Georgia defensive coordinator talks with Saints

A day after Todd Grantham helped welcome a new class of Georgia

recruits, the defensive coordinator interviewed for the same job

with the New Orleans Saints.

The NFL team said Grantham met Thursday with head coach Sean

Payton but had no additional comment on the search to replace Steve

Spagnuolo, who was fired last month after the Saints gave up more

yards than any team in NFL history.

”In accordance with his contractual obligation, Todd Grantham

notified me Wednesday night of the New Orleans Saints’ interest in

interviewing him for the defensive coordinator position,” Georgia

athletic director Greg McGarity said in a statement.

Grantham said earlier Wednesday that he’s happy at Georgia and

expects to be coaching in Athens next season – the same message he

gave to the Bulldogs’ newest players.

Georgia picked up 32 players on national signing day, including

18 on the defensive side.

”I told those guys, `I love Georgia, I think this is a great

place, my family loves it, I love it, and I fully expect to be

here,”’ Grantham said. ”I told also told those guys that, as a

coach, if things come up, you’re always going to see what’s best

for your family and see what happens.”

At the time, he wouldn’t address reports that he was already

planning to interview with the Saints, who also have a reported

interest in former Dallas defensive coordinator Rob Ryan. Grantham

said nothing had come up that would require him, under his

contract, to notify Georgia he was looking at a similar job in the

NFL.

”I have a good job now,” he said. ”I enjoy my job. I

understand my contractual obligations if I felt like I needed to do

something. But right now, I fully expect to be here.”

A few hours later, Grantham told his boss that he would be

interviewing with the Saints.

The 46-year-old Grantham was coaching in the NFL when coach Mark

Richt hired him to run the Bulldogs’ defense in 2010, specifically

to oversee a switch to the 3-4 alignment. The coordinator’s stock

rose dramatically the following season when Georgia reached the

Southeastern Conference championship game and ranked fifth

nationally in total defense, allowing just 277.2 yards per

game.

This past season, Georgia won another SEC East title but slipped

to 32nd in the rankings (357.8 yards), despite having Jarvis Jones

and several other NFL prospects. Also, Grantham has received

criticism for his fiery demeanor, which included giving a choke

sign to a Florida kicker before a game-winning field goal in 2010

and getting into a postgame altercation with Vanderbilt coach James

Franklin in 2011.

Still, Grantham was mentioned as a possible candidate with the

Philadelphia Eagles and now seems to be under serious consideration

in New Orleans.