Todd Grantham talks Belk Bowl

Current Louisville, former UGA defensive coordinator Todd Grantham talks bowl matchup

While Georgia fans awaited the bowl announcement on Dec. 7— and almost immediately realized the implications of the matchup— Louisville defensive coordinator Todd Grantham was preparing for things even further in the future, which delayed him hearing of Louisville’s bowl opponent.

“I was actually out recruiting, found out a little bit later. You know obviously [Georgia]’s going to be a great competition for us,” Grantham said.

He continued emphasizing how important recruiting is during this time of year and how his focus has really been geared towards the future of Louisville, hoping to compete for an ACC title next year.

But Louisville and Grantham’s defense still have to finish out this season, competing against the No. 2 rushing offense in the SEC.

“The combination of good coaching and good talent has allowed them to be one of the most explosive offenses in the country,” Grantham said.

Matching his defense to the run-heavy Georgia offense is going to be a “tremendous challenge,” according to Grantham. Between freshman Nick Chubb’s big runs, the offensive line and receivers sticking to blocks, Grantham pointed out many of the Bulldogs’ strengths that contribute to their offense.

“Nick’s done a great job running the ball,” Grantham said. “Anytime you get those kind of double-digit runs, it’s the team that’s doing it.”

In order to combat the run, Grantham said his defense works hard to eliminate gaps and space that allow the double-digit runs that Chubb has legged out in Todd Gurley’s absence.

Grantham said that he hadn’t watched much film on Georgia before the bowl announcement. Though, being only one year removed from the program, he still has a lot of familiarity with the Georgia offense, players and coaches. More than familiarity, Grantham said he has a “great amount of respect” for the players, specifically noting seniors David Andrews and Hutson Mason.

Grantham gave Mason credit for putting in time waiting for his starting opportunity while backing up Aaron Murray.

“[Mason] knows the offense, he’s done a tremendous job taking care of the ball,” Grantham said. “ I’m really proud of what he’s done and happy for him.”

The defensive coordinator also offered up a good bit of praise for his former coworker, Mike Bobo.

“I think Mike’s done a tremendous job with [the offense]. He’s passionate in his coaching. He’s got a great mind for what he wants to get done,” Grantham said.

Though the matchup adds drama for those watching, especially the Bulldogs’ faithful fans driving from Athens, Georgia to Charlotte, North Carolina to watch one of the two teams earn it’s 10th win of the season, Grantham said that this is just an opportunity for the Cardinals to end the season on a win.

And a win in Charlotte, North Carolina could help the team move forward into the 2014-2015 season where, according to Grantham, Louisville could be in contention for a conference title, and even possibly a national title.

Grantham’s confidence comes from a combination of this season’s success and what he feels the Cardinals have in store for the future.

“Right now we are having the best recruiting class in the history of Louisville. We are on the road recruiting hard right now,” Grantham said.

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