominently, but the articles notes that a bunch of teams are making the same switch this season. 

I have tried to avoid my general ambivalence and pessimism of last year or the co-existing duality of optimism and pessimism shown by Doug or Kyle.  But, the more I think about our returning personnel and the general state of the defense, the more uncertain I am about our defensive outlook.  I didn't say pessimistic, just uncertain.  

Here are the things I like.  Most importantly, I feel much more confident that our players will be fundamentally sound.  From what I've heard regarding our new defensive assistants, they are stressing sure tackling and technique.  Those two things were the most noticeable drop offs from VanGorder's death explosions to Willie's nudging, armless projectiles.  Second, we have a scheme that will require some additional prep work from week to week.  Although the 3-4 is spreading, it's still an exception from the 4-3 that most other teams in the SEC run.  That requires a different practice scheme for our opponents to simulate.  Third, I have faith in the Grantham brain.  He'll well thought of by people who know the 3-4 and has coached with some 3-4 masters.  He knows what he's doing, right?

But, I also have some misgivings.  First, how well can the Grantham mind-meld work on our linebackers?  While I want the scheme to confuse opposing QBs, sometimes the first year of a scheme change also confuses the people who are running that scheme.  Grantham has been optimistic in the preseason press, but it still has to face some very clever offensive coordinators this year.  Second, do we have the DL personnel to eat space and keep our LBs free enough to implement the stunts necessary to confuse and pulverize those opposing QBs?  Demarcus Dobbs is credible, but everyone else playing nose or end is a big, fat question mark.  They can stay fat, but they can't stay question marks.  Those guys have to step in and perform for the scheme to function properly.  (See for example Alabama's 3-4 without Mt. Cody, #31 in total defense, opposed to with him, #2 and #3 in total defense.)

So, what do you think?  Is Grantham the guy who returns us to the Russell/VanGorder "if we score more than 20 we'll win" defensive safety?  Or, will Grantham turn out to be someone about whom you say "how can that guy make that much money by producing that crappy of a defense?"  We need the former, because we've already seen enough of the latter.

Quinton

12 comments:

Hobnail_Boot said...

Doubt we really know until 2011. I expect we'll lose at least 1 game this year due to transition.

AwesomeDawg said...

I tend to have more pessimism than optimism. No due to Grantham, but due solely to our personnel. The defense has been lacking overall playmakers from top to bottom. I believe that the Dawgs will be a better overall defensive squad, however, there will be far too many blown assignments over the course of the season. Defensive growing pains plus an inexperienced QB equal a 1-2 start (oh, and the possibility of AJ missing the first 2 games due to the lack of a timely NCAA response).

AwesomeDawg said...

I tend to have more pessimism than optimism. No due to Grantham, but due solely to our personnel. The defense has been lacking overall playmakers from top to bottom. I believe that the Dawgs will be a better overall defensive squad, however, there will be far too many blown assignments over the course of the season. Defensive growing pains plus an inexperienced QB equal a 1-2 start (oh, and the possibility of AJ missing the first 2 games due to the lack of a timely NCAA response).

Anonymous said...

I'm more or less in the same boat. I'm most certainly expecting an improvement in the fundamental things that my sister could see we were lacking in last year (along with the other iterations of Willie).

I'm expecting us to play fast and aggressive to the ball. As a result, I'm expecting us to give up some relatively big plays early and hoping that as the season rolls along we'll be more in tune with how the defense is supposed to function.

Or maybe, just maybe, Grantham is some sort of long lost SEC savant master who can figure out opposition offenses like Hawking on quantum mechanics and we dominate the crap out of everybody.

A boy can dream, can't he?

Anonymous said...

I don't know what the end of year record will be but I'm 100% certain the best defensive players will play and they will play hard. If we get beat it will be because we get beat on the field. It won't be because the team is unprepared. It won't be because the new defensive coaches get out coached. Nor will that insane Fabris be screwing up the special teams. That will only help the defense.

Anonymous said...

I know that I'm already tired of UGA pundits talking about the need for "space eating" defensive linemen while referencing Mt. Cody. Do some freaking research. Grantham runs a one-gap scheme, which doesn't require the sort of space eaters you referenced. How big is Jay Ratliff. In the internet age, there is no excuse for shoddy research.

Anonymous said...

Dude, There are variations of the 3-4 defense. Grantham plays a one gap defense, not a traditional two-gap, which Alabama runs. The traditional two-gap requires the space-eating nose. Grantham's does not. That said, ALL defenses require studs up front. Do some research on the differences and you should feel a bit better. The Senator has a post with a link somewhere in the last 2-3 weeks.

Georgia Real said...

Looks like it worked out good so far considering what the Dawgs did to the Cajuns. Hope Grantham is able to orchestrate more performances of the defense like that.

Charlestowne Dawg said...

I think we are going to be ok this year. We're going to give up some big plays with the new transition, but overall we will play harder and faster than in the past.

The talent is not the issue. We have great athletes; however, they just weren't being put in the correct positions to make the big plays last year. I feel like that all changes this year.

Anonymous said...

It's Sunday afternoon - nesrly 24 hours after the most fun-to-watch UGA game since Colt Brennan and his Hairy Midgets. Yet not a single post-game analysis piece from the former go-to Dawg fan blog?

C'mon, PWD. As my Dad would say, I'm not mad, I'm just disappointed. Miss you guys.

Muckbeast said...

This used to be an active blog. What happened?

Day after the first game, and the newest post is something from 2 days ago?

Sam, Dawg Fan said...

Special teams. Watching Boise state was informative. A starting WR blocks a punt (and shortly thereafter catches a TD pass). Boise is one of the best special teams teams in the country. I guess having one of your best athletes on special teams is something that UGA needs to consider. Florida does it; VA Tech does it.

 
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