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Friday, August 27, 2010

Grantham speaks, I blog

Let’s take a brief break from Washaun Ealey and his troubles to give you some actual football stuff. We had a chance to talk on Thursday to assistant coaches yesterday, and (as usual) got a lot of help from defensive coordinator Todd Grantham, who is engendering a lot of goodwill in Athens so far among the media.

(I suspect fans will be a bit more concerned with how Grantham's 3-4 defense works. Hey, we all have our priorities.)

We touched base with Grantham on a number of topics, which I now present to you in handy note form.

- On why Darryl Gamble has the edge to start at one of the outside linebacker spots:

“The guy’s playing well,” Grantham said. “He really is. He’s making plays. He’s very relentless in his approach to the ball. He’s been productive in every live situation that we’ve had. He’s a guy that I really expect to come on and be a good player for us. He’s been a really good addition to us.”

That said, Grantham emphasized that Gamble, Cornelius Washington and Justin Houston will “roll” in and out of the game. Washington was expected to start opposite Houston entering camp, but slipped behind Gamble. Still, Grantham didn’t have anything bad to say about Washington.

“Actually Cornelius has done fine. He’s gonna play. He’s gonna be in the rotation,” Grantham said. “Our first three games are at noon and I think it’s important that you keep guys fresh because to win them you need to win them in the fourth quarter.…

"He’s done a good job. I just think to be fair to everybody, like I told you, when guys make plays and produce you’ve gotta reward them. So I think it’s more of a sense of production, rather than not doing what you’re supposed to.”

MY TAKE: All preseason, it seemed Gamble was inching ahead of Washington, so this was no surprise. But Gamble will have to be consistent, which he hasn’t been able to be in his career. Washington, a sophomore, still has the most pure talent.

- Grantham is optimistic about Akeem Dent’s return to form:

“He worked out the other day and did some team stuff with us,” he said. “He’ll do some stuff with us again (Friday) and Saturday, and will continue to progress as the week goes. We’ll monitor it and see just how much he can play next week.”
As for who will start at the two inside linebacker spots:

“If (Dent) is healthy, he’ll be out there,” Grantham said. “You know, Christian Robinson has really been the quarterback since Dent’s not been in there. And he’s done a good job of getting guys lined up, making the calls so guys can play fast, and he’s played his position well. And I think (Marcus) Dowtin has continued to progress, and he shows flashes of being a really good player. So I think with those guys right there we’re gonna try to mix and match and keep guys fresh, and play those guys.”

MY TAKE: Rotating is the theme here, obviously. I think Dent will play against Louisiana-Lafayette, probably alongside Robinson at the start. But the competition between Robinson and Dowtin (and Akeem Hebron could inch his way in there too) will go on for several games, if not longer.

- The plan remains for DeAngelo Tyson to split time between nose and end, but right now he appears set to start at end.

“Honestly I think he’s gonna play both,” Grantham said. “I think he’ll be in a rotation, and if he’s in a rotation, and let’s say Bean’s (Justin Anderson) not up for whatever reason, then I’d say he’ll be in the nose. But if Bean’s the next guy in the game, then (Tyson is) gonna play end.”

MY TAKE: The staff must have a lot of confidence in the pass-rush skills of Tyson, who has no career sacks. Or they want him on the end to help stuff the run, freeing Houston and the other linebackers to be really aggressive.

- Finally, the safeties.

“Those guys are all gonna play,” Grantham said. “I think Jakar (Hamilton) has done a good job in showing that he can handle it. And I think he’s a guy that can make plays for you back there. So we’re gonna find ways to get him in the game.”

MY TAKE: Reading between the lines, Hamilton is the first backup, so Bacarri Rambo will start at free and Nick Williams at strong. But the three will “roll” a lot, as Grantham likes to say.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the hard work...but your titles to these postings of 'Blank speaks, I blog' are becoming a bit hackneyed...

Anonymous said...

I love the titles...if some of the coaches are speaking, I want to know which ones, and I want Seth to blog about them. Quit picking at the details and just enjoy his reporting.