Todd Grantham, Florida Gators Fire Defense Coordinator

Photo: Todd Grantham; Credit: Alex Shepherd

The Florida Gators have relieved defensive coordinator Todd Grantham of his duties, according to to Bruce Feldman of The Athletic. The team also relieved offensive line coach John Hevesy, according to Feldman.

Grantham’s eventual sacking wouldn’t have come as a major surprise given his defense performance over the past two seasons, but to see it happen before the end of the season is certainly a revelation. Head coach Dan Mullen said after the Gators’ loss to the LSU Tigers on Oct. 16 that he was against a mid-season dismissal.

“No, I don’t like jumping to conclusions. It’s a long season on stuff there, “Mullen replied to the exact question.” I like to know the facts about everything that’s going on and what the issues are and what we’re doing and what we need to do about it. how we will improve and how we will do it.

Yet only three weeks later Grantham was released.

Grantham began his career with the Gators alongside Mullen when the coaching staff was recruited in late 2017. Florida’s defense improved rapidly, ending the 2018 season ranked 27th nationally and 6th overall. SEC in team defense (338.7 yards allowed per game) and No. 20 nationally / No. 6 SEC in scoring defense (20 points allowed per game). The Gators’ pass defense ranked 12th in the country and 2nd in the conference, allowing 178.9 yards per game in the air.

The Gators’ best season under Grantham came a year later in 2019, sparked by the transfer of the Louisville edge rusher Jonathan greenard who had previously played under Grantham with the Cardinals. The Gators finished in the top ten nationally in points (15.5 PPG) and total defense (306.6 YPG), ranking second in the SEC in both categories. UF also averaged 1.8 turnovers per game, tied for 17th in the nation.

However, it all fell apart in 2020, giving credit to the famous adage “Third and Grantham”. Defense lost stars to Greenard and cornerback CJ Henderson in the NFL Draft as well as a longtime center linebacker David reese ii as he lacked eligibility and began to regress powerfully.

Florida would finish No. 74 nationally / No. 8 SEC in rating (30.8 PPG) and n ° 83 at national level / n °. 9 SEC in team defense (428 YPG) in Grantham’s third year with the program. Despite the Gators’ historic offensive performances, the defense kept UF out of the college football playoffs, struggling tremendously with communication, finishing tackles and cover. The best example of this theory was Florida’s 52-46 loss to Alabama in the SEC Championship.

Grantham’s defense was better in 2021, but still flawed. The unit improved statistically, but players continued to take bad angles with running backs and miss tackles as a result. Communication errors were limited compared to 2020, but occasional misadventures have led to the abandonment of explosive games nonetheless.

The unit finished 63rd nationally in points against per game (24.7) and 45th in yards per game (353.6) in 2021 from Grantham.

The defeat against LSU and particularly stands out. The tigers are coming back Tyrion Davis-Price ran for 287 yards on 36 attempts in Week 7, a record-breaking yardage allowed for a player in Gators history. LSU limited their attack to block and rush as the match progressed. mostly in the opposite direction of UF’s top defensive linemen Zechariah Carter and Gervon Dexter, and Grantham failed to adjust to the hasty attack.

Grantham’s unit rebounded decently against the Georgia Bulldogs on October 30, the game after the loss to LSU, allowing just three runs until about two minutes before halftime. The Gators offense would commit three turnovers before halftime, giving the Bulldogs a six-and-two-drive pick for Florida. UF defense forced three turnovers, each falling into security hands Rashad Torrence II, but ultimately could not compensate for the offensive difficulties of the team.

However, things hit rock bottom (yet again) for the Gators’ defense last Saturday against South Carolina. The Gamecocks were reduced to their third quarterback, former FCS transfer Jason brown, and managed to score 40 points while gaining 459 total yards.

Mullen and UF are expected to start looking for a new defensive coordinator immediately.

Stay tuned to AllGators for ongoing coverage of Florida Gators football, basketball and scouting. Follow us on social media at @SI_AllGators on Twitter and Florida Gators on Sports Illustrated on Facebook.


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About Harold Shirley

Harold Shirley

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