Too much fun

I know some of you are going to eat this up…

Everyone received reps and worked under Pruitt’s direct attention. Poor reps were corrected and repeatedly. No one sat out and watched. This was a dramatic shift in intensity from how the defensive backs had been working in practices prior to this past spring.

“It’s different, because they’re working the whole time,” Herrera said. “You’re not getting the chance to joke around. You’re not getting a chance to talk like that anymore. … They have to change. They can’t have all the fun like they used to. They can’t joke around like they used to. They’ve got to be serious and ready to work every day. And that’s everybody, really.”

Wiggins actually referenced the lack of fun he was having in a statement released to 247Sports when he left Georgia’s team.

“I am looking for a team who will embrace my personality, someone who is a jovial, carefree and a bit of a jokester but who knows when to put jokes aside, get focused and become a true competitor, especially when on the field,” Wiggins said.

Returning players attribute some of this to simple youth and lack of maturity. This may have been corrected with time and experience anyway.

But at the same time, the overall approach has clearly changed now, says Mason.

“You deal with a lot of egos. Kids come in because of these recruiting websites, and their heads are all blown up,” Mason said. “You need a coach that’s going to lay the law down and not be able to get away with stuff that maybe some guys have gotten away with, just as far as a disrespectful type of attitude over the past couple of years. It’s just good to see a guy who’s going to implement the law and lay it down and say ‘Look, it’s team. It’s not me.’

“Guys that can’t get along with that, as you can see, they’re gone.”

Now entering his senior season, Herrera says he’s optimistic — and confident — about what is taking place with a new defensive staff

“I know what’s going to happen,” Herrera said. “I know how things have changed.”

So what’s going to happen?

“We’re going to be better than we were last year.”

… but I think I’ve heard that last line before.

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48 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

48 responses to “Too much fun

  1. heyberto

    This is one of those things that I like to hear, but in no way does it make me think that all of sudden things are going to be inherently better. I like the recognition of needing to shake things up, to bring in a new philosophy, and seeing the reaction of that in practice. If this doesn’t shake the mentality of the team up for the better, I have no idea what will. Either way, some eggs have been broken to make this omelet, and I don’t mind that.

  2. hassan

    spot the ball already

    all this waiting is killing me

  3. Ben

    The secondary has been a problem for years; the last truly dominant secondary that I can remember us having was when Martinez was the secondary coach, which was a really long time ago (am I mistaken in that?). We haven’t had a game changer back there who could turn the game around with a hit or a pick and return, and there’s a good reason we were so easily able to move from “3rd and Willie” to “3rd and Grantham.”

    Also, hasn’t the secondary (not just at UGA but in general) generally been full of guys with big egos? It’s a glamorous spot where you can make big plays and get lots of attention, but if you go for a kill shot instead of the ball or tackle, you’re going to get burned. That’s happened a lot, and it’s why we see so many big plays back there.

    And it doesn’t help that they’ve also been poorly coached the past few years and have been consistently out of position or doing something stupid off the field, too.

    • Cosmic Dawg

      Ah…I’d say the Boykin-Rambo-Williams era we just left was pretty good. I love these changes, frankly, and think we are in a much better position than we were last year. I’m going to go out on a limb and predict our secondary cracks the top 40 this year…the happy talk is being backed up by believable accounts of a more workmanlike attitude in practice and the dismissals that prove things are changing. I was never comfortable with all the attitude and flashiness we were hearing last spring about the incoming freshmen before any of them had played a down back there, and I think Grantham’s departure is gonna be worth 15 points a game no matter who’s back there.

      Pass the Kool-Aid…

      • Eventually it’s going to be worth significant points but I think the real fruits of it will be felt late season (we might actually improve during the season as opposed to prior years) and in to 2015. I wouldn’t expect dramatic improvement immediately.

      • Ben

        You’re right; somehow I’d forgotten about those guys. And you know why? Because they weren’t flashy or “Me First” guys; they went out, played ball, and made the team better.

        Thanks for pointing them out.

        (also, I think it’s because it felt like Boykin had been there since the days when Willie was just a secondary coach, so my mind was playing trick on me)

  4. Skeptic Dawg

    I like what I have read and heard about Pruitt and his style/beliefs/coaching techniques. If some talent is lost due to a change in methodology/philosophy then so be it. With that being said, what in the world has Richt been doing a HC? Assuming the defense under Grantham was exponentially worse behind closed doors than what we saw on Saturdays, why in his right mind would Richt not have kicked Grantham to the curb? Further more, did Richt expect a sea change this season based on what happened the previous 2 seasons? I know that many will write me off as a Richt hater. I am just curious (and slightly angry) as why Richt is either A) Unwilling to make changes when he sees there are glaring issues or B) Blind to the fact that there are issues.

