Grantham Previews the 2019 Gator Defense

The Florida Gator football team showed immense improvement from their 2017 season to their 2018 season. They finished their season with a 10-3 record, including the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl win against Michigan. Compared to the previous season, in which they finished with a 4-7 record.

After the 2017 season, the Gators decided to make some changes in their staff. These changes were definitely reflected on the team’s performance in the 2018 season.

Defense Staff Changes

One of these changes included adding Todd Grantham as their defensive coordinator. Grantham has coached different teams including both college teams and NFL teams. Overall, he has 32 years of experience and 12 of those were as a defensive coordinator.

The Gators defense made improvements in their defense under Grantham’s coaching. One of these improvements includes fumble recoveries, in which they averaged two in their 2017 season. In their 2018 season, they averaged 12 fumble recoveries.

They also had an improvement in their sacks per game. They had 23 sacks in their 2017 season, while they ended their 2018 season with 37.

Grantham on defensive players

At the team’s annual Media Day on Thursday, Grantham commented on his current defensive players and the role they play on the team. He first talked about cornerback CJ Henderson. Grantham said Henderson has the athleticism needed to play his position. But what makes him stand out the most is his dedication to improve and help his teammates.

He also commented on senior defensive linemen Jabari Zuniga and his ability to adapt to different situations.

He gives you a lot of flexibility with his skillset to be able to try to match the situation at hand.

One of Grantham’s past coaching experience includes being part of Louisville’s coaching staff. And one of the players he coached there has now joined the Gators football roster. He points out that Jonathan Greenard did not experience any trouble adjusting to the new team and their system

He also believes that Greenard’s patience to be part of the team says a lot about his work ethic. Grantham recognizes that his addition to the team will be really effective.

Chauncey Gardner-Johnson’s departure left a gap in the defensive lineup. However, Grantham believes that he has players that have the ability fo fill the gap. Two players mentioned were sophomore Trey Dean III and redshirt sophomore Marco Wilson, who returns from an injury.

Grantham on the upcoming season

The defensive backfield is going through some changes after some players left. They are now adding a few freshmen and using players they did not use as much last year. Because of that, Grantham believes that even though coaches usually have a system in their coaching, it’s important to adapt to the new players.

You alway want to play the strenghth of your players. So you always have to be working to tweak what to do and how do I get my best 11 players on the field.

Marco Wilson missed most of last season because of an injury, but he is now ready to play. When Grantham was asked about his return, he said that he has been working really hard to come back and that he is completely ready.

Last year, the Gators experienced a gap in the defensive backfield at the beginning of the season. Players like Trey Dean III stepped up. After seeing that and Marco Wilson’s hard work, Grantham says that his confidence level for defense is really high.

About Camila Maffuz

Camila is a senior at the University of Florida, who served as a beat writer for the women's basketball team from 2019 until the 2021 season. She was also a beat writer for the Gators football team during the 2020 season. Camila is also WUFT's news director as well as a sports reporter/anchor.

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