Heated confrontation mars ending
UGA defensive coordinator Grantham, Vandy head coach Franklin have words
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Protesting what he believed was inappropriate behavior directed toward one of his players, Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham engaged in a heated confrontation with Vanderbilt head coach James Franklin at the end of the Bulldogs' 33-28 win on Saturday.
Television cameras caught Grantham pointing his finger in Franklin's face as the two argued before being separated by a law enforcement officer and Vanderbilt tight end Austin Monahan.
"Everybody's competitive," said Grantham, who incited a controversy last year when TV cameras caught him flashing a choke sign at Florida kicker Chas Henry just before Henry attempted the game-winning field goal. "I love my players. I like the way they compete, and I love the passion they play with, and I support my players."
Franklin also avoided specifics in his postgame media session.
"We just had a tough, emotional game, and some things were said that I didn't think were appropriate," Franklin said. "I went to find [Georgia coach Mark] Richt and didn't find him, so I found one of his assistant coaches, and it didn't go well. We're not going to sit back and take it from anyone."
Franklin and Richt finally met after the incident and the two coaching staffs managed to separate the teams and get them into their respective locker rooms. Franklin said he explained the situation to his counterpart.
"I explained to him what happened. That's for me and coach Richt to deal with," Franklin said. "Hopefully we'll learn from that experience. Those things happen."
Richt said he wasn't sure what happened immediately after the game, but that emotions sometimes get out of hand on the sidelines.
"We are grown men, and we all need to act that way, but we're also competitors," Richt said. "We all have emotions, and sometimes whenever we get a little bit fired up, it's hard not to get into some kind of jawing contest."
Georgia receiver Marlon Brown made the most of what could be his final college appearance in his home state.
The Memphis native caught four passes for a career-high 121 yards and two touchdowns -- including a 75-yard catch and run in the fourth quarter that was the Bulldogs' longest receiving touchdown since Mohamed Massaquoi's 84-yard score against Florida in 2007.
"During pregame warmups, I was talking to Bruce Figgins and he was like, 'It's your last time playing in Tennessee,' and I thought about it and was like, 'You're exactly right. This is my last time playing in Tennessee,' so I just came out here completely focused," Brown said. "I was just trying to make plays for my team and get the W."
Brown also caught a 27-yard touchdown pass from Aaron Murray in the second quarter, putting the Bulldogs ahead 20-7 at halftime.
It was the type of breakout game many Bulldogs predicted for Brown after an exceptional preseason camp before an ankle sprain slowed him throughout the first half of the season.
Crowell sits out first quarter
Georgia freshman running back Isaiah Crowell sat out the first quarter because of Richt would only call a "coach's decision."
He entered the game on the first play of the second quarter, carrying for 1 yard.
The star freshman made a limited impact, however, rushing 10 times for 35 yards after leading Georgia in rushing in each of the previous five games. Richard Samuel was Georgia's leading ball carrier instead, rushing 15 times for 53 yards.
Richt said Crowell is still slowed by a wrist injury that knocked him out for portions of last weekend's win at Tennessee.
"He's just been taking shots on that same spot, and you could tell he's struggling," Richt said. "The last thing you want is a back in there who can't secure the ball. We're not pulling him out, but he usually gets stung enough where he's getting out."
Georgia redshirt freshman Michael Bennett set career highs with seven catches for 89 yards. ... Georgia safety Bacarri Rambo and Vanderbilt safety Casey Hayward entered the game tied for the SEC interceptions lead with four. Both players intercepted a pass in the fourth quarter. Rambo also led Georgia with eight tackles. ... A transformer blew on Vanderbilt Stadium's east concourse during the second quarter. The incident knocked out power to four light standards, causing the field to remain half-lit for the rest of the first half. ... The Bulldogs intercepted three passes. Georgia has forced 14 turnovers but has turned them into only 34 points.
David Ching covers University of Georgia sports for DawgNation. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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