Getting it done in spring practice

I’m pleased to see that the coaches keep identifying the symptoms that many of us have seen over the past couple of seasons that indicated there were problems with the team’s mindset.

Georgia is putting an extra emphasis this spring on building a defense better equipped to stop opposing teams from the type of killer surges that quickly took the Bulldogs out of games last season.

In three losses last season – against Alabama, Florida and Georgia Tech – Georgia did not react well to adversity.

“We’ve definitely got to improve in areas like sudden change,” defensive coordinator Willie Martinez said. “When things go bad, handling adversity better. We gave up most of our points in the third and fourth quarter. That’s when a lot of our big plays were given up, too.

“We’re working harder at it. Being more conscious of it. Not letting it happen. Those things will be stressed in the spring.”

And I’m not trying to make light of what Martinez is saying about it, but exactly how do you work on “handling adversity better” in the spring?

“The thing is changing the momentum of the game,” Martinez said. “That comes with leadership and that comes with mental toughness, physical toughness and playmaking – making something happen. You try to teach it and coach it and relate it to your players and bottom line, get it done.”

The good thing I keep seeing with these kinds of comments is that the staff and players seem to be embracing the idea that nothing should be taken for granted.  It’s also a plus that nobody’s pointing at last year’s schedule or injury situation as an excuse.  But still, the wheels aren’t going to come off the wagon in the spring as they did against ‘Bama in the first quarter last year… or against Florida in the third quarter… or against Tech… well, you get the idea.

I suspect we’re all going to be holding our breath a little until one of those moments come once the season’s underway and we see how the team reacts.

Speaking of collective breath-holding, here’s another area to watch.

… Richt said King has a slight advantage in the blocking game due to the extra year of experience and game-day snaps he has gotten that Thomas has not. After watching both of them in practice, however, neither has shown they’re ready to take over for the departed Knowshon Moreno just yet.

“We need to get both those guys quite a bit more reps in pass protection to be able to start separating them,” Richt said.

Sure, it’s way too soon to judge, but let’s hope that offensive line jells the way we’re counting on.  A little margin for error in blitz pickup won’t hurt in the least when it comes to dealing with adversity.

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18 Comments

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18 responses to “Getting it done in spring practice

  1. At least they are admitting that everything isn’t ok. That was the the toughest part last year.

  2. The Realist

    I heart Knowshon. The guy is just a “football player.” He plays the game the right way, which is all out and all-in. If I could think of another cliche to use to describe him, I would. I hold him in as high esteem as some of Georgia’s greatest. I just wish we would have had three years of him.

    I am so glad that WilMart has got his finger on the pulse of the defense and has finally called in the crash cart, so to speak. Defense wins championships. Getting right on that side of the ball has to be the priority if this season isn’t going to be a replay of the last.

  3. X-Dawg

    Now, if only the coaches will admit to problems with the special teams……

  4. Aligator

    i am confused here. didn’t Richt win a few games at fsu with one of the nastiest teams in the 90’s? i am confused to why this team stays at a regional power level, just competing with the conference title and having to have these epiphanies?

    At this point these kind of converstaions should be so far in the mirro it is not even funny. At this point with the talen he has UGA should be a top five program every year, competing for the NC.

    We had just as many major injuries as you guys did last year, but somehow, we find a way? What gives?

    • It’s a fair question. I think that it’s harder to read the makeup of a bunch of 18-21 year olds than it seems, sometimes.

      Don’t forget, Meyer acknowledged that his ’07 team had a similar problem.

    • kckd

      You did not have just as many injuries as we did. Unless all your walkons got hurt and you are lumping them in there. THat’s straight BS.

    • Prov

      Nice troll you are an internet superstar!

      • Aligator

        i actually come here more often than you think and rarely with a dig at the Dawgs … just ask senator, usually i am joining in on the egging on someone else. i have been a dag fan since i was a kid, went to UF and was a walk on there. So I pull for the Dawgs for all of their games but one.

    • Hobnail_Boot

      FSU doesn’t have the oversight committees and entrance requirements that Georgia has. We let kids like Kearney, Bryant, and Moody go. Name another BCS school who would do likewise.

    • NebraskaDawg

      Aligator,
      Finish the drill (mirror,talent).

    • Bryan Carver Dawg97

      Ugh. Like I want to hear armchair quarterbacking about UGA from a Gator fan (nice backhanded comment about a regional power too – that’d be like saying Gator football – a tradition since 1990). But I agree with the Senator, it is a valid question.

      Injuries? Sure UF had the string of ACLs but all of that was in spring practice. Try losing starters in the middle of the season. You are a bit late to the game here, but we’ve covered this. Try losing 2 left tackles and a stud DT at the start of the season. Or try losing Brandon Spikes in the middle of the season as we lost our #1 ILB in Ellerbe.

      As far as FSU, I’m not sure I see the point – he was only the OC. Offense (in general) hasn’t been the issue.

      The main issue – that Richt has admitted to – was cutting back on the intensity of practice (based on injuries and perceived schedule) which lead to a lack of edge in games. He made a bad call as a head coach and it trickled down all season.

      Yes we should be a top five. But at worst, we’ve been top 10 for all but 2 of his 8 years. I will say that ultimately, its the nice guy in him. He hopes that things bounce the right way rather than stepping on someone’s throat. He’s just not a prick like Saban or Meyers. Is that costing us now? Probably a bit. After 25 years when he’s done and has no NCs, then we can truly critique his coaching style.

  5. Ben W

    First off, learn how to spell Alligator.

    Then take a look at schedule strength from last year.

    Then factor in the fact that our O-line was so significantly depleted and constantly shuffled.

    Then factor in the fact that you have the GPOOE and had Percy Harvin. Yeah…. that’s why you competed for the title and not us.

  6. Richt-Flair

    It’s all talk of course until kickoff, but reading betweenthe lines, there is more of an emphasis on outward leadership, rather than the “lead by example” type guys. I think you need some vocal leaders to get it done.