Florida Gators Defensive Coordinator Todd Grantham spoke with local media on Tuesday. He recapped the Florida Gators win over Ole Miss, detailed how it wasn't a win at all for the defense and what they can do to improve before facing South Carolina on Saturday.
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Kaiir Elam said the game film pissed him off. You?
“At the end of the day you have to be honest, we made too many mistakes and we didn’t play to our standard. Right, wrong, for whatever reasons, it doesn’t matter. You are who you are. We didn’t play to the standard we played the last couple of years and just made too many mistakes. When you look at it it really got down to we didn’t finish. Whether it was we didn’t finish a play that created an explosive play or we didn’t finish a series, meaning you got them to 2nd-and-16 you should get off the field there. You have them in 3rd-and-19, you should win that one. And really that’s the end of the deal, we didn’t finish plays - whether it was an individual play or a series. Every series is within a game, meaning, like, let’s finish this series off. So hey, if it’s 3rd-and-short you find a way to finish, if it’s 3rd-and-long you find a way to finish. But at the end of the day let’s get off the field and give the offense the ball back. We made too many mistakes and didn’t finish and play to our standard. To be a good player, you have to always critique yourself and look at the things you did well and the things you have to improve upon. We do that every week whether we win or lose it doesn’t matter. You’ve got to own it. The biggest thing to me is moving forward, playing to our standard and understanding that we must play better. That’s been the focus this week is to play better this week coming up.”
How far away are you guys from reaching your standard?
“We’re supposed to play to the standard we played the last couple of years. I don’t think you ever make excuses for anything that’s out there. You look to get the job done, and that’s what we’re going to do. We just got to go execute the game plan and understand you have a role within each call and play to your role. That’s what we’re going to do.”
How would you defend Kyle Pitts?
“You’re talking about a guy that can be in the core and be a blocker, so he gives you the element he can cover guys up and you can run the ball. He obviously can extend himself and displace and become a wide receiver and a threat that way, and then he comes a mismatch whether it’s a corner or a linebacker. His body is going to be difficult for a cornerback to defend because of the size thing, and when you put a linebacker on him you get an athletic mismatch that way. He’s a really good player. I’m glad that he’s on our team. I’ve seen him make a lot of players over the course of the last couple of months.”
How much of Saturday’s game can be explained away by lack of spring and not tackling?
“I don’t look at it that way. I look at it as each play, how do you win the down? You want to win more downs than you obviously lose. We just didn’t play well enough, whether it was a fundamental error, whether it was a lack of execution, whether it was leverage on the ball, just finishing. I mean, we just didn’t do it. It is what it is. You’ve gotta own it. The biggest thing to me is how do we respond and get better. I don’t think you can ever use anything as an excuse. You gotta find ways to get the job done and that’s what we’re gonna do.”
Was effort an issue at all?
“I don’t think effort was an issue. I think that we had some guys that when you showed them this is the standard at which we play, and I think I said that, to me the whole thing about effort and those kinds of things is that it’s a teaching process. We had some really young players playing in the game. We had some guys playing new positions. Sometimes that can affect your mindset a little bit. I think the best way to educate guys is you show them the standard. If you watch there were plays that were the standards, the problem was that there weren’t enough of them for us to have the kind of performance we want to have. So you show them the plays that are acceptable, then you show them the plays that weren’t. The big question is why? Why can’t I finish this play? Why can’t I secure my gap? Why can’t I secure my leverage? Why can’t I stay in the deep part of the field? You know all of those things. At the end of the day, we just gotta get better and that’s been the focus this week. I think you’ve always gotta own it. You’ve gotta understand where you are to get where you want to go.”
Durable South Carolina QB?
“Yeah, I think when you look at him through the course of being at Colorado State and South Carolina, he’s a mature guy, he’s competitive, he’s got toughness, he does understand where to go with the football in that offense. I would think his demeanor is something they want in that huddle as they try to be a physical team and establish the run. He can make plays with his arm and understanding where to go with the ball in the pass game.”
SC approach game differently after watching Ole Miss?
