Old habits die hard.

With all the usual caveats about preseason happy talk in mind, I still like what this little story represents:

Corey Moore had done the drill wrong, and Jeremy Pruitt wasn’t happy. He was even more unhappy when Moore began trying to explain why he had messed up.

“Is that what you’re gonna have, what we had last year, making excuses?” Pruitt said, according to Moore.

Moore, a senior safety, shook his head and said “no.” And Pruitt went on with the drill.

“That’s what we need,” Moore said later in an interview. “Some people hate it. But, at the end of the day, it’s gonna be for the best.”

This, too.

“He puts you in every scenario in football, live football,” Moore said. “That’s what we need, and what we didn’t have last year.”

Moore used this word to describe Pruitt: “Perfectionist.”

“He feels like if someone’s not doing their job in the program, you should confront them,” he said. “If he’s not doing his job, he wants you to confront him, and if you’re not doing your job he’s gonna confront you. I feel like that was our biggest thing last year, we didn’t have too many people confronting each other, and just taking accountability when we were wrong.”

Such as that time in practice.

Again, it may prove to be a lot of offseason talk. Four years ago, defensive players were also bullish on the changes brought by Todd Grantham. But Grantham’s changes were more schematic. Pruitt’s have been different and, the Bulldogs fervently believe, stronger.

As I’ve said repeatedly, the end of Martinez’ stint was marked by players who didn’t believe in their coaches.  Grantham came in and changed that attitude by showing that he knew football.  The problem was that his NFL-type approach left his players second guessing themselves, especially the young ones who struggled to learn his complicated system.  Pruitt seems to be aware that job one is getting the players’ confidence in themselves back.  But that means breaking down a lot of ingrained behavior he inherited when he took over.  Even if you think he’s a good enough coach to get his players where they need to be, it’s not likely to be a smooth, overnight transition.  More like fits and spurts… with the hope that some sort of corner gets turned by mid-season.  I guess we’ll know it’s working when Corey Moore stops making excuses.

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38 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

38 responses to “Old habits die hard.

  1. 81Dog

    If we have a handful of coverage/blitzes that we actually know how to run, it seems to this observer that will be an improvement over having 300 coverages/blitzes that nobody can execute.

    It may sound self-evident to say, first learn the fundamentals, then learn how to do the complicated stuff, but maybe pro guys think you already know the fundamentals, let’s get to the intricate stuff with a million reads by all 11 guys on every play.

    Keep it simple, stupid. That seems like a pretty good place to start. Lock in the basics, then riff off that if need be.

    • I agree. Pruitt is building a solid foundation for his defense, something we haven’t had since VanGorder.

      It involves fundamentals, including little things and details. Generally speaking, just teaching them the right way to play, and demanding that they do it no other way. Demanding their best effort on the field and in the meeting room, etc., etc., which is quite the change, as Moore said.

      Just more of what we’ve been seeing all year. I’m loving it.
      ~~~

  2. AusDawg85

    Some players get admonished, held accountable and respond…

    …others transfer to Louisville.

  3. Bright Idea

    We need to quit talking about Grantham but I’m not sure if his schemes were as complicated as we think. I think he was indecisive on calls and too married to personnel matchups vs. down and distance instead of the opponent’s talent. He had no feel for college offenses and the running QB. Add in poor fundamentals and it was a disaster. Glad he’s gone.

    • Mayor

      +1,000,000.

    • ** I think (Grantham) was indecisive on calls and too married to personnel matchups vs. down and distance instead of the opponent’s talent. He had no feel for college offenses and the running QB. Add in poor fundamentals and it was a disaster.**

      +1 to all that, and a bunch of other stuff like it.

      Glad he’s gone.

      I think we’re all happy he’s gone. Me, I’m delirious. I couldn’t stand the guy as a DC. I’ve been around the SEC a long time, and I’ve never seen a coach, by his personality and public remarks, generate so much hope and relief, because what he said he would bring was what we all knew we needed.

      He talked about fundamentals, and some of the things Pruitt has talked about this year (not all, and certainly not in the same way). But he man was a bag of hot air. What he talked about, he never implemented. What he said he would do, he never did.

      Instead, he created his own comfort zone, which can be quite substantial in Athens, and his own model (more of a pro model), set it up the way he wanted, and then defended it to the death. He never gave two rats’ a$$ about the University of Georgia.

      Didn’t like him much personally, either.
      ~~~

    • Well stated, sir especially about matchups vs. down and distance and the ability to defend the spread option. I’ll go one step further and say what appeared to be his sole interest in coaching the outside linebackers to the detriment of everything else on the field also sunk him. He let Garner do whatever he wanted regarding D-line rotation and seemed to be oblivious to what happened in the secondary with Lakatos.

  4. I Wanna Red Cup

    Matchups? That fool left the middle linebackers in on every play, even obvious passing downs ( 3rd and long) and repeatedly we were beaten on crossing patterns over the middle, and our guys, while great inside LBs and kids, were not able to cover those guys across the field. He put them in position to fail. If not complicated then he was unable to teach in a way our DBs could understand, thus all the hand flapping and blown coverages

  5. SouthGaDawg

    “old Habits Like You are Hard To Break” Hank Jr. (Sorry, I don’t know to how to embed a video)

  6. charlottedawg

    Grantham made a big deal about fundamentals when he first arrived too.

  7. Scorpio Jones, III

    Second quarter of the Clemson game….call me.

