Daily Archives: July 9, 2014

With Pruitt, even the happy talk is serious.

It’s the offseason, when a frustrated Dawg fan’s heart turns to fancy.  We relive last season’s flaws, whether they’re of the tactical, talent, attitude or any other variety that comes to mind, and we grasp at whatever straw we think is the perfect remedy.

We appreciate new straws the most.  Novelty is exciting.  Novelty is promise.  Novelty is hope.  (Not to mention there are only so many times we can be assured that this is the season some flaw is really going to be fixed before tuning out altogether.)

Jeremy Pruitt is this year’s straw, baby.  The question is, how different a straw is he from his predecessor, whom, you may recall, was a pretty hot straw for us, too.  Seth Emerson gets at that some here:

But when Pruitt walked into a team meeting at Georgia in January, minutes after being hired as defensive coordinator, he received a standing ovation. It wasn’t so much for his credentials, though by then many players were aware of them. It was more because he represented a new start, something Georgia’s defense desperately needed.

“A lot of guys probably needed a fresh start,” senior cornerback Damian Swann says.

Before getting into why Pruitt is seen as the right guy at Georgia, it’s important to know the state of the defense — both playing-wise and emotionally — after last season.

Todd Grantham had his good moments in four years as defensive coordinator, especially the first two. He brought a much-needed fire to the defense, which was one of the best in the nation in 2011. But the unit struggled the following season, which was a surprise given all its talent, and last year it struggled even more, crippled by youth and inexperience.

Yeah, there’s that.  But Grantham got plenty of mileage out of Willie Martinez’ failings, too.  So why aren’t we more cynical about what Pruitt’s up to?

I would suggest that one reason is Pruitt appears to have a low tolerance for bullshit.  Some of that can be gleaned from the offseason departures from some of last year’s defensive starters.  There are also stories like this:

… No player on the roster would say Georgia is better off without those guys. However, there has been an increased sense of resolve among the players I spoke to, as you can see here and here. Even the incoming freshmen can tell that there has been a paradigm shift with the new coaches. I overhead this conversation two weeks ago:

Player 1: “Coach [Jeremy] Pruitt doesn’t talk to anybody…”

Player 2: “He hasn’t spoken to Lorenzo [Carter] since he got here.”

It was off the record so I omitted their names. We may never find out if that was a real thing or just an exaggeration. The point is, Pruitt doesn’t appear to be a player’s coach. He is tough, demanding and doesn’t coddle anyone. In the short run, the team has been hurt by transfers and dismissals, In the long run, the team will be strengthened. The players still on the roster keep telling me they love Tracy Rocker, Kevin Sheerer and Mike Ekeler, but I think there is more respect (and a little bit of fear) when it comes to Pruitt.

Now this may turn out to be little more than myth-building.  (Which is not to say that myth-building can’t be an effective motivator.)  But in any event it has a different feel to it than what we’ve been accustomed to for a while.  I’m almost tempted to say it’s VanGorder-esque, except even VanGorder didn’t run players off the way Pruitt’s been willing to as a price for his demands.  (VanGorder wasn’t the recruiter or team player Pruitt has demonstrated himself to be, but that’s a subject for another story.)

I’m looking forward to seeing how this plays out.  But I’m not gonna get too crazy about it yet.  I don’t think Pruitt would approve.

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42 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

“The concussions I think is the thing that really drove this.”

By now, you’ve  probably seen something about the new NCAA guidelines on contact practices, the key thing about them being guidelines, i.e. suggestions, and not mandated rules.  Read this quote from Ron Courson and you’ll understand why that’s all they could do at this point.

“Common sense would seem to think you would have a decrease, but where do you draw the line?” Courson said. “That’s the debate in coaching circles. For example if you say, we’re only going to do contact once a week, that might translate better in the NFL than in college because in the NFL you have guys that are very experienced and know how to hit. In college, maybe you bring in an 18-year old freshman and they need to have good fundamental work. If you don’t get that in practice, are they more prone to get hurt in a game because they’re going out there and they don’t know how to practice?”

Where do you draw the line between player safety and game preparation?  I suspect Courson would draw it in a different place than, say, George O’Leary would.

The ADs are the ones stuck in the middle.  But I also suspect a couple of bad concussion verdicts and most of them will start siding with the Coursons of the CFB world.

7 Comments

Filed under The Body Is A Temple, The NCAA

Hey hey hey hey

Here’s a reason to smile today.

It’s set to be released August 1st.  Mick Jagger is one of the producers.

Is it too much to expect “Dooley’s Junkyard Dawgs” in it?

23 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

What a drag it is getting old.

About four weeks ago, I pinched a nerve in my leg.  It hurt like hell but was clearing up… until I did something really stupid in my garage.  I woke up yesterday unable to get out of bed… took something that dampened the pain, but left me not in a blogging mood.

I’m a little better today, so we’ll see how far along I go.

64 Comments

Filed under GTP Stuff