ATHENS - Todd Grantham did his best on Tuesday night to tamp down the idea of a shouting rematch with James Franklin - but without saying he had any regrets.
Grantham, Georgia's defensive coordinator, said he hasn't run into Franklin, the Vanderbilt coach, since their postgame incident last year in Nashville.
"He's a good coach, he's done a good job," Grantham said. "They're working hard to be competitive. They had a big game on Saturday. So it's an SEC game, it's a big game for them, it's a big game for us."
Grantham didn't sound like he wanted this game to be about what happened last year.
"No, it shouldn't be," Grantham said. "It's us against them, it's an SEC game. It's a game that anytime you play at home in the SEC you need to win those games."
Franklin, speaking to Nashville-area media on Monday, joked about the incident, saying that the two coaches and their families vacationed together at Disneyworld, drinking Mai Tais.
So of course Grantham was asked what his drink of choice.
"I don't know, I'm flexible," he said, smiling.
Turning back to the incident, Grantham said what happened didn't cause him to change his approach. He also said he didn't have to issue an apology, and still has no regrets.
"We're all competitive people, and things happen, and you learn from it and you move it. You know, make sure you keep the focus on the game, and get ready to play a game on Saturday," Grantham said. "I understood what all that was happening, and I understood everything that happened. Like I said, everybody's competitive. It's heated out there. It's really not a big deal as you move forward."
Georgia sophomore defensive end Ray Drew was a few steps away during the confrontation last year.
“I just saw my coach in an argument. I don’t know exactly what sparked it or made it come about," Drew said, with a grin. "But I’ve said many times, at Georgia we’re a family. Whether you’re a coach, player or water boy, everyone’s gonna defend one another. I saw that going on. I was there for support, moral support, nothing more.”
Georgia head coach Mark Richt has said several times that he hired Grantham in part because of his fiery personality. Richt is admittedly more laid-back and comes from a background on offense, so he was looking for someone who could be a complement to his own style.
Grantham received endorsements from two people who saw him in action in the NFL: Former Georgia safety Sean Jones, and quarterback Brad Johnson, who is Richt's brother-in-law.
“I knew he had a lot of fire. Sean Jones played for him in Cleveland and Sean said that about him. Brad Johnson, who is my brother-in-law, was on the team playing quarterback at the time, so he got to observe the type of coach he was in practice. I wanted that," Richt said. "That was one of the things I wanted in the guy who was going to lead the way for us on defense. Defenses play a lot on emotion. You certainly had to have good schemes, and Todd had a great reputation for that, understanding not only how to pressure people, but also how to play the back end in coverage and all that. I heard just great things about him in that regard. It’s an emotional game. It’s about playing hard and getting after it. When the guy in charge of that group is that type of personality, it tends to bleed over into the way his players play.”