Coaching chemistry

I mentioned this in passing the other day, but one thing to keep in mind with the coaching changes is that Jeremy Pruitt is the first defensive coordinator under Richt who was presented with a clean slate in terms of hiring assistants on day one.  How big a deal is that?

Q: Does it make it a little more comfortable of a jump because you’ll be working with Jeremy and the two of you know each other well?

A: Definitely. I know – our system and his system, we brought it from Alabama – and it’s very similar. He and I always talked throughout the season about different things and whatnot. Just the familiarity of me the him and him to me and knowing what’s kind of expected out of the defensive scheme that we’re going to put together will probably help both us a lot. It’s hard to make everyone understand what you think and when there’s already someone there who knows what you think it makes the transition go a lot easier.

Mind you, this is coming from a guy who still hasn’t been assigned a position to coach yet.  You’ve got to think hitting the ground running with a staff that has your back not just from a loyalty standpoint but also intellectually in terms of knowing what you’re trying to do has to be helpful for a new coordinator.  Between that and the number of players returning who are already used to playing in a 3-4, I’d like to think the confidence level will be palpably improved between this year’s opener with Clemson and last year’s.  We’ll see.

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29 Comments

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29 responses to “Coaching chemistry

  1. HVL Dawg

    I think you are reaching, but hey, I’m a Disney anyway.

    • I’m not making any predictions here, but I don’t think it’s an unreasonable expectation. Especially if you’ll recall the whispers about the problems Garner caused with DCs, both present and prospective. ;)

  2. Merk

    If the damn players are in position for the snap and not looking around like idiots with no idea whats going on, then it will have been an upgrade. I mean damn even in the last game guys still had no idea what to do on some plays…

  3. JN

    I wasn’t one of these “Grantham is a total hack” guys, but with that being said, I was definitely happy about his departure. But even as happy as I was went I got the text that he was gone, over the next day or so I became more and more happy about it. Then, ~41 hours later MR lands Pruitt, and I’m by no means saying he’s the next Dick LeBeau, but it was amazing to me at how much differently I felt about the Clemson game. I haven’t felt this comfortable about the defense since 2005.

  4. Dawgfan Will

    Tony Franklin nods knowingly.

  5. Bulldog Joe

    Could Warren Belin be talked out of staying at Wake? Special teams and linebackers appears to be the remaining piece.

    As we learned with Tennessee, the Clawfense will leave Wake’s defense with very little margin for error.

  6. David K

    I’m going to enter the season fairly guarded with my expectations around our defense. Hopefully I’ll be surprised but in my opinion there’s still a lot to be proven with our entire program. I think it’s much more likely we finish 8-4, and then take a step back the following year as we break in our next young quarterback. Pruitt sounds great and all but just don’t see us breaking through under Richt. Our program needs a kick in the ass and there’s only so much a defense coordinator can do.

  7. Bright Idea

    I just hope Pruitt starts with a simple scheme and improves the fundamentals, tackling, angles, shedding blocks, playing ball in the air, keeping receivers in front, etc. That will improve the defense the quickest.

    • He will.

      I just hope Pruitt starts with a simple scheme and improves the fundamentals, tackling, angles, shedding blocks, playing ball in the air, keeping receivers in front, etc. That will improve the defense the quickest.

      There’s nothing real simple anymore. But it’ll be much easier to execute than anything they’ve been used to. And I’ve no doubt anymore that Pruitt is a far superior teacher to Grantham. And his coaches will be the same. And THAT is the biggest thing that will make it easier.

      You brought a really good point, though, because our fundamentals have been, not just bad, but horrible.
      ~~~

  8. Spence

    So when Grantham came in, we heard all about his attacking one-gap 3-4. Well, Pruitt plays a 2-gap defense, meaning our D-line is going to have to relearn a lot, since we played a 1-gap for last 4 years. (Bama plays a 2-gap. Mizz plays a 1-gap).

    I’m a little concerned about this. I’m sure that Pruitt knows what Rocker is capable of teaching, but the idea that we’re not in a defensive transition because both CTG and CJP run a 3-4 isn’t accurate.

    The idea that Pruitt’s defenses are going to be so much simpler than CTG’s is also not realistic. Go back and read what Clemson said about FSU’s defense, and how they changed schemes before the game, and then read Miami’s explanation of how FSU changed schemes in-game.

