NWADG College Football


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32 NWA Democrat-Gazette College Football Preview Sunday, August 27, 2017 Mississippi State is the second SEC stop for Grantham, who was Louisville's defensive coordinator the previous three seasons for Coach Bobby Petrino. Grantham was Georgia's defensive coordinator from 2010-13 before joining Petrino — the former Arkansas coach — at Louisville. Mississippi State Coach Dan Mullen and Petrino swapped defensive coordi- nators the same day on Jan. 11. Mullen announced that afternoon he had hired Grantham as Mississippi State's defensive coordinator and Peter Sirmon — the Bulldogs' defensive coor- dinator last season — was announced as Grantham's replacement at Louisville that night. Grantham has a big challenge con- sidering Mississippi State ranked 110th nationally in total defense (459.1 yards per game) last season. "I think we were fortunate to get someone of Todd's caliber at Mississippi State," Mullen said on the SEC coaches' spring teleconference. "Through the process we met and kind of hit it off. "It was really the first time I got to sit down and talk with him. I knew his record and his reputation as a defensive coordinator in the past, but it was also important to me that he fit in staff-wise and my philosophy of the program and how the staff is going to interact. "I thought he did a great job of that in the spring and I thought our players re- ally responded well to him. I think we're going to have the opportunity to have a much-improved defense." Shannon, Arkansas' linebackers coach from 2013-14, had the same job at Florida before being promoted to defensive coordinator in place of Geoff Collins, who left to become Temple's head coach. Florida Coach Jim McElwain said it was an easy transition with Shannon already being on staff. "We didn't have to change the termi- nology, get to know guys, that kind of stuff," McElwain said. "Yet Randy brings his own flair, and having a guy like that on your staff, it's really been good." Ole Miss is the only SEC team with two new coordinators to go along with interim Coach Matt Luke, who was pro- moted when Hugh Freeze resigned un- der pressure as coach in late July. Longo came to Ole Miss from Sam Houston State, which led Football Championship Subdivision teams in total offense (547.3 yards per game) and ranked second in scoring offense (49.5 points) last season. McGriff was an assistant at Auburn last season and an Ole Miss assistant in 2012 sandwiched around a three-year stint as an assistant for the New Orleans Saints. Tennessee Coach Butch Jones pro- moted Scott from tight ends coach to offensive coordinator after last season. "Larry was a very easy choice," Jones said on the SEC coaches' spring telecon- ference. "I was able to evaluate him for a full year and what he brought into the offensive staff in terms of how he man- aged personalities, his input on game day. Larry knows our current players, and he understands our expectations." House at Kentucky and Rhoads also were in-house promotions. Rhoads, the former Iowa State head coach and Pittsburgh defensive coor- dinator, was Arkansas' defensive backs coach last season. He moved up to de- fensive coordinator when Robb Smith left for Minnesota. "I knew I had a coordinator-in-wait- ing," Bielema said last spring of Rhoads. "I knew if I had a transition on the de- fensive side of the ball, I had a guy I could promote immediately." Coordinators v Continued from Page 31 NWA Democrat-Gazette/ANDY SHUPE Randy Shannon (left), a former linebackers coach at Arkansas, has been hired as Florida's defensive coordinator. SECOORDINATION Here's a rundown of the SEC's 10 new defensive coordinators: Coordinator School Title Comment Paul Rhoads Arkansas defensive coordinator Former Iowa State coach was DC at Auburn and Pitt Brian Daboll Alabama offensive coordinator Long-time NFL assistant was GA for Saban at Michigan State Matt Canada LSU offensive coordinator Worked for Bret Bielema as Wisconsin's OC in 2012 Chip Lindsey Auburn offensive coordinator Offensive analyst for Auburn's 2013 SEC championship team Randy Shannon Florida defensive coordinator Former Arkansas LBs coach and Miami head coach and DC Todd Grantham Mississippi State defensive coordinator Bobby Petrino's DC at Louisville the previous 3 seasons Phil Longo Ole Miss offensive coordinator Making the jump to the SEC from Sam Houston State Wesley McGriff Ole Miss defensive coordinator Has previous SEC experience at Ole Miss and Auburn Larry Scott Tennessee offensive coordinator Promoted from TEs coach after last season Matt House Kentucky defensive coordinator Promoted from LBs coach & special teams coordinator

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