September 1, 2010

Defensive playbook bigger than the Bible?

Bacarri Rambo admits he did a double-take the first time he saw the complete copy of Todd Grantham's defensive playbook.

"I was like 'That thing's got more pages than the Bible,'" Rambo recalled. "It's huge."

Rambo's not kidding.

As a lark, the Bulldog safety decided he would put the book on some scales to see just how much it weighed. At 12.6 pounds, players like Rambo can get a workout simply carrying the monstrosity back and forth from the Butts-Mehre Building to home.

"It looks like a big encyclopedia or something," linebacker Akeem Dent said. "To try and learn that playbook you've got to treat it like school, treat it like class work."

Actually, Grantham's Bible would be an apropos description.

When Grantham arrived in Athens, he made it clear that he was bringing with him the entire playbook he used during 12 years in the NFL, and he wasn't going to be shy about implementing every single play.

"Learning that book is tough, it's challenging, but Coach Grantham has brought that NFL-style defense and he brought that NFL mentality," Dent said. "There are a lot of guys who have NFL aspirations, so they're going to have to be able to learn it and be able to study."

To give you an idea of how massive Grantham's defensive playbook truly is safety Jakar Hamilton was carrying around a hardback notebook with plays and techniques for Saturday's opener against Louisiana-Lafayette. The pages were approximately two inches thick.

"That was probably just 200 or 300 pages," Rambo said. "That's nothing compared to the complete book."

As Rambo explains, Grantham will only take a portion of what's in his overall playbook and apply it to whatever opponent the Bulldogs happen to be playing on a given weekend.

"When he does that it's really not that bad," Rambo said. "He's just taking out and using what's going to give us the best chance to stop that opponent you're playing against."

Georgia's offensive players are taking notice as well.

"They used to have the big playbook, but now they're like 'Y'alls playbook is bigger than ours,'" Dent said.

"It's waaaay bigger," said Rambo.

Wide receiver Kris Durham rolled his eyes.

"They don't know what they're talking about," teased Durham. "It's just like Rambo to talk trash."

But Durham can't deny the changes he's seen in regards to the defense since Grantham took over.

"Their technique and everything else is just so different. You see the 4-3 like we have for all these years and after a while you learn how to read everything," Durham said. "Now, I'll be out there and there will be times where I'm like 'What did they just run? I've never seen that before. What technique is that?'"

Right tackle Josh Davis jokes that kind of thing happens all the time.

"That's pretty much a daily occurrence," Davis said. "Coach Grantham is throwing new looks at those guys every day. It's tough, but it also gives us a chance to pick up something we haven't seen before. By seeing different looks, it's only going to help us learn more about ourselves."

Rambo says he and his defensive mates have picked up the book and learned most of the schemes about as well as can be expected.

Now, it's time to prove it on the field.

"At first I thought there was no way we could learn it all," Rambo said. "But when I started looking, most things are similar to the same coverage; it's just the defensive front that will change or the linebackers that will change. In regards to the secondary, most of the time we will have the same coverage. It (the playbook) is big, but it's not that difficult if you will just put time into learning it - which we have."

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