  8. W Cobb Dawg

    Lombardi was famous for running just 4 plays. But the players were required to run those plays to near perfection. It resulted in a lot of wins and championships.

  9. Beer Money

    So it sounds to me (if you will)…

    Martinez=Goff

    Grantham=Donnan

    Pruitt=Richt

    Amazing how history kind of repeats itself!?!??!

    • Mayor

      Donnan averaged 9 wins a season over his last 4 years as HC and got fired after a season of 8-4. Grantham had the worst defensive statistics in UGA history including giving up the most points in a season and points per game in Georgia football history. Grantham was WAAAAY worse than Donnan, who has the 3rd highest winning percentage of any coach who lasted 5 years or more at UGA, after CMR and CVD.

      • Wow! The stat about Donnan’s winning percentage … that’s good stuff, Mayor. I didn’t realize he had a higher winning percentage than Coach Butts (I hadn’t studied that in the media guide). Donnan got fired for losing 3 straight to Tech – pure and simple. If the calls in ’98 and especially ’99 go our way, I’m not sure Adams would have fired him in ’00 because Dooley wasn’t going to fire him.

    • Lrgk9

      “History doesn’t repeat itself but it often rhymes.” S. Langhorne Clemens

  10. Texas Dawg

    Things don’t have to be complex to work. Vince Lombardi had a very simple scheme and was very successful with it. His philosophy is that even if the other team knows what is coming, if everyone does there job, you should successful. It’s like the old days with USC with student body left and student body right. Everyone in the stands knew it was coming, but when the blockers successfully executed the blocks, it was brutally effective. Seems like Pruitt is of that mind set. KISS (keep it simple stupid) and do it to perfection.

    • +1 – I think of the Georgia schemes from the early 80’s. We had good (and 1 all-time) talent who did their jobs and good things happened. We were fundamentally sound in a defensive scheme that didn’t change. Most importantly, we NEVER quit. The Erk effect lasted another couple of years after he left for Statesboro, but no one has really been that kind of coach on the Georgia staff since. Van Gorder might have had that effect on the defense, but he wasn’t a team leader the way Erk was.

      • Scorpio Jones, III

        “but he wasn’t a team leader the way Erk was.”

        Understatement of the decade.

        • Erk was probably a once-in-a-generation type of football coach – a man who was loved and feared at the same time. A true master motivator (no fake juice here) and a leader of men – he probably would have been a hell of a guy to serve under in the military. He made everyone around him better and willing to run through a brick wall for him.

  11. CannonDawg

    “More like fits and spurts… with the hope that some sort of corner gets turned by mid-season.”

    That’s probably realistic. If the change is slower in coming and we’re headed to Little Rock with two or three losses, I’d guess we’ll be seeing a bunch of young pups on the field. However, if the change is perceptible in the first two games and the upperclassmen are showing improvement and effort and leadership, then it would seem that Pruitt’s message is already getting traction, thankfully.

    Which will it be? Will it be a gradual and sometimes unsightly work in progress, or might there be a dramatic and early turnaround? My head tells me the former, but my heart hopes for the latter. In any case, I firmly believe Pruitt will deliver a defense that will get Georgia deep into the postseason. The obvious question is which postseason?

    • Bulldawg165

      “I firmly believe Pruitt will deliver a defense that will get Georgia deep into the postseason. The obvious question is which postseason?”

      Lol what?

    • Which will it be? Will it be a gradual and sometimes unsightly work in progress, or might there be a dramatic and early turnaround?

      Fascinating POV.
      ~~~

      • Pruitt probably needs it to be a dramatic turnaround, or a segment of the fan base will turn on him. No fault of his but our fan base is back to the point of being extremely testy especially about the defense. The lunatic fringe is starting to show back up.

        We are going to have schematic breakdowns where guys get caught out of position, but will we have the good fundamentals to keep a bad play from becoming a game-changing play (Quincy Mauger’s terrible play on the TD in the Nebraska game comes to mind)? That’s what I’m going to be watching this fall on the defense. I don’t know schemes, coverages, and strategy, but I know when a player doesn’t have sound fundamentals.

  12. JN

    I just watched the 07 game vs. auburn. I’ll say this. If a team can finish no. 2 in the country with that secondary, anything is possible.

    Asher Allen – Stud

    Kelin Johnson – what I call a “do nothin” player. He didn’t do anything too terrible, but he didn’t do anything to spectacular, either. Dependable back there, but a far cry from a game changer.

    Prince Miller – Not even sure where to start. He frustrated me… Often!

    CJ Byrd – Worst angle taker…ever.

    • +1. I’ve said before, it’s a wonder, in some ways, that we achieved what we did in the past 8 years.
      ~~~

    • Merk

      We had a pretty good DL back then. Ask the hawaii QB about out DL, he met them early and often in the bowl game.

      • That front 7 was nasty by the end of the season. Marcus Howard, Jeff Owens, Geno Atkins, and, in the bowl game, Brandon Miller just blew people up. The linebackers were darn good as well (Curran & Ellerbe, in particular). My only difference with JN is with his assessment of Kelin Johnson. The guy rarely got caught out of position and was a sure tackler – exactly what you want from a safety. He also was pretty darn good on the safety blitz (see The Celebration).

  13. Cosmic Dawg

    I like Moore’s humility and willingness to tell on himself to make a point about his team and coach. That anecdote perhaps says more than all the happy talk.

  14. Cousin Eddie

    You can have excuses or results, not both