After four years, Todd Grantham is leaving his post as defensive coordinator at Georgia to take the same job for Bobby Petrino's new staff in Louisville. UL will reportedly be paying him $1 million per year, a figure UGA probably couldn't match even if it wanted to after the so-so year the Bulldogs' defense put in this year.
Grantham's hire was not quite a Hail Mary to save Mark Richt's tenure in Athens, but it was close. He had to fire much of his defensive staff, including embattled DC Willie Martinez, after the 2009 season, and he brought in Grantham and his pro-style 3-4 scheme to save things. Defense slid downhill consistently in the last few years of the old regime, so a change had to be made. It's not hard to imagine Richt's tenure ending had that hire not worked out.
After a bumpy transitional year, the Bulldogs defense was among the best in the country statistically in 2011-12. The unit had a down year in 2013 thanks in large part to a flood of players who headed off for the NFL, but it will return up to 10 starters (depending on injuries and position battles) next year. While Grantham's two best defenses were statistically great, they never quite seemed to live up to what the numbers said they did.
As for replacements, it's still early. One name Bruce Feldman threw out there is former USC defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast. He's out of a job thanks to the head coaching transition out there, but he put together a remarkable turnaround in his sole year in Los Angeles. Pendergast is another 3-4 guy like Grantham is, meaning such a transition would be less disruptive than the one to Grantham was.
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