    • Bright Idea

      And why did Richt and Grantham settle for a secondary coach (Lakatos) who operated this way????

    • I think this all started even before Grantham arrived. After BVG left (who was a big proponent of physical intense practices regardless of the number of injuries), we had a slew of injuries one season and Richt opted for less contact and less intense practices.

      As Mason alluded to in the video posted here yesterday, the players who were not on the two deep roster (the freshman whom you expected play later in their careers) did a lot of standing around at practice and were not progressing and not ready to play when their time eventually came.

      The way you practice is the way you play.

      • Skeptic Dawg

        Scott, I tend to agree with your belief that this began prior to Grantham. And that’s what I find to be maddening. Why would Richt let these issues and practices/philosophies continue through not one but two DC’s? At what point does Richt shoulder the responsibility for the overall team? Prior to 2011 Richt had earned the right to be fired. Then he did the unthinkable and pulled this program out of the ditch in 2012. He has squandered many a opportunity due to his lack of knowledge, or his unwillingness to acknowledge the problem. I know he will not be fired, nor does he deserve to be at this point. But at what point does it stop?

        • Ben

          Maybe Richt didn’t see a problem; remember, he wasn’t going to can Grantham, but Lakatos (who was the secondary coach) left for “personal reasons”, and then there was a chance to maybe fix what was happening back there. It’s weird to me, though, that Grantham will be coaching DBs at Louisville; if he was so good at it, why didn’t he do that at UGA? Unless, of course, he was going to, and that was the “personal reason” that Lakatos left.

          The guy came from UConn, and he was surrounded by talent when there. Ogletree, Boykin, and Rambo were just outstanding players, and they’d probably make most of us here look pretty smart, too. When it came to developing players and managing egos, maybe that just didn’t mix at UGA the way it needed to.

        • Jack Klompus

          Richt Hater!!!!! Just kidding. It was well said. I’ve pondered your points countless ties over the past 3 years.

          I’ve got a pen for you.

    • Hackerdog

      Obviously, none of us can speak for Richt. But, Grantham was under contract. Even if Richt wanted him gone, firing him would mean dipping into the reserve fund to pay off the remainder of his contract while paying a top DC at the same time. That’s probably not something that McGarity would readily allow.

      • Cojones

        At the same time there were actions by McGarity that undermined Richt somewhat. The mindset that some on here had was Grantham to succeed Richt as soon as we finished burning him at the stake. I think McGarity didn’t want to admit that scenario, but the door open to the conference room incident was enough to convince me. I think that McGarity didn’t want to fire someone that he hired and where Richt was placed on the process sideline. It would have played out (Grantham taking over) except for Richt (plus Bobo) winning 10 games in the great comeback. Grantham was given too much credit for that deed whereas his D had good SEC rankings.

        All of the Grantham-induced crap is coming home to roost hopefully on McGarity’s conference room doorstep.

  5. I guess this explains why our secondary seemed so confused all of the time.

  6. Gatriguy

    Inmates were running the asylum. It’s disgusting, last year’s seniors deserved better than that.

  7. Sockmonkey

    So, the players weren’t all practicing during practice? Wow, just wow.

    • Go watch that Mason video from yesterday. Its enlightening. There was only one offensive and defensive unit practicing at any given moment, with everyone else standing and watching (and apparently joking and carefree).

  8. Go Dawgs!

    F your personality, Shaq. You know what’s fun? Winning’s fun. Not being punked by every second rate receiver in the SEC is fun… to say nothing of being able to compete with the top tier guys. That’s a lot of damn fun. We’re looking for football players who appreciate that first and are willing to let their personality wait until they’re Bulldogs on a Saturday night in Athens. That’s fun, too.

  9. DawgPhan

    obliviously this is the time of year where we start getting these quotes.

    last year those guys were lazy, but this year, man, everyone is getting all the reps. working hard. focused. staying late. first to arrive, last to leave. 100 participation.

    am I missing any?

    UGA either fields a top 25 defense or they dont.

    • Dog in Fla

      “am I missing any?”

      Just a couple…lunch pail, Thermos®, go to work every day, blue collar, Junction Boyz, salt pills, salt blocks, 110%, put some tape on it, quitters never win, tape an aspirin to it, Jeremy’s spoken, thin the herd, baloney sandwich in lunch pail, cull the herd, opportunity is nowhere at the ten meter platform, The Pruitt Way, get on the bus, addition by subtraction, bust a flock, the covers on the defensive playbook are not too far apart, get off the bus, winners never quit

    • Irwin R Fletcher

      I don’t care if they are the same quotes every year, Armarlo doesn’t deserve to be patronized in any way with the way he busts tail every play.

