January 15, 2010

Players happy with choice of new DC

Sophomore Brandon Boykin said he believes Georgia coach Mark Richt hit a home run with the hiring of Todd Grantham as the Bulldogs' new defensive coordinator.

But he's not just taking his word for it. Cousin Tashard Choice told him so.

Choice, a former Georgia Tech star currently a backup running back with Dallas, told Boykin that the Bulldogs are getting a coach who's well-respected by those inside the team's Valley Ranch training complex.

"(Choice) is my cousin so I was able to call him up and he said we got a good one," Boykin said during a teleconference with reporters. "He said he's a great coach."

Like the rest of his teammates, Boykin said he had begun hearing rumblings Thursday night that Grantham had taken the job.

"There were a couple of text messages that went out last night," Boykin said. "I figured he would probably be the guy, but I didn't learn about it until I checked online and saw that he had got hired."

According to Dallascowboys.com, team owner Jerry Jones said he learned Grantham was likely going to Georgia Thursday morning.

The website reported that the team attempted to retain their defensive line coach, but that the Georgia offer was too good to pass up.

"I want to thank Mark Richt and Damon Evans for allowing myself and my family this chance to come and coach at a school like the University of Georgia and in a great area like Athens," said Grantham. "This isn't my first opportunity to return to coaching college football over the last 11 years. But I loved the passion and excitement Georgia fans, boosters and alumni have. I want to bring in an aggressive-style defense that fans are excited to watch."

Grantham will remain with the Cowboys throughout their run in the NFL playoffs. Dallas plays at Minnesota Sunday at 1 p.m.

Cowboys' defensive tackle Marcus Spears, a former LSU standout, told Dallascowboys.com that Grantham deserves the opportunity he's getting with the Bulldogs.

"It's a testament to the job he's done, what people know about him around this league and college ball," Spears said. "Those opportunities come every once in a while. It's a good thing."

Dallas defensive end Stephen Bowen said the Bulldogs are getting a coach whose an excellent teacher as well as an outstanding motivator.

"He can really dissect the offenses," Bowen said. "He really shows you how to do your job but it's not like you have to play like a robot where you have to do this and have to do that. He brings a lot of confidence to the group."

Dallas Cowboys coach Wade Phillips thanked Grantham for the work he put in with the team.

"It's been great to have Todd," Phillips said. "He's contributed a tremendous amount to the defense. He's grossly overqualified to be a defensive line coach. I knew that he'd be a coordinator pretty quick or even a head coach. He has all those qualities. We appreciate all he's done."

At the conclusion of the 2009 regular season, the Cowboys' defensive unit ranked second in the NFL in scoring defense (15.6 points per game), fourth in rushing defense (90.5 yards per game), seventh in sacks (42.0 per game), and ninth in total defense (315.9 yards per game). The Dallas defensive unit finished eighth in the NFL in total defense in 2008 and led the league with 59 sacks - 13.5 coming from the defensive linemen.

Bulldog linebacker Darryl Gamble will get to work with Grantham first-hand.

Grantham announced during Friday's teleconference that he will coach the Bulldogs' inside linebackers.

"I haven't played in '3-4' style defense, but I have seen a lot of it watching the NFL," Gamble said. "It looks like an aggressive defense that does a good job getting guys to he ball. I'm excited about getting it going."

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