The Gators scored a victory off the field late night Wednesday, when defensive coordinator Todd Grantham apparently said no to the opportunity to accept the same role with the NFL Cincinnati Bengals.
Harrison Tenzer, a freelance writer in Gainesville, had the story first Wednesday night that Grantham was staying put:
— Harrison Tenzer (@harrison_tenzer) February 14, 2019
Grantham had been meeting for two days in Cincinnati with new Bengals coach Zach Taylor and the Bengals front office about leaving the Gators after just his first season calling the defense.
Bengals beat writer Fletcher Page of the Cincinnati Enquirer had reported Wednesday that the job was Grantham’s, if he wanted it.
Grantham came with Gators coach Dan Mullen from Mississippi State after the two were together in 2017. Previously, Grantham was previously defensive coordinator Louisville aand at the University of Georgia. He does have NFL experience, as an assistant with the Cleveland Browns in the early 2000s.
The Gators enjoyed a resurgence in 2018 overall in 2018, but it was mostly lead by the play of their defense. With stars like Jachai Polite and Vosean Joseph leading the way, Florida was one of the top defenses in the SEC last season. And their 26 takeaways was 11th best in all of the NCAA for 2018.
Grantham is known as a fiery coach, who at times is on the verge of out of control with sideline outbursts. That was the case in Florida’s comeback win against Vanderbilt last season, where Grantham had to be held back by his own players from going out on the field to confront Vandy coach Derek Mason.
Mason was upset with an illegal hit that had injured one of his players and was on the field tending to one of them, when the verbal exchanges heated up.
It would be interesting to know if Cincinnati was willing to pay Grantham more than he’s slated to make as Florida’s defensive coordinator in 2019. Grantham salary is $1.5 million and the Bengals are notoriously cheap with paying players and coaches. Perhaps that was a sticking point or perhaps Grantham realizes he’s got a great situation at Florida that is only going to build grow and Excel
The Bengals still have a list of candidates and that includes the possibility of hiring former Jaguars and Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio who has also recently interviewed for the Redskins defensive coordinator job
Gators announced home and home series with Cal Friday
The Florida Gators continued their philosophy of striking “home-and-home” deals with Power 5 opposition, when they announced on Friday that they will be doing so with the Cal-Berkley Bears out of the Pac-12 coming later in this decade.
The Gators made the announcement through their website and social media mid-day Friday that they will play Cal at home first and then travel to Berkeley the following year:
Coast to coast❗
🐻 at 🐊 2026
🐊 at 🐻 2027#GoGators
— Gators Football (@GatorsFB) February 7, 2020
A.D. Scott Stricklin has broken up the long tradition that Florida would only play two home out of conference games in September and usually, against much lesser competition before entering SEC play. Stricklin has been very outspoken that in the age of the College Football Playoff, strength of schedule is emphasized and the selection committee holds schools responsible for not playing top-notch out of conference opponents, at least some of the time.
With that in mind, the Gators opened the 2019 season in Orlando against the Miami Hurricanes and won a sloppy game. And, they already have other Power 5 schools laid out to play home and away.
As we previously wrote, Florida will be playing the Texas Longhorns first in Gainesville in 2030 and then. return the game the following year in Austin.
Florida had previously announced last year that they will also play the Colorado Buffaloes out of the Pac-12, again with the first game in Gainesville in 2028 and then, returning it to Boulder the following season.
It’s interesting with Friday’s announcement that Stricklin and the football program are working backwards with the schedule. And, they will now play Cal before Colorado in September of 2026, and then will be opening on the Berkeley campus the following season.
Florida and Cal have only met two times, having played first in Gainesville in 1974 as the Gators wo 21 – 17 and then, they also met in Tampa to open the 1980 season with a Florida 41-13 blowout victory.
Second National Signing Day recap for top state schools
National Signing Day 2020 has come and gone, and several in state schools were able to improve their classes heading into spring ball. The University of Florida watched rival Georgia secure the number one overall class, but the Gators were still able to land the best class in the state with the number eight class overall.
The Gators officially signed former five-star receiver Justin Shorter from Penn State, and Florida stayed in the family today as well, Xzavier Henderson officially joined the Gators. He’s the ounger brother of former DB C.J. Henderson.
Dan Mullen also able to dip into the state of Texas inking four-star DE Princely Umanmielen. It wasn’t all great news for the Gators, as they missed out on a few key guys, including losing out on arguably top state safety Avantae Williams to in state rival Miami. Overall it was a good cycle for the Gators both recruiting and in the transfer portal.
The Miami Hurricanes continued an impressive offseason on National Signing Day. The Canes made arguably the biggest move in the state by landing Williams and keeping him Florida. Williams became the highest rated Hurricane in the class and propelled the U to the number 13 spot.
Miami has the second-best class in the ACC behind Clemson. With an impressive offseason in the books, once again excitement will be in the air in Coral Gables. The question is: will they live up to it in year two for Manny Diaz?
Florida State and new coach Mike Norvell have been working hard to get this class rolling last minute. After a good early National Signing Day Norvell looked to keep the momentum going. The Noles took a big hit Wednesday though, with the loss of Venice four star WR, Malachi Wideman, who flipped to Tennessee.
The Noles came back from that by landing a handful of other recruits. They got the number six Juco running back La’Damian Webb, ass well as, Robert Scott, an offensive lineman and Corey Wren, an athlete/running back.
Replacing Cam Akers will be tough for Norvell and building the offensive line is a top priority. The former Memphis coach came in late like he did, yet he finishes with a decent class sitting at 22 on 24/7.
Now the work begins turning around the former powerhouse.