Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Grantham addresses Muschamp comments
By David Ching
ATLANTA -- Florida coach Will Muschamp created waves Tuesday with his comments at a Gator Club meeting about Georgia’s two-game winning streak against its biggest rival.
One person who wasn’t surprised by Muschamp’s remark that “it’s not going to be a long winning streak, I can assure you” was Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham.
“What do you expect him to say at a Gator function?” Grantham told reporters Wednesday afternoon prior to speaking at the UGA Day event in Atlanta. “Will’s a guy that I know personally, and I think he’s done a great job at Florida. I think he’s very competitive, as we all are as coaches. He’s a guy that wants to win. I think he’s just really trying to fire up the people in Jacksonville.”
Georgia generated six turnovers against the Gators in last season’s 17-9 win, which Grantham said was a major key to that victory -- and in many others since he became defensive coordinator in 2010.
“When you turn the ball over, you’re going to have a hard time winning,” Grantham said. “In the last two years, we’ve had 62 turnovers, which is second only to LSU. And I think right now if we’re plus-one in games played since I’ve been here, we’re right around 92 percent win.”
Regardless, such summertime booster club comments are hardly abnormal -- or of concern to the Bulldogs’ coaches.
“The fact is the last two years, we’ve won in Florida and we’ve won the SEC East,” he said. “From that standpoint, that stuff really has no effect on me or how we prepare.”
Grantham and Georgia men’s basketball coach Mark Fox were both on hand at the Atlanta Marriott Buckhead Hotel and Conference Center for Wednesday’s event. Among the other subjects the two coaches covered:
* Grantham said he expects all of the Bulldogs’ defensive signees to be academically cleared to arrive on campus at the first of June.
“I expect them right now all to be there. I don’t see anything as a glitch,” Grantham said. “There might be a guy graduating on that day, but they’ll be there for that session. It might be a guy has a graduation on June 3 and might not be there until the 4th or something like that, but other than that I fully expect everybody to be there right now.”
* Fox said the recently opened position on his staff -- created when assistant Kwanza Johnson accepted a job at TCU -- is still open for applications for two more days. He said the job has already attracted “a lot of interest.”
“I really would like to have somebody for the start of summer school so the players can come back and that person is settled and when camp starts, that person is here,” Fox said. “We can’t recruit until July 10th I think it is, so there’s a lot of time before that.”
Among the candidates he said he will consider is former UGA player Jonas Hayes, who served as the Bulldogs’ operations coordinator this season.
Hayes’ brother, Jarvis, re-enrolled at Georgia this week to complete his degree, Fox said. Jarvis Hayes was Georgia’s last first-round NBA draft pick, going 10th overall in the 2003 draft. He most recently played professionally in Israel.
* Fox said he expects all of his signees to arrive on campus at the first of June except Cameron Forte, who must pass one more junior college class and should arrive in July.
* Fox said SEC Player of the Year Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, who left UGA after a standout sophomore season, was officially projected by the NBA “slightly better than where Trey [Thompkins] was and quite a bit better than maybe where Travis [Leslie] was projected.”
“But that’s just to get in the race,” Fox said of the draft projection. “Then you’ve got -- Grantham and I were talking the other night -- once you get on a pro team, you’ve got to keep your job. It’s a world of sharks.”
Georgia’s Thompkins and Leslie were both second-round draft picks in 2011. ESPN’s Chad Ford lists Caldwell-Pope as his No. 13 overall prospect for the upcoming draft.
* Among the new defensive players Grantham said he is excited to observe in preseason practice are junior college transfers Shaquille Fluker and Kennar Johnson -- whom Grantham said would be able to contribute at either cornerback or safety -- cornerback Shaq Wiggins and linebacker Tim Kimbrough.
* Grantham added that he believes junior college signee Toby Johnson -- who learned this week that he qualified academically -- should be healthy enough to compete for playing time when the Bulldogs open preseason practice. Johnson tore his ACL early last season.
“I’m really proud of the work he’s done academically,” Grantham said. “He’s really committed himself both from a rehabilitation standpoint and an academic standpoint to come to Georgia. We’re really excited about him.”