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Richt: Continuity is a good thing for Georgia

Georgia head coach Mark Richt said on Sunday that there won't be a shakeup in the Bulldogs' coaching staff this off-season. (Reuters)

Georgia head coach Mark Richt said on Sunday that there won't be a shakeup in the Bulldogs' coaching staff this off-season. (Reuters)

If Todd Grantham leaves Georgia after this season, it will be of his own volition.

That was the word Sunday from coach Mark Richt, who was asked about the status of the Bulldogs’ defensive coordinator in the wake of a disappointing regular season that ended on Saturday. Richt said he does not plan to make any changes to his current coaching staff between now and next season.

The Bulldogs defeated Georgia Tech 41-34 in double overtime Saturday to finish 8-4. They opened the season No. 5 in the Associated Press rankings and were favored to win the SEC’s Eastern Division.

“Everybody should be back,” Richt said when asked specifically about Grantham on his weekly teleconference call. “I mean, everybody’s got to do what they’ve got to do, as far as if they have opportunities and all that kind of thing. We have some things we’ve certainly got to get better at, but continuity is a good thing for Georgia.”

The Bulldogs finished 10th in the SEC in scoring defense (29.4 ppg), 10th in passing defense (232.8 ypg) and 7th in total defense (381.3 ypg). Nationally, those numbers ranked 80th, 68th and 47th, respectively.

“First of all, we had a very young bunch, a lot of inexperience on that side of the ball,” Richt said. “The experiences everybody went through is positive. But certainly everybody’s got to improve. Everybody’s got to improve all the way around. There’s a lot of areas we’ve got to improve in. But I think we’ve got the right group of guys, we’ve got the right staff. We’ve got to make sure we take care of business as far as improving, maturing and keep that continuity.”

Georgia was breaking in eight new starters on defense this season. All but one starter — defensive end Garrison Smith — returns next year.

Grantham’s $850,000-a-year contract with Georgia expires at the end of January 2016. He has not openly expressed an interest in leaving UGA but has entertained offers each of his four seasons in Athens. A buyout clause in his contract prevents him from leaving for anything other than an NFL coordinator’s job or a college head coach’s position.

Georgia’s worst performance, from a national perspective, was in the returns game. The Bulldogs finished ranked 119th in kickoff returns (16.91) and 120th in punt returns (3.17). They were also 102 in fourth-down conversion defense (63.6 percent), and 98th in turnover margin (minus 0.5).

Richt said the Bulldogs will focus on academics for the next two weeks and resume practice on Dec. 14, the day of the end-of-the-year Gala. He did not have an update on safety Quincy Mauger, who injured a knee in the second half against Tech. But special teams player Corey Campbell (concussion) and Garrison Smith (ankle) are expected to be available for the bowl game.