Daily Archives: March 21, 2014

“The ball was on the ground too much, for a variety of reasons.”

Does it occur to anybody to wonder if going at warp speed might contribute to Nick Marshall’s butterfingers?

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Filed under Auburn's Cast of Thousands

Nick Saban’s just trying to help, y’all.

In a world of college athletics that denies student-athletes access to representation and information so that they could make more fully informed decisions – maybe the most important one of their lives at that point in time – it only seems fair that Nick Saban proposes a little restraint of trade as an educational experience.

That it serves to help Nick Saban is merely an unanticipated coincidence, I’m sure.

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Filed under Nick Saban Rules

Purging Grantham

And so the inevitable comparisons have begun.

That was apparent in the first practice when Pruitt got his point across that he wanted things done the right way with technique in a little different way than Todd Grantham, Georgia’s defensive coordinator the past four years who left for Louisville.

“I think he might be a little more meaner than Coach Grantham,” Wilson said. “You better learn it.”

For all the denials about the system’s complexity last year, that’s not what they’re saying now.

It’s just two practices into Pruitt’s tenure as defensive coordinator, but it’s already apparent that he’s doing his best to simply (sic) things. For one, Pruitt said he would last month, and with the onset of spring practice this week, his new players have picked up on it.

“It’s a lot more easy,” senior inside linebacker Ramik Wilson said.

“It gives everybody a chance to be a player,” sophomore safety Quincy Mauger said. “Do what we came here for as a D-1 athlete. Make plays. We don’t have to think a lot about ‘Where do we need to be?’ and ‘What is this guy doing?’ ”

Under former defensive coordinator Todd Grantham, Georgia ran a more complicated scheme, which helped with a proven veteran unit. But it can be the undoing of a young unit, leading to communication problems and players being out of position.

Grantham mostly resisted the idea his schemes were too complicated. He also maintained that last year’s young defense had less thrown at it than the veteran units of 2011 and 2012.

But whatever the case, it was obvious that defenders were confused last year.

“I think that was a problem last year, because we had a lot of younger guys playing who couldn’t pick up on the system as quick as others,” senior nose tackle Mike Thornton said. “So this is gonna help to our advantage a lot.”

Even the attention as a position coach gets noticed.

In his first three seasons, Moore played for defensive coordinator Todd Grantham, who oversaw the outside linebackers. Pruitt is Georgia’s first defensive coordinator overseeing the secondary since Willie Martinez in 2009.

“I don’t want to take anything away from Coach Grantham, but Coach Pruitt is more hands-on technique wise,” Moore said. “It’s better for the defensive backs, because we have a defensive coordinator back there who basically knows everything. He’s our coach, and we can ask him any questions.

“I know a lot of coaches are like that, but I think having Coach Pruitt back there with us will be a big plus.”

Now as a sports fan, I’ve always recognized the virtues of KISS.  And it’s obvious Pruitt believes in what he’s doing; getting his players to buy into that is the first big step in improving the defense.  But I also think Grantham was honest in his insistence that he had dumbed things down last year because of the greenness of his troops, and we saw how much that helped as the season progressed.  So while I’m glad to hear the happy talk, I’ll believe Mike Thornton’s right when I see it.

Thornton is entering his fifth year in the program, so he’s in as good a position as anybody to assess how Pruitt’s playbook is different than Grantham’s. The two defensive coordinators come from similar backgrounds, each running a 3-4 base defense, so the plays and schemes are going to be similar.

But the terminology is a bit simpler so far under Pruitt, according to Thornton.

“It’s not a lot of trying to think on the fly, or read keys a little bit quicker than you have to,” Thornton said. “It’s basically he calls a play, we get to it, we make an adjustment, and we just go. We go balls (out).”

Was that what this defense needed?

“Yeah,” Thornton said.

I guess I just found my first G-Day item to watch.

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Filed under Georgia Football

“Not much.”

Patrick Garbin relates something that shouldn’t come as much of a surprise – players at Georgia struggling to make ends meet is nothing new.  It’s just harder nowadays to keep the consequences of that inside the family.

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Filed under Georgia Football

Hurry up practices

There’s a certain logic to this – if the HUNH generates more plays for an offense in a game, then going hurry up in practice should generate more reps for players.  Which is what it sounds like is happening in the first couple of days of spring practice.

Moore was skeptical when he was told that pretty much every player would get the same amount of reps under the new practice format.

“I didn’t believe him at first,” Moore said. “Sure enough everybody’s getting the same amount of reps. It’s crazy, man, because everything is so fast-paced now. I’m still getting used to it.

If that’s the case, there’s a lot to like about it.  More reps means more data for the coaches to use in evaluating the players.  More reps give the players greater opportunity to grasp what the coaches are teaching.  And it should also foster more competition for playing time.  Plus, it’s a way to get more work in without violating NCAA caps on practice time.

All it takes is better organization than we’ve been used to seeing.

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Filed under Georgia Football

Thanks, college football!

I’m not really sure how I came across this, but, hell, it’s worth sharing.  Speaking about the 2012 presidential campaigns, some experts posited an interesting observation about the role college football played.

What do Pennsylvania, Michigan, Ohio, Florida, and Wisconsin (states that were neither solidly Democrat nor Republican) have in common?  The audience will tell you that these states not only gave their electoral votes to Obama but also possess some of the largest concentration of college football fans.  Now one might ask – is this merely coincidental or does a link really exist?  If it does, what should we make of it?  Do college football fans love Obama more than Romney?  Not necessarily.  Did Obama outspend Romney in his purchase of ad time during televised coverage of college football games? While it is certainly true that Obama had a tremendous advantage in the number of ads placed during college football games, any good political scientist who is vigilant about spinning a causality story will not conclude that Obama won the election because he did more to appeal to college football fans than did Romney.  What they can conclude however, is that Obama’s advertising activities during college football season were part of an overall campaign effort that differed remarkably from that of Romney not only in terms of strategies but also in terms of goals and objectives.

Say what you will about the man’s politics, he knew how to campaign effectively.  So what is it about college football that Obama’s camp found useful in reaching potential voters?  And what, if anything, did Romney’s folks miss about that?

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Filed under College Football, Political Wankery

“I mean, we’re just going to prepare more for fast offenses.”

Alabama’s linebackers seem a lot more sanguine about playing against the HUNH than their head coach is.

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Filed under Nick Saban Rules, Strategery And Mechanics

Thank you, God.

Jimmy Williamson’s day is suddenly brightened.

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Filed under Crime and Punishment, Georgia Football, Recruiting