Mississippi State hires Grantham as new defensive coordinator

By JOEL COLEMAN

sports@starkvilledailynews.com

It’s another offseason and another defensive coordinator for Mississippi State football.

MSU hired Louisville’s Todd Grantham on Wednesday to orchestrate the Bulldogs defense. Grantham becomes State’s fourth defensive coordinator in as many seasons.

Grantham replaces outgoing defensive coordinator Peter Sirmon who, oddly, is headed to Louisville to replace Grantham according to multiple reports.

Grantham brings an impressive resume to Starkville. He has more than 25 years of combined experience in both the National Football League and college football. He has spent 10 of those years as a defensive coordinator, including the last three seasons at Louisville where each of his teams ranked in the top-20 nationally in either scoring or total defense.

“Todd has proven to be one of the best defensive coordinators in the country this decade,” Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen said in a school release. “He understands what it takes to build a physical and aggressive defense at the highest of levels. We are excited to welcome he and his family to Starkville.”

MSU did not release details of Grantham’s new contract. He made $1.3 million last year at Louisville, which stood as more than twice as much as the $635,000 MSU paid Sirmon last season.

Whatever the specifics are, Grantham is happy to be joining the Bulldogs.

“When the opportunity to be part of Dan Mullen’s staff presented itself, it was something my family and I became very excited about,” Grantham said. “Coach Mullen has built a winning program in the most challenging conference in the country. Along with our staff, I look forward to reestablishing the Bulldog defense as one of the top defenses in the country and making the fans of Mississippi State proud.”

The struggles of Sirmon’s defense in 2016 opened the door for Grantham to come to MSU. Mississippi State allowed the most passing yards of any team in the Southeastern Conference last season and ranked next to last in the league in points allowed per game.

State’s defense surrendered 35 or more points in six games last season, including a mid-year stretch that saw the Bulldogs give up 41 or more points in four out of five games.

Mississippi State is counting on Grantham to turn things around defensively.

The addition of Grantham won’t be the only change to MSU’s coaching staff this offseason. Mullen is still yet to name a new quarterbacks coach after Brian Johnson left the Bulldogs last month to become the new offensive coordinator at Houston. Rumors also continue to swirl that at least one more coaching change could be forthcoming on the defensive side of the ball for MSU.

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