      When I start to hear guys like Mason talk about ‘team first’ and Herrera talk about energy and attitude I get excited…sure the results will be the results, but I don’t think there is any doubting that these two guys know what they are talking about because they’ve lived it…I’m not sure there is a better example of energy and leadership than Herrera and I’m certain Mason is the definition of ‘team first’ having sat behind Murray for the last several seasons.

      It’s fine to be cynical about what the results may be…but be careful not to doubt the sincerity of their words. These two young men should have earned our respect.

    • Hackerdog

      Good point. Also, don’t forget that walk-ons who bleed red and black will always play better than 5-star kids who don’t. Saban is an idiot for recruiting so hard and trying to get the best class in the country. What he and Richt should do is just take a class full of small, slow legacies that can be coached up. We’ll be a dynasty before you know it.

      Also, if Pruitt doesn’t work out as DC, we should hire Pollack.

  10. DawgPhan

    Hell we all talked about how the TEAM was going to be better because we didnt have Stafford and Moreno making so many plays another.

    pass the kool-aid and dont skimp on the good stuff.

  11. Derek

    It’s a journey not a destination. Just because we are headed in the right direction doesn’t mean that we’ll see results Labor Day weekend. It’s interesting to see this cultural shift though. I always got the sense that being “players coaches” was part of what was being sold to recruits. I would say that since Vince retired that we’ve been long on talent and short on toughness. I don’t know how many of you are old enough to remember but Vince was not a great recruiter. We won with toughness and discipline not so much with talent. Beating auburn at their place with a back up qb and a roster that included not one guy that would have started at auburn was a Vince Dooley special. Same with the ’85 cocktail party. Of course, we didn’t win a ton of titles either without Herschel. Recruiting top talent to a “no fun” program will be tougher to do. You better get results and quick.

    • 81Dog

      I’m a little confused. Is Alabama a “Fun” program? They don’t seem to have any problems attracting talent.

      • Macallanlover

        Bama gets a few mulligans every year that we don’t, they should be awash in talent. Not saying they don’t do things better than us in some ways but come on, that is a huge head start they have….every year. And that edge builds. I think it is fun because of the winning but I doubt Shaq’s attitude would have worked under Little Nicky either.

      • Derek

        They’ve got a lot of recent crystal balls to attract the talent. We don’t. There are a limited number of recruits. We are fishing in the same pond as Bama. They have “no fun” and a bunch of trophies. If we have “no fun” and none of the trophies… This is why I said “you better get results and quick” otherwise you start to get diminishing returns in recruiting. If being hard assed were the key to success, tell me how pete carroll did it? Urban meyer, Jimmy Johnson, Barry Switzer etc., etc., etc…. The point is that too many of us buy into the easy answer. The truth is almost always more complicated. I hope the new path works. I want us to win. I just have enough common sense to know that being disciplinarians is not the key to getting a no. 1 recruiting class, the key is winning. Heretofore we could sell a contrast to bama, Now we may have the same pitch without a similar attraction. Better get busy winning.

  12. Russ

    Even with the dismissal (or perhaps because of them) I still think the defense will be much better. DL will be awesome, LBs are better and DBs can be worse. More pressure from the front seven will make it easier on the DBs.

  13. AthensHomerDawg

    We will win the East 2014. Gonna be a fun ride.

  14. diving duck

    what’s this program coming too?

  15. Debby Balcer

    It is funny to seed the Richt basher’ s grabbing onto these quotes to tear him down. Some kids can be told over and over they need to focus more just because they weren’t doing does not mean they were not being taught. If they other watched their teammates and learned it would have helped. I think they thought They could be star plays with just raw talent like they were in high school. They were all going to be Jarvis Jones’ only he worked his tail off. That is not on Richt that is on those players. They have been on the offense and defense. The detractors would fine if they stayed on the team if they helped us win national championship.

    • Debby Balcer

      See not seed

    • Macallanlover

      But….but….but, you asking them to be held accountable for their actions and attitude. Where might they have learned that before? I think the coddling for many of them begins early in life and gets amplified by a permissive society that worships sports success. You are right, they are given a marvelous opportunity to do something special with their life but many choose to waste it. We see that in so many areas of our society these days. Very troubling.

      • DawgPhan

        You might as well be talking about the baby boomer generation.

        • Macallanlover

          No “might” about it, I am. The major responsibility for the downfall of the US falls directly on my generation, happened on our watch. The “me” generation, thought we knew how to change things.

          Fascinating book that I read in the early 90s: Generations, The History of America’s Future. What goes around comes around with each generation’s experiences shaping/influencing the next until a circle is formed. After every 4th generation (approximately 88 years give or take), a major crisis is faced. We are right on schedule, and due another….I think it is imminent. If that sounds like I am shirking our responsibility because it is inevitable, I am not. We walked straight into it and have to face up to what we have done with our kids’ futures.