“Nah, I think you’ve got to be ready for everything. I think anytime you don’t maybe have success at a certain thing you’ve got to correct because as you move forward you’re going to see it again. So you’ve got to handle that. Then I also think that, you know, each team has to do the things that are the strength of their team. South Carolina’s going to have their philosophy that they’ve been going with for the past few weeks and how they’re going to handle things. I think they’ll try to mesh things together, a combination of things that they came out of the game that they can do as well as things that match up with their people to give them the best chance to win the game.”
See any guys sucking wind at the end of the game?
“Well, we played a lot of plays at the end of the game. I’ll be honest with you, I wasn’t real happy with how the game was going. With the score it was and they had the ball, the only game you can lose the game right there is to give up a big play immediately. If you give up a big play immediately and they get the onside kick, now you’ve got to stop them in a short field to make it a one-possession game. If you go back and look, I think there was 5:15 or 5:20 on the clock. In my mind, they were probably going to score or we were going to have a chance to stop them at some point. But they were going to take the clock, meaning it was going to take them … if you go back and look, it was down to a minute or 57 seconds or something like that when they got the touchdown. To be honest with you, in that fourth quarter I think they had 162 yards. You’ve got to play each game relative to the score and to win the game. As much as sometimes you may not like that, you’ve just got to take the clock in that situation. Because, like for example, if you go back, I think we had a second-and-16 at one time and we exposed the middle of the field and gave up a big play and they scored pretty quickly. Well, that can’t happen. So, you have to eliminate that and you may have to give up something here or there, but you’ve got to take the clock in that situation. So we ended up playing like 16 plays, so we had to rotate quite a few guys in there. I did think there were some guys that got gassed at that point. Hopefully, playing that many plays in that kind of situation will help us week two, week three moving forward to being in game shape.”
What was your initial impression of Brenton Cox?
“I think Brenton is a talented guy that made some plays. I think there’s more in the tank. We’ve just got to continue to develop the habits that allow him to make plays. The guy really wants to be a good player. The guy takes notes, he studies, he asks questions. As he continues to understand how we want him to play, the system and all that, he’ll get better. He’ll make plays. I thought he made some good plays, but I think there’s still more in the tank that we can get that we need to continue to develop.”
History with Mike Bobo?
“Yeah, Mike and I were together at Georgia. I know Mike real well. He’s a really good coach. He’s tough, he’s competitive. He’s going to get after guys, he’s going to challenge guys. We’ve got to understand we’re going to get their best shot when they come in here.”
Will this be like back on the practice field, the chess match?
“Yeah, we’ll be yelling at each other across the field.”
What did you think when Shawn Davis went out with all the game planning that went for him being on the field?
“We lost a starter, No. 1. But at the end of the day, it gave us an opportunity to play a true freshman in an SEC game for 60-plus snaps. I always say injury creates depth. At some point we’re going to need all of those guys to play. It probably gave us some growing pains, but at the end of the day, Rashad is going to be a really good player and he’s going to make a lot of plays for us around here. So, being able to get a guy like that those kind of quality reps and still win the game, then I look at it can help us moving forward.”
“As he continues to develop, we’ll get him in there.”
Take the clock? What does that mean?
“I remember one year that I was in Cleveland, we were up by nine and Brett Favre had the ball with, like, five minutes and 14 seconds left. I’m like, you’ve got to take the clock. I think they scored with one second left. So we were up by three scores, and there’s like 5:13 to go. The end of the day, the most important thing is you win the game. The way you lose the game is you give up an explosive play right off the bat and you force an onside kick. Now you’re down to a two-possession game, then you’ve got to play with them with time on the clock. There was a third and 1 there where actually going against Lane before in that situation, you’ve gotta be ready for a shot. There’s two and a half minutes in the game, and it’s third and 1. You give the first, keep the clock running at that point. You understand what I’m saying? Because at the end of the day, if they score on third and —if they take a shot on third and 1 and don’t get it, they’re going to run for it on fourth down. You have to understand the clock is a factor in what you do, and you’ve got to keep it moving to allow you to get it down to where they can’t win the game. Even if they go get the onside kick, I think they had it down to 17 seconds. They don’t score on this play, the game’s over. Because you can’t run a play with 7 or 8 seconds left, then get the ball back and win. My point is in that situation, as much as sometimes it can be frustrating, you’ve gotta take the clock and win the ball game and worry about next week next week.”
