After a handful of days of will he/won’t he drama, Todd Grantham will (for now) continue on at his defensive spot between the hedges.
One day after interviewing for the defensive coordinator position with the New Orleans Saints, Grantham announced through the school Friday that he will return as Georgia’s defensive coordinator in 2013. While Grantham’s statement says that he had “withdrawn my name from consideration” for the NFL job, it’s unknown at this point whether he was offered the job and turned it down or if he received a “thanks, but no thanks” response from the Saints.
Regardless of the particulars, Grantham is back to being all-in with the Bulldogs.
“I want to thank Sean Payton and the New Orleans Saints organization for the opportunity to interview and get to know them. They are a first class organization in every respect,” Grantham’s statement began. “As I said Wednesday, Georgia is a great place, my family loves it here, and I do as well. This is where our heart is and today I have withdrawn my name from consideration for the position with the Saints.
“I’m excited to start preparations for another season and along with the rest of our defensive staff look forward to coaching some really good returning players as well as developing some very talented newcomers.”
Thursday, athletic director Greg McGarity confirmed Grantham had informed him that, as stipulated in his contract, he would be interviewing with New Orleans. In addition to the Saints, Grantham’s name had been connected to the coordinator job with the Philadelphia Eagles as well.
While Grantham has spent the past three seasons with the Bulldogs, his previous 11 years of coaching have been spent at the NFL level. It’s long been assumed Grantham will ultimately return to that level, in large part because of the fact that’s he’s a highly-regarded commodity in several corners of that league.
No matter how good or bad your football team is nowadays, chances are high that your school is planning to upgrade football facilities in order to keep up with the burgeoning college athletics arms race.
Case in point lies in Lawrence, where Kansas is set to embark on a whopping $300 million renovation of Memorial Stadium that will also include an indoor practice facility. AD Sheahon Zenger disclosed the plans on Wednesday night while speaking at a booster function, according to the Kansas City Star.
“It will be something that will be just that next step in transcending our program to the next level,” Jayhawks head coach David Beaty reportedly said. “We really do have to keep up with the facility war that goes on out there.”
Memorial Stadium is one of the older stadiums in the Big 12, dating back to the 1921 opening of the site. While there have been a handful of updates in the past few years, there hasn’t really been much of a major renovation since 1998-99. Plans for the updated design and any additional features should be unveiled in September based on the timeline that Zenger disclosed.
No word on if Kansas is planning on adding any waterfalls to project just yet however.
The college athletics’ arms race of the past few decades has produced a number of unique designs when it comes to various stadiums and other football-centric facilities. Just about everybody is trying to hang their hat on something new and different to set themselves apart from the crowd and that ethos is seemingly creeping into just about every design element in any new building across the country.
Arkansas State appears to be the latest program to go in this direction and, based on new renderings of a north end zone project for Centennial Bank Stadium that were released on Thursday, the school is perfectly content to ignore TLC’s advice and start chasing actual waterfalls.
“This project will allow us to attract the top students in the country and provide first-class services to develop our students on and off the playing surfaces,” athletic director Terry Mohajir said in a statement on the school’s website for the project. “Additionally, we’ve created a unique feature to pay homage to the great state of Arkansas, the Natural State.”
This is far from the only water feature to be incorporated into a stadium in recent years (Jacksonville’s EverBank Field — home to the annual Florida-Georgia game — has a pool after all) but is a little bit outside the box for a smaller FBS school’s stadium. The two waterfalls are set to be placed on either side of the north end zone grandstand and include a new outdoor premium seating area as well. Also included in the project are a new weight room, a training/rehabilitation area, new football locker room, position meeting rooms, a players’ lounge, academic rooms and team-theater meeting area.
No cost breakdown or timeline were given but safe to say the former will involve millions of dollars and the latter will result in several years passing before the water is flowing in Jonesboro.
Bronco Mendenhall didn’t have to look far to find someone to fill the hole on his Virginia coaching staff.
The football program announced in a press release that Mendenhall has promoted Vic So’oto (pictured, No. 37) to defensive line coach. Last season, his first with the Cavaliers, So’oto, who played his college football for Mendenhall at BYU from 2005-10, served as a graduate assistant.
So’oto replaces Ruffin McNeill, who left Charlottesville earlier this month for a spot on Lincoln Riley‘s staff at Oklahoma.
“Vic was Ruffin’s understudy for the last year-and-a-half,” Mendenhall said in a statement. “He was my very first commitment at BYU when I became the head coach. He was a very good player for us and someone who has experience playing in the NFL.
“He’s very passionate. He is very knowledgeable about defensive football and our system. He knows the defensive line play in our system, inside and out. He’s a great teacher and fits perfectly and seamlessly into this position because he was taught and mentored by Ruff this past year. Our defensive front won’t miss a beat.”
Heading into the 2017 season, Kerry Coombs will have an additional title on his coaching résumé.
Ohio State announced Thursday that Coombs has been promoted to assistant coordinator, defense, by Urban Meyer. Coombs will retain his titles of special teams coordinator and cornerbacks coach as well.
Greg Schiano will remain in his role as defensive coordinator.
“Kerry Coombs is absolutely deserving of this promotion to assistant coordinator, defense,” the head coach said in a statement. “He is an outstanding coach, instructor and mentor to the young men in this program. He is one of the best recruiters in the nation. He is incredibly loyal, and we at Ohio State are very fortunate that he loves this school and loves being a Buckeye.”
Coombs will be entering his sixth season with the Buckeyes, one of two assistants, the other being wide receivers coach Zach Smith, who have been with Meyer all five of his seasons in Columbus.
The past two years, three of Coombs’ corners — Marshon Lattimore and Gareon Conley in 2017, Eli Apple in 2016 — have been selected in the first round of the NFL draft. Another, Bradley Roby, was taken in the first round of the 2014 draft.