  16. Bulldog Joe

    Programs with true accountability do not go to the media to boast about it.

    Every year.

  17. Cojones

    Cheez, Senator! Throwing meat into the dogpound?

    • Jack Klompus

      Right? One thing that Garrison commented on was coming right out of HS as a Big Shot and then going right into a starting job. It probably does a four or five star 18 year old good to get his dick knocked into the dirt by a bad ass mofo junior or senior that teaches them how to REALLY play. That didn’t happen to the Trigga, Shaq or JHC. Unfortunately, it sounds like Grantham wanted to be the cool Dad at practice rather than the guy that was going to humble them and, I’m speculating, but all of the above led to this. Sounds like Pruitt knocked the TRSHJHC’s dicks in the dirt and they didn’t like it. Good for him.

      • Cosmic Dawg

        Oh, they got schooled all right – it was just juniors and seniors wearing different colored jerseys.

  18. Lots of good posts and comments in this thread. I think this article is simply further confirmation that the change we’ve needed for so long is real. And I expect it to produce results. But I love the comment and dialogue, it’s just good to see guys involved in really thinking about it.

    For the last 8 years we’ve come close to winning several Titles, both SEC and National. And that was with a cancerous culture (of varying degrees over that time) that enabled entitlement, poor mentality, lack of discipline, poor work ethic, and all the rest.

    This is why I’m so excited. Having watched it and vented about it for so long, the frustration that came with it may soon come to an end. There’s nothing worse than being capable and then consistently beating yourself. And that’s the kind of play that culture naturally produces.

    I’ve said all along that if we ever get back to where we were in the VanGorder years, and continue to recruit well, we’ll win our share of everything and then some. It just comes with the territory, along with the solid defense we’ve been missing.

    So it’s exciting. Sure there’s any number of ways to get it done from a head coach perspective. But the bottom line is, champions play hard for that coach. And no matter how easy going or how much of a players coach, you can bet somewhere on that staff is an enforcer, somebody who will crack the whip and insist on discipline. More often than not, it’s a coordinator.

    Occasionally, championships have been won by the poorly cultured, but inherently talented. But even on those teams, somehow the work got done. Those teams usually end up falling apart, because you can’t have cohesion very long with “Me” guys. And I suspect that’s more true in college ball. Miami got away with it for about as long as anybody, with superior talent and soft schedules. But even they eventually self-destructed.

    One of the things I wrote so much about over these years is the need to set a high standard of expectation and DEMAND that it be met. I have no idea why Mark Richt tolerated this culture as long as he did. I think we all have wondered that.

    I suspect it snuck up on him, and he didn’t realize how bad it was until sometime late in 2009. Since then, he’s been trying to deal with it (the cleaning house of early 2011 was an example). His hiring of Grantham was supposed to be a big part of the solution. But Grantham wasn’t wired that way.

    We’ll probably never know the whole story, and I suspect Mark & Katharyn Richt are the only ones who do. The thing is, Richt cannot be what he is not. He can be tough when he needs to be, he can get angry and chew guys out, but that is not his usual personality. So he needs, like so many other head coaches, somebody on his staff to be that guy, because without him there isn’t the proper balance that you need within the staff.

    In the early years, Richt had BVG. Dooley had Erk for his balance, but it wasn’t like some think. Dooley’s players were scared to death of him, but had tremendous respect for him. With Dooley, they always knew they got nothing but the truth. Erk, they just plain loved. The result was those players played their hearts out for both of them. But Erk was the player’s coach, not Dooley.

    I can see how it was tough for Richt to dictate to Grantham, and even Martinez. Not saying he shouldn’t have, just that it’s tough for a head coach to meddle, much less dictate to a coordinator as to how to deal with players, run their practices, and so on.

    Regardless, it sure looks like Richt has finally found his man. There seems to be that ‘balance’ again on the staff. I suspect it’s the best staff of Richt’s career. And I’m hoping Pruitt will be that man for quite a while. I think he might, even though he’ll undoubtedly be tempted with head coaching offers. I just suspect he loves coaching and doesn’t want to do all the other things a head coach has to do. That his personality is best suited for DC, and he knows it.

    We’ll see. But I expect to see a different defense, and a different team for that matter, come this fall. We may not win as many as we’d like. But I think we’ll have a chance to win every game because we’ll have the consistency that comes with some discipline and a high standard of expectation.

    Compared to that, the loss of a half dozen dumb-a$$es, however athletically talented, isn’t even worth a mention.

    This is another very good development, IMHO.

    I think I’ve heard that last line before.

    So have I. Many times. But I’ve never seen it backed up by action. Not since 2004, anyway.
    ~~~