One of the more interesting questions for Florida this season will be how the Gators’ defense looks under new coordinator Todd Grantham.
Grantham came with Dan Mullen from Mississippi State and brings a wealth of experience from both the NFL and the college game.
Grantham, 51, was a college assistant for nine years (1990-98) before moving on the NFL, where he then spent a decade learning under the likes of Jim Mora, Dom Capers and Wade Phillips. He returned to the college game in 2010 to become the defensive coordinator for Mark Richt at Georgia. After four seasons with the Bulldogs, he spent three seasons as Louisville’s coordinator before moving to Mississippi State last season.
In his eight seasons as a college coordinator, one thing is clear: Grantham likes to get after the opposing quarterback.
Grantham’s defenses the past eight seasons have 265.5 sacks. That’s 33 sacks per season, and that’s usually a top-30 finish in sacks nationally. In the same time frame, Florida had 223 sacks, which is 28 per seasons; that generally is a top-50 finish in sacks nationally.
Grantham’s defenses also have produced one notable sack guy each season; in those eight seasons, he has had five players reach double figures in sacks. In the past eight seasons, Florida hasn’t had anyone reach double figures.
Here’s a season-by-season look.
2010: Georgia, OLB Justin Houston, 10 sacks
2011: Georgia, OLB Jarvis Jones, 13.5 sacks
2012: Georgia, OLB Jarvis Jones, 14.5 sacks
2013: Georgia, OLB Leonard Floyd, 6.5 sacks
2014: Louisville, DE Sheldon Rankins, 8 sacks
2015: Louisville, OLB Devonte Fields, 10.5 sacks
2016: Louisville, OLB James Hearns, 8 sacks
2017: Mississippi State, OLB Montez Sweat, 10.5 sacks
2010: DE Duke Lemmens, 3 sacks
2011: DE Ronald Powell, 6 sacks
2012: DE Dominique Easley, 4 sacks
2013: OLB Ronald Powell, 4 sacks
2014: DE Dante Fowler Jr., 8.5 sacks
2015: DL Jonathan Bullard and DE Alex McCalister, 6.5 sacks
2016: DE Jabari Zuniga, 5 sacks
2017: DE Cece Jefferson, 4.5 sacks
Grantham prefers a 3-4 set, and Florida’s defense this decade has been a 4-3 unit, and the transition this season may not be smooth because the Gators lack proven depth at linebacker. Regardless of that, though, expect more pressure.
Grantham and his defensive assistants have some pass-rush talent, most notably with Jefferson and Zuniga.
Grantham has proven that he knows how to run a defense that can get after opposing quarterbacks, and how quickly the front seven players adapt this spring will go a long way toward determining how disruptive they will be this fall.
(You can follow Ryan Green on Twitter @RyanGreenGN)
© 2016, gridironnow.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.