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Monday, October 17, 2011
SEC investigating Georgia-Vandy fracas

ESPN.com news services

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- James Franklin has talked with Georgia coach Mark Richt about a postgame confrontation with Bulldogs defensive coordinator Todd Grantham and is leaving the rest to the Southeastern Conference.

The SEC told The Associated Press Monday that the league is looking into what happened.

Franklin Some things got a little bit out of hand. I know myself, and I don't want to speak for coach Richt, I like the game to end a little bit differently. Walk off the field and move forward.

-- Vanderbilt's James Franklin
on Saturday's postgame skirmish

Grantham released a statement Monday after speaking with Richt and athletic director Greg McGarity. The coordinator says he hopes he and his players will learn from his "unfortunate" flap with Franklin and feels a "responsibility and loyalty" to stand up for his players.

Franklin and Grantham had a heated exchange after Georgia pulled out a 33-28 win on Saturday night when the Vanderbilt coach went looking to shake hands with Richt. The Vandy coach said Monday he talked with Richt on Sunday morning and hopes the Georgia coach appreciated talking to him as Franklin did.

"We have a very, very talented commissioner," Franklin said.

"They'll do their job and do what they think is right, and we'll move forward. I have tremendous respect for the University of Georgia, their program, their history, their coach. We had a hard-fought battle with a lot of passion, a lot of emotion. The momentum swung back and forth.

"Some things got a little bit out of hand. I know myself, and I don't want to speak for coach Richt, I like the game to end a little bit differently. Walk off the field and move forward."

It was a weekend of bad postgame behavior, which included the highly publicized incident between San Francisco's Jim Harbaugh and Detroit's Jim Schwartz. Georgia's Grantham issued a statement Monday saying his actions "were not representative of what this institution stands for."

This game was physical and emotional with Georgia defensive lineman Kwame Geathers appearing to either push or punch Vandy center Logan Stewart after a play had ended. Georgia was flagged for a personal foul on the play but offset by an illegal block by the Commodores.

At the end, both Vanderbilt and Georgia players spilled out onto the field, and video shows an officer with Franklin pushing Grantham away from the Vandy coach and Commodores tight end Austin Monahan stepping between the coaches.

Franklin said he is an emotional guy himself and wishes his Commodores had won the game. He also wishes they had shaken hands and walked off the field representing each school and the SEC.

"From time to time, this is going to happen," Franklin said. "We're going to make sure we do a great job representing Vanderbilt University and this conference."

Having a handbook or written rules for coaches on postgame behavior could help.

"I never got a memo telling me what to do after the game or beforehand," said Franklin, in his first season as a head coach. "When I was an assistant, I always saw before the game they kind of stood at the 50 and exchanged pleasantries. After the game you always walk to the 50. There's usually police escorting you, the cameras usually are waiting for us as well.

"That's kind of an unspoken rule, an unwritten rule I guess I'd say."

The finish of the game overshadowed a strong comeback by the Commodores (3-3) that just fell short. Vandy trailed by as much as 16 points in the third quarter before rallying. The Commodores blocked a punt and got the ball back at the Georgia 20 with 7 seconds left only to come up short of the end zone on two final plays.

They also rushed for 200 yards against Georgia, a defense that had given up 132 yards rushing combined over its four previous games. Zac Stacy ran for 97 yards on 17 carries and ran for a 19-yard TD. The running back also threw a 53-yard TD off the halfback pass play. Jordan Rodgers replaced Larry Smith at quarterback and ran 11 times for 80 yards. Franklin won't talk about his starting quarterback until Wednesday.

The Commodores host Army (2-4) on Saturday, and Franklin said the biggest change he notices about his team halfway through his first season is that these Commodores refuse to quit.

"When I got here, everybody told me that when something bad used to happen, the whole team used to hang their head and you could see the body language. You guys know that better than me. ... I don't think that's happening anymore. I look in their eyes every time they're challenged, they stepped up and do everything they possibly can to step up to the challenge and embrace it," Franklin said.

"I'm pleased with their never say die attitude."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.