“We’ve got to… play in space more rather than just wad up and just hammer.”

There’s a tendency to think that, because Grantham and Pruitt are branches on the Saban coaching tree who both use the 3-4 as a base defensive scheme, the transition on defense between them won’t be as dramatic as it was in 2010, after Richt dismissed Martinez.  We need to be careful about that.  Underneath the continuity in base scheme, there appears to be a real change in defensive philosophy.  And that’s going to have a major impact on strength and conditioning, it sounds like.

“The game is going to a lot of speed, a lot of tempo, a lot more plays are being run,” Richt said. “It’s go hard and rest just a minute and go hard again. The recovery time is not what it used to be. You might have 40 seconds in between a play back in the day. Now you might have 15 seconds. So you have to train them a little differently.”

How differently?

Richt said about 80 percent of the defensive players need to get slimmer to keep up with the uptempo offenses.

“Most everybody is on a trim-down phase,” Richt said.

He added: “Not that we’re a bunch of fat guys but in some ways we’re strong and thick in the legs and rear and all that kind of thing. Not that you don’t want to be strong, but we’re willing to give up a little bit of size for quickness and the ability to recover quickly.”

The strength coaches and positions coaches talked about each player individually in meeting this week and Richt talked about each position group that needs to trim down on Tuesday.

“I was going to say mostly linebackers and D-line, but there are some safeties we want to cut some more weight,” Richt said. “A couple of little skinny corners we want to try to get a few more pounds on them and get a little more muscle on them so they can tackle.”

Here’s how Richt described the difference in the weight room.

“Instead of just doing 10 bench presses and then I’m chilling and getting a drink of water and I’m coming back and get me 10 more and build strength, you want to build strength, endurance and even get your heart rate pumping,” Richt said. “Lift, lift, lift, boom, get a little quick blow. Boom, boom, boom. You’re building strength and endurance at the same time.

I don’t know how this all works out in the end, but it’s clear Richt and Pruitt aren’t waiting for the NCAA to pass a 10-second substitution rule.  It’s another indication that the HUNH is definitely changing the way college football is played.

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Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

Eight is great.

The SEC’s head coaches had a little get together yesterday and, not surprisingly, the topic of conference scheduling came up.  Nick Saban is gloomy about the prospects for a nine-game SEC schedule.

Talk of a nine-game schedule and preservation of traditional cross-divisional rivalries like Alabama-Tennessee were discussed by SEC coaches in a meeting Tuesday.

“I don’t think there’s any support for that, it doesn’t seem like” Alabama coach Nick Saban said before a Crimson Caravan stop in Huntsville. “I think there’s a little bit more support for staying with an eight-game schedule and everybody playing a ninth opponent that’s in the five major conferences.

“My thing is I’m for playing nine conference games and still playing another team in the major conferences, so you play 10 games because of fan interest, people coming to games looking forward to seeing more good games.

“So that’s the starting point for me. I think it’s important for the players to be able to play more teams in the SEC East, on the other side, which we only get to play one now. I don’t know if we stay with the 6-1-1 or 6-0-2. I don’t know.”

Everyone seems to agree that Saban’s not a stupid guy, so why ignore his point about “fan interest, people coming to games looking forward to seeing more good games”?  Well, because short-term selfish interest always trumps long-term planning in what passes for today’s management of college football.

Besides, we’ve got the dynamic duo looking out for our interests.

But as Richt pointed out, the vote ultimately comes down to the school presidents, and not the coaches. Of course the coaches could lobby their presidents, or at least their athletics directors.

“It may be I talk to Greg (McGarity, Georgia’s A.D.), and Greg talks to him [UGA President Jere Morehead], sometimes we all talk together,” Richt said.

I feel better already.

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A little misdirection

A panel at Athlon looks at who might lead the SEC in rushing this season, starts by asking if it’ll be T.J. Yeldon and finishes in a different place.

I’m starting to think this Gurley kid might be pretty good.

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Filed under Georgia Football, SEC Football

Putting the special back in special teams

The more I read about the realignment of staff duties with regard to special teams, the more I’m convinced that it’s not the reshuffling of coaches that may make a difference this season.  It’s the renewed focus on paying attention to special teams in practice that may.

No matter the coaches, Georgia did invest more practice time this past spring into special teams.

The Bulldogs typically spent two full periods, splitting them up into early and middle portions of practice “Which in some ways is kind of nice, because that’s how it is in the game,” Lilly said.
Richt said it was more this spring than Georgia had done in previous springs.

“Part of it is just to find who the special teamers are and who can do what but also to try to perfect some skills that they have to have to be good in the fall,” Richt said.

“We got a lot done,” Ekeler said, “and really it was just creating a profile on each one of these guys and seeing what their strengths are and what they can do. The schematics and all that, we’ll get that in fall camp. We know the guys right now who we’re targeting to be on those teams.”

It starts with no longer treating special teams like a bastard stepchild.  Evaluating personnel to see who best fits instead of sticking athletic freshmen and walk-ons there and spending valuable time honing skills is a good place to start.  Now if the staff can convince Richt to ditch the Logan Gray strategy for punt returns…

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Filed under Georgia Football

“He is an elite back even if he’s a little overweight.”

Dang, I guess they’re serious about that losing weight thing.

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These kids think they’ve got it so hard.

You gotta love this:

  • Mike Gundy reminisces fondly about his offseasons as a college football player – There were still offseason workouts, but mostly ‘we hung out at the pool.’”
  • He then professes sympathy for what he asks out of his players today - “We didn’t have near the time commitment these guys have. They put in tremendous work,” Gundy said. “It’s a choice they make. They go out on their own in the summer, they put their time in. I think it’s a great teaching tool for them in life. You’re’ only going to get out what you put into something, and these guys learn about discipline, structure and accountability.”
  • And wraps it all up with the belief that college football will demand from them an even greater time commitment in the future - “I think the stock market in college football is going through the roof,” he said. “Four teams is going to draw more interest, and eventually it will go to eight because of the benefits and revenue that comes from the market for college football.”

They’d probably rather learn about how Gundy was able to parlay hanging out at the pool over the summer into a $30 million dollar contract.  Now there’s a life lesson.

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Filed under It's Just Bidness, Look For The Union Label

The incredible shrinking buyout

Remember all the speculation over how much Grantham owed UGA when he left for Louisville?  Turns out the actual number was a whopping $3,750.

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