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Can Georgia enjoy ‘third-and-Grantham’ for a change?

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New Florida defensive coordinator Todd Grantham’s aggression is paying off so far, but UGA fans are hoping for a relapse.

NCAA Football: Kentucky at Florida Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

This is what you think about when you think of a Todd Grantham defense:

A third (or fourth) down in an obvious passing situation, when Grantham dials up a blitz that looks like the whole damn team got sic’d on the quarterback in the huddle. When it works and the blitz hits home, it is a slobberknocking example of effective pressure.

This is Grantham’s calling card, and it’s basically become a meme.

When all else fails: BLITZ.

The Gators brought eight players on that game-ender against Mississippi State, and even Grantham said it wasn’t supposed to be that many players. But Grantham is known to be aggressive for better — like against Mississippi State — or worse, like when he coached for MSU the year prior. Those Bulldogs brought six against Alabama in a late-game situation on first down.

The risk didn’t pay off.

That was also a bit of a problem when he coached at Georgia.

Grantham cut his teeth at Virginia Tech under Frank Beamer and alongside Bud Foster, who is legendary for his pressure schemes. It’s no surprise that Grantham relies on the blitz.

When Mark Richt was coaching at Georgia, he called Foster to see if he was interested in coming to Athens to be his defensive coordinator. Foster passed, but recommended Grantham, who would have the job from 2010-2013.

Dawg fans weren’t exactly thrilled with his tenure, an up-and-down stretch in which UGA held up really well against third down in one season and not so great in the others.

  • 2010: 42 percent
  • 2011: 28.9 percent (No. 3 nationally)
  • 2012: 36.5 percent
  • 2013: 39.5 percent

That led to #ThirdAndGrantham becoming a thing on social media.

The easy assumption is that Grantham’s defense was blitzing on basically every third down and allowing his defense to get carved up. Perception about Grantham became reality, but regardless of how it happened, his defenses weren’t great on third-and-long.

The Gators aren’t exactly elite on third down overall this season, but have been getting better over the last few games.

And they’re making reference to the popular UGA fan complaint ahead of the two teams meeting.

Those stats offered by Florida miss an ounce of context, because two of the last three opponents (LSU and Vanderbilt) are among the worst third down teams in the country. But the sentiment is there. For now, Florida is enjoying third/fourth-and-Grantham. It remains to be seen if Florida will continue on this trajectory, or if they’ll regress to the mean on third down.

He’ll get a chance to spring his defense on his former team in the Cocktail Party, and we’ll see how the Dawgs are able to handle it with a quarterback situation that’s currently a bit of a mess after the loss to LSU in which the Dawgs went five of 14 against third-and-Aranda.