ATHENS — Todd Grantham regrets the choke sign he was caught on camera giving to a Florida player. But the Georgia defensive coordinator stopped short of apologizing.
Grantham on Tuesday evening made his first public comments since the controversy erupted a couple of days before. A television feed showed Grantham grabbing at his neck and looking toward the field, just before Florida’s Chas Henry attempted (and made) a game-winning field goal.
“As a competitor, sometimes you get caught up in the heat of the moment,” he said. “I wish the situation hadn’t happened. It was a tough, hard-fought game. They won it, and I’m ready to move forward and finish out the year strong.”
Grantham confirmed that he has spoken with head coach Mark Richt and athletics director Greg McGarity about the incident.
“Basically I’ve talked to both of those people, they’re aware of it and we’re ready to move forward,” Grantham said.
When asked if he felt the need to apologize to Henry, Grantham answered: “You know I’ve kind of basically said what I’m going to say.”
Grantham also declined to say whether he and Henry had engaged in any back-and-forth with Henry before the play.
Richt, speaking earlier in the day, indicated no disciplinary action toward his assistant coach.
“I’m aware of it, and I’ll just say that emotions run high and people do things that they probably wish they wouldn’t do,” Richt said. “I think that was what was being communicated. I don’t think he’s necessarily proud of it. We’re just gonna learn from it and move on.”
Grantham had the support of quarterback Aaron Murray. The redshirt freshman didn’t hear about the controversy until late Tuesday morning, and he didn’t think it was a big deal.
“It’s not like he charged the field at the kicker and tried to do something to him,” Murray said. “I don’t think it’s too big of a deal. I think people are making too much of a deal about it. Emotions run high. … It was nothing dangerous or illegal or stupid or anything like that, so I don’t see the big deal about it.”
Murray also pointed out that Grantham has a fiery attitude in general.
“I mean during the game this past week, he was getting me pumped up, getting me going, saying, ‘Get in the end zone.’
“I love Coach Grantham,” Murray said. “He has some fire to him. I think the guys love it. I love it personally. He’s yelling and going crazy; it gets me pumped up to see him getting after a defense and getting them ready to go. That’s his mentality, and I think it’s awesome.”
Senior receiver Kris Durham will sit out the Idaho State game with a bruised lung, according to Richt.
Durham suffered the injury in the second half against Florida while making a 19-yard catch.
“That’s the name of the game,” Durham said. “It’s a lot easier to get back up if you caught the ball.”
Durham was coughing up blood on the sideline after the play. But on Tuesday he shrugged it off.
”I felt fine,” he said. “It doesn’t really hurt me to breathe or anything. I’ll continue to play.”