Georgia’s Mike Bobo and Todd Grantham both have the word “coordinator” in their job titles. To coordinate is defined as, “bringing the different elements of a complex activity or organization into a relationship that will ensure efficiency or harmony.”
As the Bulldogs’ defensive coordinator, it appears Grantham has the tougher job this season.
Bobo and Grantham each made themselves available to reporters Wednesday to discuss their preparations and objectives for preseason camp, which begins Aug. 1. Bobo, Georgia’s offensive coordinator, said his main focus will be “attention to detail.” And that’s understandable, considering the offense returns 10 starters and 10 of the team’s top 12 yardage producers from last season.
Grantham, by contrast, is starting nearly from scratch. Officially, the Bulldogs return four starters on defense, but only one — cornerback Damian Swann — came out of camp last year as a starter. And Grantham already has lost one of his first-year starters for Game 1.
Given that, Grantham’s task for the preseason would appear to involve more “creation” than “coordination.” Nevertheless, he insists he’ll approach this camp like he has every other.
“Every year you start over,” said Grantham, who is entering his fourth season with the Bulldogs. “It’s the same from the standpoint that you’re going to start from Day 1 with a basic, fundamental approach. … We have roughly 17 new players who weren’t here last year. Some of those guys came in the spring, and I think we got a good idea what those guys can do. That was very beneficial to us and to them.”
Grantham said his basic format for the 29-practice schedule will remain intact: The first third of the workouts are for evaluation, the second third for development and the last third for defining players’ roles and putting in the game plan for the Aug. 31 season opener at Clemson.
“It’s really going to be no different than any camp we’ve done,” Grantham said. “You need to do it that way because you have to be ready for the long haul.”
Conversely, Bobo welcomes back the majority of players from a unit that scored a school-record 520 points and topped the 40-point mark eight times. That includes a fourth-year starter at quarterback in Aaron Murray, a pair of tailbacks who combined for 2,595 yards and 27 touchdowns and the entire starting line.
But that doesn’t mean Bobo’s charges can expect a laid-back August of walk-throughs and reviews.
“The main thing I’m looking for on our side of the ball is attention to detail,” Bobo said. “We have a number of experienced players returning who have made big plays in games, but we’re going to take nothing for granted. Every detail is of the utmost importance.”
Bobo said he will enumerate three goals to his players when they report Tuesday: He wants Georgia to lead the SEC in fewest turnovers while reducing the number of penalties and missed assignments.
“If we do that we can be successful on offense,” he said.
Bobo also said he expects to see improvement from Murray, who has passed for more than 10,000 yards in his career and accounted for 104 touchdowns.
“We want to see him extend some plays,” Bobo said. “Early in his career, really all he did was look to extend a play and run around. So we worked hard with him to become a complete quarterback, and he’s done a good job of that. Now we want to see him extend more plays with his legs.
“Not that we want him to become (Robert Griffin III) or (Colin) Kaepernick or anything like that. … But I think that’s one area he can improve on. He’s worked hard on it, and he’s in the best condition of his life right now.”
Grantham hadn’t even warmed the seat beneath him before he was asked who he expects to start the opening game at strong safety. Sophomore Josh Harvey-Clemons won that job in spring practice, but received a one-game suspension for violating team rules.
Junior Corey Moore was the first player Grantham mentioned. But he quickly added that the Bulldogs will take a close look at Shaq Fluker, a junior college transfer from Meridian, Miss., that he has confidence in senior Connor Norman’s ability to play the position and that he could turn to cornerback Damian Swann in the nickel (five defensive backs) package.
“We’ll kind of mess with it the first part of training camp,” Grantham said.
In the end, Georgia’s offense will do its part to try to get the defense prepared. Bobo said the Bulldogs might have more No. 1 offense-versus-No. 2 defense competition this preseason. The two coaches are known for their intensity when competing in practices and scrimmages, but Bobo has been careful not to gloat this year.
“Nothing’s really said about that,” Bobo said. “Both of us are going to work extremely hard trying to get our side ready and take nothing for granted as a coaching staff. That’s the main thing.”