An interview with Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham is like sitting in on an upper level course in physics or algebra.
You've got to pay close attention or risk getting left behind.
Especially when Grantham gets on roll breaking down the 3-4 defense, in this case the different adjustments that can be made against power-running teams whose goal it is to pound the football in between the tackles.
"Just from a general view, you want to try to force teams - kind of like in basketball - make them go to your left," Grantham said. "If they're a running team you've obviously got to mix it up but you've still to be balanced with what you're doing but you want to force them to do something they're not comfortable doing. That's the ideal situation."
As to the question whether or not he installed his entire defensive package, the answer is yes.
"I believe in teaching in concepts and conceptually everything is in. There might be a different pattern here, coverage here or adjustment there but for the most part things are in," Grantham said. "Now, we'll be adding some things, but to me that's part of training camp."
That's not all.
Grantham explained he will spend the early part of preseason identifying roles for different players. But ultimately, his goal is to get members of his defense to improve every day.
"You want to make them systematically understand what you have from a package standpoint. In saying that, you still have to work on your opponent so we're going to face different offenses throughout the season," Grantham said. "So I think it's better to have basic understanding of the teams you're going to play so when you first go into it, it's not cold turkey. So, we're going to spend times on the things we're going to see during the season and how we're going to play them. By doing that you get a little bit of the foundation so when you start on Monday of game week, it's not totally new so that gives you a little bit of a background of what you're trying to do."
Grantham said he's got no worries about having enough talent to make the 3-4 work for the Bulldogs this fall.
"We already have that broken down but each year you're going to have a different team and that's why I think it's important to have position flexibility systematically where you can allow your players to do the things that they do well," Grantham said. "When we get into the season we are a 3-4 but we are multiple. We'll do multiple things and put the players into position to be successful and the best that they can do.
"We have a package in-depth enough where we can be successful. You always tweak things based about on what you're trying to stop and the personnel that you have. There are always adjustments going on in that area, so it's been modified some but not enough to where it's going to hinder our performance or anything like that."
Grantham said he expects junior DeAngelo Tyson to play a key role.
According to Georgia's DC, Tyson is in fact penciled into be the starter at nose but did not rule out him sliding over to end depending on the progress of redshirt freshman Kwame Geathers, former offensive linemen Justin Anderson, among others.
"Kwame is doing a good job. He's one of the guys I'm talking about when I mention the young guys coming on," Grantham said. "I think it's important to have depth up front because I believe in playing a lot of guys on the defensive line because up there it's a relentless approach to the ball on each play and they're going to get gassed more than other positions."
As for Anderson, the jury is still out but Grantham is hopeful the switch will be a productive one.
"We haven't seen him practice yet. I know he was excited about the transition. Obviously from a size standpoint he's someone we believe can command double-team situations there," Grantham said. "He's been excited about the move and I know he's worked hard this offseason to learn the system. He's going to be somewhat behind because it's one thing to learn the system in the classroom then go out and do it on the practice field. But if he can come on, he will obviously give us some depth."
Grantham added that he has no concern regarding the size of his inside linebackers, adding he expects senior Akeem Dent to have a big year.
As for Georgia's freshmen, he's taking a wait and see approach there as well, not only in regards to what position his defensive rookies might play, but how much game action they will ultimately see.
"My philosophy on freshmen is just like when you have rookies - we're going to put them in there early and evaluate them to find out first of all the best positions for them this year and how they can help us and what kind of role they can have for us this year," Grantham said. "They're all going to get their chance."
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