Call it the birth of a new persona, if you like. Recharged Richt.
“We as coaches were kind of. …it felt as close to 2001 since I’ve been here,” Richt said of his first season. “It felt like the first day of a new staff and I think a lot of it is because we obviously had a new staff on defense, but even change in the practice schedule as much as we did, it was brand new for me. It was brand new for the offensive staff.”
Richt called the first day of spring practice “outstanding,” even with what he admitted was the distraction of the Monday night arrests of four football players.
“The defense obviously was going through some brand new stuff for them and the players as well,” Richt said. “Just a lot of excitement, a lot of anticipation. We actually on Monday we got in the staff meeting, went over the practice on the board, talked about where everybody is going to be at every period. Then we went out in the field as a staff and we walked through it all where everybody was going to be. Then at the end of the player meetings we took the players out there and we just walked and said this is where this drill is going to be, this is where this drill is going to be, this is where we’re going to do period four, five, six or whatever. We kind of dress rehearsed where everybody was going to be throughout the practice and then today when we did it, it showed.”
I know we’re veering dangerously close to happy talk territory here, but it does seem like the fresh blood on the staff has encouraged Richt to change his approach this spring and that he’s more upbeat as a result. (Certainly, it feels differently than Grantham’s spring debut, although that may be due more to Richt recovering from the tough decision to fire Willie Martinez than anything else.)
And there is some method to the new madness.
Basically, Pruitt and offensive coordinator Mike Bobo changed up the practice structure and tempo to where reps are now going to double the number of players at one time. A very fast pace was demanded, and in return, players would condition during practice and not have to condition so long as no one was cited for loafing during practice (which would mean the whole team would run).
There’s that “p” word again.
It’s the first day and you don’t want to read too much into things, but it’s at least a little encouraging to see that the team bought into the changes.
According to Richt, “There was not one time when I had to add a team sprint to the end of the day. Everybody was busting it. The coaches were pushing and the players were responding well.”
Richt also added this about the defense: “I was pretty impressed with the fact that our defense could get lined up as quickly as they did. The offense was going fast-paced and high-tempo, and the defensive coaches got the boys lined up and when the ball as being snapped, considering so much was brand new to everybody, I was kind of curious to see how that would go.”
Organization. Players lining up quickly. It’s a start.