Friday, February 15, 2013

Hunger Games, and Grantham's (new) defense

We're actually less than 200 days away from college football again. That both sucks and provides hope. At the same time. Much in the way a brownie provides excess fat calories and gooey deliciousness. Simultaneously. The two are married together; a union of dichotomous ambivalence.

If that makes any damn bit of sense to you in any way whatsoever, you are too good to read this blog. Carry on sir.

But for the rest of you, I'm already growing tired of one "woe is me" meme developing this off season. I know for Georgia fans there is always a sense of needing to panic and fret over something related to the football program. But this just sticks too far in my craw:

"Next season the defense is going to suck."

I get it y'all. There are numerous holes to fill and Jarvis ain't walking through that door. Ever again. They're all gone and they turned out the lights before they left town. Two nose tackles, 1.5 defensive ends (Jenkins played a lot here), 3 inside linebackers, 1 outside linebacker, 2 cornerbacks and 2 safeties. Assuming I haven't missed someone and have counted correctly, that's 11 (and a half) players. Jeez Louise that's a lot of talent and destruction.

But turn the lights back on and stop crying in the dark. That's also the defense that seemingly played more for draft stock than championship rings last season. There were some serious lapses and inexplicable flaws in some games and during important stretches which can be addressed by this size of roster turnover. Even without Shawn Williams around to dress them down in order to build them back up. (But I hope Richt keeps his contact info just in case.)

Those lapses and flaws can be blamed on Grantham! That's what many would have you believe, that the defensive coordinator is the problem for Columbia SC and Lexington KY and the near Tennessee fiasco at home. But if he's to blame for those, then he deserves credit for Columbia MO and Jacksonville, and the Vanderbilt beat down in A-Town. (For the record, this is a point that Tyler hits on with all four tires smoking in these two posts here and here.)

Besides, hard to argue with Grantham's logic heading into spring practice: 
“You’ve got to learn how to win a position before you can help us win a game.” 
The guys last year had won their positions. Subsequently, I would argue that they lost their hunger at specific moments when a voracious appetite was needed. Whether that is the coordinator's fault is a matter of debate on a level I'm not cleared for as one who types outside the arena. But we can all agree that the guys that will be competing for starting roles in 2013 will be eager to please and plenty hungry.

And I like the idea of that. A lot.