November 2, 2010

Grantham offers regret for gesture

It seems everybody and his brother had their opinion on the "choke" sign Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham gestured toward Florida kicker Chas Henry just prior to his kick Saturday in overtime to beat Georgia 34-31.

After practice Tuesday, Grantham spoke on the matter for the first time.

"Here's what I have to say. I'm very passionate about the game and I'm very passionate about the University of Georgia being very successful as a program. I want our defense to be relentless for 60 minutes, I want them to play physical, play tough, play with intensity and give everything they have for 60 minutes until the last seconds are gone," Grantham said. "As a competitor, first of all let me say that I'm really proud of our players for the work that they've done in that area and the way they have improved in that area. I think it's shown up on the field. As a competitor you get caught up in the heat of the moment. I wish it hadn't happened but it was a hard-fought game, they won it and I'm ready to move forward."

But moving on hasn't been easy.

Grantham's subject was fodder for both Internet message boards and talk radio. Even ESPN's Jim Rome broached the subject during his daily show Tuesday afternoon.

Florida players were told by head coach Urban Meyer not to speak about the incident following their Tuesday practice.

Earlier Tuesday, Bulldog head coach Mark Richt was asked about incident.

"I'm aware of it and I'll just say that emotions run high and people do things they probably wish they wouldn't do," Richt said. "I think that's what's probably being communicated so I don't think he's necessarily proud of it. We're just going to learn from it and move on."

Grantham said he talked to both Richt and athletic director Greg McGarity about what happened.

"I've talked to both of those people," Grantham said. "They're aware of it and I'm ready to move forward."

Grantham did not feel the need to apologize for his actions.

"I've basically said all I'm going to say and I'm ready move and get ready for rest of the season, and Idaho State this weekend," Grantham said.

Quarterback Aaron Murray said the hubbub over Grantham is much ado about nothing.

"I didn't see it and probably only heard about it an hour ago. I don't think it was anything too bad. He was just like the rest of us hoping he would miss the kick or something like that," Murray said earlier in the afternoon. "I don't think it's anything to much. It's not like he charged the field at the kicker to try and do something to him. I think people are just making too big of a deal about it. Emotions are running high. He's got a competitive spirit and wants to win just like the rest of us."

Grantham, whose sideline antics first grabbed the attention of Bulldog fans when he berated safety Bacarri Rambo during Georgia's season-opening win over Louisiana-Lafayette, said his sideline demeanor hasn't changed since that opening contest.

He denied having been asked by Richt or anyone else "tone down" his on-the-field persona.

"Not at all," said Grantham. "There have been a few others (outbursts at players. No, we've had some other things that have happened and we've tried to get it corrected on the sideline and the players have done a good job responding."

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