    I’m excited as hell about Pruitt, but the reality is we’re installing a new defense next year, and on offense we’ve got OL issues and a new QB with a Cox-like arm. Yeah, long-term things are looking up (as long as Pruitt and Bobo stay…or Richt makes good hires when they leave), but 2014 isn’t the year we win it all. Really wish we’d sit Hutson’s ass (he is a DGD, just not the guy, IMO) on the bench and let one of these kids learn the ropes, then go win a natty in 2015.

    • JN

      Honest question. Why could FSU learn the system in year one well enough to be able to make all of those adjustments on the fly, but UGA won’t. I completely understand the difference b/t TG’s 3-4 1 gap and JP’s 3-4, I don’t think there won’t be hurdles along the way, but there are far more similarities b/t the 1&2 gap 3-4 than there are from the 4-3 FSU ran under Stoops to JP’s 3-4.

      • AlphaDawg

        I think its the other way around. Pruitt runs the 1 gap and Grantham runs the 2 gap. An old HS friend of mine is a DC at a HS in North ATL, he told me once that Grantham’s D requires twice the amount of reads that Sabans D does which is why it takes longer to master.

        FYI, that conversation was 2 years ago and I may be mis-remembering but I do remember Granthams was more diffcult to learn.

  9. charlottedawg

    I think the Pruitt hire will work out well but if there’s anything the Grantham era should’ve taught us is that comments from coaches and players while entertaining are essentially worthless and I’d go as far as to give you zero insight into how the unit is going to perform good or bad. In the mean time, Pruit has to complete 2 major tasks a) finish recruitng this year’s class and b) finish hiring his assistants. The latter of which will make or break his tenure as DC. I’m not drinking the kool-aid or being pessimistic about this guy I’m just waiting patiently for the 2014 season to see what this guy’s about. To paraphrase the senator, I’m done with being excited, I’m ready to be impressed.

    • Good point Charlotte, but sometimes coaches are candid and actually give good info, and that’s true with both Richt and Bobo.

      Grantham was always 100% FOS.
      ~~~

  10. 69Dawg

    Even though I see the Tracy Rocker hire as good, I still have doubts about bring in an assistant coach that has so much experience when your DC has so little. It seems we maybe creating another Rodney Garner situation. I’m just saying.

  11. shane#1

    I don’t know why so many think that Pruitt’s scheme is simple. According to his players at FSU Stoops scheme was simple, Pruitt’s is anything but simple. Pruitt seems to be a good teacher, at least according to his players. They said that by the first game of the 2013 season they understood not only their role, but the entire scheme. They knew what they were to do and why. They also knew what their team mates were to do and why. One player said it was so much easier to be aggressive when you could trust that your team mates would be where they were supposed to be. That may be the difference in Grantham and Pruitt, Grantham being used to working with pros. When fat Charlie took over at ND he said that teaching was the most difficult thing about being a college coach. To quote the fat man,” They aren’t pros, you can’t just yell at them, you have to teach them.”

  12. I think it’s a good thing, even though you always hate losing a good coach like Wilson. And Rocker CAN coach, if the concensus scoop is correct.

    You’ve got to think hitting the ground running with a staff that has your back not just from a loyalty standpoint but also intellectually in terms of knowing what you’re trying to do has to be helpful for a new coordinator.

    There’s no doubt about it.

    Between that and the number of players returning who are already used to playing in a 3-4, I’d like to think the confidence level will be palpably improved between this year’s opener with Clemson and last year’s. We’ll see.

    Yeah, it certainly should be. But if we’re an improved defense our experience in the 34 will only be a small part of it, IMHO. Even though the defenses are similar in structure, they’re different in concepts, techniques, and other ways.

    Instead of front-to-back, we’ll be going back-to-front. Instead of a 1-gap technique up front, we’ll be going with the 2-gap. Instead of being passive, we’re going to be aggressive. And there’s a lot more.

    All these are good developments, IMO. But sometimes it’s easier to learn something right the first time, than to unlearn something you already know, and re-learn something different. And there are bad fundamental habits to break as well.

    But overall, it’ll be helpful, I think. It just won’t be as much of a major factor if we turn out to be good. Most of that will be because these guys are much better teachers. Which I believe they are. And that’s good, because they have their hands full.
    ~~~