Thin to win

Jeremy Pruitt may be out of the same Saban defensive school as Todd Grantham, but there’s at least one way in which he’s different. While Grantham claimed that he didn’t need a behemoth manning the nose guard position, he sure was happy using 360-pound monsters like John Jenkins and Kwame Geathers as space eaters there.

No more of that.

Pruitt told reporters Wednesday that he’s looking for slimmer, sleeker players. That’s especially true up front.

“We’re trying to get a lot of our bigger guys down,” Pruitt said. “Personally we feel like everybody’s a little heavy. We’d like everybody a bit faster. That’s our preference. We’re trying to slim up just a little. Including the coaching staff.”

Defensive end Ray Drew said he’s now about 282 pounds, after playing at 287 last year. His goal is to be at 275 by the fall.

“It’s that little 1/10th of a second that counts,” Drew said. “There were a few times last year where I had an opportunity to make some plays if I was a step quicker here or a step quicker there.”

I can’t argue that the move doesn’t make sense when you’re trying to catch running quarterbacks in spread attacks.  But how will it hold up in the face of a power offense running out of twin tight end sets?  (Of course, given how Alabama’s running attack mauled a Georgia defense with Jenkins and Geathers, you could certainly argue Pruitt’s approach couldn’t generate any worse results.)

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19 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

19 responses to “Thin to win

  1. Irishdawg

    Alabama had a herd of mastodons on their offensive line, and their depth simply wore Georgia’s defensive front out; they could rotate fresh players in while Georgia couldn’t. But I share the same reservations as you about leaner players; I like fast linebackers and big beasts on the D line. Leaner guys can get pushed around easily by O lines like Alabama or LSU.

    • ‘Bama wasn’t rotating that much on the o-line. But they did bring in a second TE to run block with devastating success.

    • Hogbody Spradlin

      Bama juices.

    • I think Saban took a look at our Kentucky game and tweaked it some.
      “Georgia outgained Kentucky 504-329, but the heavily favored Bulldogs weren’t as dominant as they were expected to be. They allowed 206 rushing yards to the Wildcats, 100 yards above their average coming in.”

  2. I Wanna Red Cup

    I think that was one of the games where we did NO substitution of linemen throughout the game

    • Russ

      Agreed. Size matters but so does rotating people. That was why I thought our DL was much better last year. If we can continue that and simplify the scheme, we can’t help but be better.

  3. Keese

    Bama ran all over and around Mike Gilliard plain and simple

    • Corey

      This is so on point. Whenever Gilliard was in the game, they ran the ball to his side. As soon as Herrera came in we were much more effective.

    • W Cobb Dawg

      I don’t believe Gilliard or Robinson (or Ogletree for that matter) fit many folks idea of the prototypical ILB. All had the skillset and size of OLBs or big safeties. I think Herrera is more the inside ‘type’ – big enough to take up space, wrap up, and muscle the ballcarrier backward. The bigger problem was CTG – the ILBs are so ‘reactive’. The delay of getting to the runner always allows 4 or so yards before the ILB makes a hit, and often the tackle is from the side or behind, not from filling the gap and hitting the runner from the front.

      • Always Someone Else's Fault

        Seeing far more of that from ILBs in CFB these days. The offenses have so many advantages at the snap now and hence so much more initiative. Better allowing 4 yards and slowing them down than watching them run for 50. For a case study in the difference, watch Texas against BYU versus Texas against Baylor. One got the DC fired. The other was respectable and at least gave the Texas offense an opportunity to keep pace. That’s CFB these days.

  4. There is good heavy and then there is fat. Geathers and Jenkins at 355+ was fat. They would have been much better at 315-320. That’s still huge.

    • True, but I don’t think anybody would accuse Ray Drew of being fat. At least not to his face. ;)

      • Irishdawg

        Drew’s a defensive end, so I’m OK with him dropping a little weight if it improves his quickness. What I don’t really want is the interior guys getting too small.

  5. PTC DAWG

    Change for our D, GOOD

  6. Always Someone Else's Fault

    I wonder if they thought changing the clock rule in 2008 would have this far-reaching an impact.

  7. 69Dawg

    The biggest problem for the Georgia D line the last several years is the total lack of holding calls. Short of a tackle take down directly in front of the ref there is no holding in the SEC. That’s not entirely true, they will call it on UGA’s TES and WRs when our RB’s get outside. Blocking on the line of scrimmage has become Sumo Wrestling. As long as the olineman can get hold of the dlineman’s jersey he can hold all he wants and the dlineman can’t escape. It makes it easy to open holds and make openings for the oline to get to the LBs. It has become the norm in the SEC. My Yankee friends have even noticed that holding is close to nonexistent in the SEC. Hopefully Rocker can teach the guys to get off the blocks but short of tear away jersey’s I think it’s not looking good. It is almost better for the interior lineman to cut the olineman to clog the holds and at least keep them off the linebackers.

    Another thing I’m tired of watching us do is line up the LBs 5 years back and have them wait for the play to come to them. Our middle backers made the most tackles in the SEC this year because the Dline hardly made any. Only problem was the LB’s were getting them after 3 or 4 yards.

    I’m still waiting for the corners to jam the heck out of the WR’s on these timing patterns instead of giving them a 7 yard cushion and tackling them 10 yards down the field.

    There I feel better now.

  8. W Cobb Dawg

    Weight is clearly a ‘fundamentals’ issue, so I’m glad to see one of our coaches stressing its importance. Get em in shape coach, then let’s work on that tackling.

  9. Some good thoughts on this topic … FWIW, I agree with Pruitt and to me it only demonstrates further that Pruitt knows what he is doing.

    We HAVE been too big on the LOS, and it’s hurt our quickness and speed. Quickness and explosion as much as anything. Not to mention stamina. Much better to give up 20 pounds or whatever to gain all that. And we still could be stronger, or as strong, with a different approach to S&C, IMO.

    And yeah, I think something like the above would hold up against a top-level power run game.

    If Grantham ordered up his front from Tereshinsky, as somebody speculated the other day, then he got his order wrong, IMO. I like this order.

    Now the OL, that’s another discussion.
    ~~~