Brandon Spikes talking up Ventrell Miller…51 can be better than me. You see that?
“I think Ventrell is really a credit to the program in general. If you look at tape of when he first started playing and we were first here and you look at the kind of guy he is now, the kind of leader he is now, the way his body has changed, the physicality in which he plays, that really speaks volumes to what the program’s all about. He’s a guy that’s embraced the program. He’s embraced being a leader. We’re going to expect him to give us the kind of leadership needed to do the things we want to do this year.”
IF HE CAN BE BETTER THAN BRANDON SPIKES, YOU'RE SITTING PRETTY?
"That would be a good thing, so we'll continue to work on that."
MATCHUP ISSUES SHI SMITH CREATES?
"I mean the guy's played a lot of plays, I mean a lot of games for them. He's an explosive guy. They're going to find ways to get him the ball. Any time you've got a guy that can go get the ball when it's down the field, that creates issues and you've got to know where he is. So we're going to have to have awareness of him and make sure we don't let him beat us single-handedly."
HOW BENEFICIAL HAVING CAMPBELL AND STEWART BACK ON DEPTH CHART?
"Yeah, I think any time you can add guys like that that have played SEC games for us and, one, understand what we want to do, any time you can add guys like that to the roster it's going to help you moving forward."
HOW HARD IS IT TO SCHEME AGAINST TONEY?
"I think that it's like anything, when you can add them together that makes it a huger problem. With Toney, I think the biggest thing that I see from him is his work ethic to become a complete receiver and to be a guy that can do multiple things with his skill set. By doing that it allows him to make a lot of different style plays, a lot of different style catches. And I think the biggest thing I've seen out of him is his ability to work to be a complete receiver."
ANYTHING YOU DO TO ACCOMODATE FOR TONEY'S SKILL SET?
"Kadarius? Um, well I mean with his athletic ability and quickness obviously you've got to figure out how you want to match him up and do those kind of things because you have to have a skill guy on him. If you don't have a corner on him that can create an issue."
Will familiarity with coaches come into play Saturday?
“Yeah I think that at the end of the day it gets down to, you know, guys blocking and guys getting off blocks. Executing the call, you know, doing the things you’ve got to do, relative to what we call, you know winning your one-on-one battles and doing those kind of things, because players make plays. Obviously you’ve got to put guys in position, but I think that gets overblown. They’re going to know some things that we do, we’re going to know some things that they do, but at the end of the day you know players make plays, and we’ve got to go out and line-up and execute.”
Getting Shawn Davis back, how much will that help getting him back there?
“I think anytime you can add a guy like Shawn to the backend, you’ve gotten a guy that’s played two years for us in our system. He understands what we want, he’s seen a lot of football, he’s seen a lot of formations, he understands what to do. So, I think that helps your communication and makes things cleaner, because a lot of times a younger guy may know what to do, but somebody’s got to maybe tell him, or it’s got to get relayed quicker, and that kind of thing, so when you get a guy that’s got some leadership to him and can do those kinds of things, it really helps.”
Hurt not having him?
“Like I said, I think that anytime you’ve played two years of football in the SEC and you don’t have that, it can kind of hinder you a little bit.”
Good Mike Bobo story?
“I’ve got a lot of respect for Mike and what he’s done. We were against each other, and won a lot of games at Georgia together, and competed, and he’s a very competitive guy. I think highly of him and his family. I’m kind of a guy that roots for people, so I certainly rooted for him when he was a head coach. Other than this Saturday I’ll be rooting for him.”
Hang out off the field?
“Every now and then we did, every now and then.”
Ever face his offense?
“He was at Colorado State when I was here.”
I mean against him on the field
“Nah, I never played against him. We were actually on the both side of the ball, so how are we gonna play against each other?”