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Blog: Grantham on DL coaching vacancy, Abry Jones’ role and going to see the Hokies

ORLANDO, Fla.—Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham said today there are “quality candidates” in the mix to be the Bulldogs’ next defensive line coach.

Whether they are coaches currently with college jobs or in the NFL, Grantham didn’t want to say.

“It can be any of the above,” he said. “I’m still looking at several. I think that what we’ll do is get through this game and coach (Mark Richt) and I will sit down and talk a little bit more about it and try to get something solidified after the bowl game.”

Grantham has a background in coaching the defensive line in the NFL, but he is planning on remaining as outside linebackers coach and will hire a defensive line coach to replace Rodney Garner, who joined Auburn’s staff after 15 seasons at Georgia.

“That’s what we lost,” Grantham said. “I think there are some quality candidates out there. I’m really excited about some guys that have talked about being interested. I think it’s just a chance for us to continue to develop our program and basically fill that slot and continue to move forward.”

Grantham said having college coaching experience isn’t a prerequisite.

“I think Georgia can recruit itself,” Grantham said. “It’s a great program, a great university. It’s got a lot to offer, a lot of kids are excited about coming there. Recruiting in this day and age to me is about relationships and how you can develop players as players, how you can help them academically, how can you help them launch their careers. It doesn’t have to be a prerequisite. Obviously, it helps. Anybody you look at is always going to have something that they offer to the program. I think it’s just a matter to see what the best fit is for us.”

Grantham said he told recruits that Georgia will work to make a hire as quickly as possible after the bowl game.

Other quick hits from Grantham:

–He said he’s still deciding what defensive end Abry Jones’ role will be in the Capital One Bowl Tuesday against Nebraska. Jones said today he’s feeling about 75 to 85 percent healthy as he returns from surgery after tearing tendons in his left ankle. He said the surgery is similar to what tailback Richard Samuel had last season when he missed five games.

Jones said he can run and cut “a little bit.”

“Coming back off an injury like that, I think he can really give us some depth and spot play and do some things like that if he continues to function at a rate that can help us,” Grantham said.

Jones said before Friday’s practice that he’s “been moving around a little bit.” He said he didn’t do much in Thursday’s full pads practice when the team practiced on fields that weren’t in the Celebration High School stadium. The team moved its practice today back in the stadium where it worked out on Wednesday night.

–With John Jenkins done at Georgia due to academics, Grantham has Kwame Geathers and Mike Thornton to work with at nose guard along with end Garrison Smith.

“It’s no different than it was with our linebacking corps last year and earlier in the year when we had to mix and match and move guys around,” Grantham said.

–Grantham and his family are going to the Russell Athletic Bowl tonight to watch his alma mater, Virginia Tech, play Rutgers. The game is in the same stadium where the Capital One Bowl is played.

He coached at Virginia Tech with Hokies defensive coordinator Bud Foster and was a graduate assistant at the school at the same time as current offensive coordinator Bryan Stinespring.

“I know a lot of guys on that staff,” Grantham said. “They’ve obviously got a special place in my heart because I kind of grew up there and went to school there. I stay in touch with those guys periodically.”

–Please follow me at Twitter.com/marcweiszer

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