BOZICH | Grantham gone, but don't minimize his Louisville contri - WDRB 41 Louisville News

BOZICH | Grantham gone, but don't minimize his Louisville contributions

Posted: Updated:
Louisville's defense ranked in the Top 20 nationally in total and rushing defense the last three seasons under Todd Grantham. (AP photo.) Louisville's defense ranked in the Top 20 nationally in total and rushing defense the last three seasons under Todd Grantham. (AP photo.)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — When you have covered football in this area since Lee Corso, Bob Weber and Fran Curci prowled the sidelines, you learn the differences between good and bad in the game.

You know good bowl games and miserable bowl games. Fiesta, Orange, Sugar, good. GMAC, Motor City, not so good.

You know dazzling quarterbacks and guys killing time.

You know fearsome defenses and defenses that couldn’t stop the mail.

Todd Grantham belongs on the list of the better defensive coordinators I’ve seen in Kentuckiana. 

Grantham earned and deserved more than the shrugs that surrounded his departure to Mississippi State. He will be missed.

Strangely, shrugs seemed to be the reaction after Grantham essentially changed jobs with Peter Sirmon, who arrives at U of L from Mississippi State as the Cardinals’ defensive coordinator.

Sirmon might be a rising star, a blast of energy and innovation, a recruiting hurricane deserving of every adjective that his hire has inspired in the last 24 hours.

Maybe Sirmon is the next great defensive coach, the way that Vance Bedford, Mike Cassity, Chris Smeland and Rick Lantz were the next great U of L defensive coaches before him.

But Grantham was no toad. He won’t be as easy to replace as a broken chinstrap. Louisville played winning defense more than losing defense during Grantham’s 39 games.

The circumstances of Grantham’s departure are borderline bizarre. Grantham will take a pay cut for a job that is a cut below the last two positions he filled at Louisville at Georgia.

Two years ago, Grantham was in line for a job with the Oakland Raiders. He stayed. Louisville made certain that he stayed by making Grantham one of the 10 highest paid assistant coaches in college football.

Now he’s leaving for a position with the fifth- or perhaps sixth-best program in the West Division of the Southeastern Conference? To work for a coach (Dan Mullen) who began the week by admitting that he was intrigued by the idea of working in the NFL?

You don’t have to be a caller to the Paul Finebaum Show to consider that unusual.

Did Grantham become the fall guy for the significant national PR hit U of L football took for the program’s involvement with a disgruntled member of the Wake Forest radio team?

Anything is possible. But remember, offensive coordinator Lonnie Galloway was the coach fined and suspended. Grantham was never publicly penalized or reprimanded.

This split has been rumored for years. Sports Illustrated reported “significant friction” between Grantham and U of L head coach Bobby Petrino in August 2014, before Grantham coached his first game as a Cardinal.

The report was swatted away. Forget about it. No big deal. Just coaches being coaches.

Could Grantham be difficult and occasionally profane?

You bet. 

Folks around the U of L program said that one minute Grantham could be a 5-star charmer and the next minute he’d walk past you in the football complex without offering even a grunting hello.

Just a coach with a big-time personality being a coach.

There was a reason Grantham was tolerated and compensated: He did excellent work.

His units ranked in the Top 20 nationally in rushing and total defense in each of the last three seasons.

Here is the list of the other FBS programs that cracked the Top 20 in those two categories in 2014, 2015 and 2106:

Alabama, Boston College and Michigan.

The Cards’ also ranked in the Top 40 nationally in scoring defense for three consecutive seasons. Louisville did not rank in the top 50 in scoring offense in 2015 or 2014.

Over Grantham’s three seasons, the Cards won five games when the offense scored less than 25 points. Winning with defense was sometimes the theme around Louisville football in 2014 and 2015.

That doesn’t make Grantham Tony Dungy or Bill Belichick. But he did good work at Louisville. He’ll be more difficult to replace than a broken chinstrap.

Copyright 2017 WDRB Media. All Rights Reserved.

  • Sign Up for the WDRB Sports Newsletter

    * denotes required fields

    Thank you for signing up! You will receive a confirmation email shortly.
  • Sign Up for WDRB's Sports Newsletter

    * denotes required fields

    Thank you for signing up! You will receive a confirmation email shortly.
Powered by Frankly
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2017 WDRB. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices.