“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.


Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

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

  1. heyberto

    I agree completely about the transition period due to scheme change, there will be one.. but I think this is where simplicity of scheme will have an impact. If memory serves, I didn’t think we saw a huge amount of improvement from the beginning of Grantham year one, to the end of the season. Improvement came the following year. I think we’ve got a chance to be clicking quite well by the end of the season… certainly a better shot for that under Pruitt than with Grantham. I think that’s a reasonable expectation, but we’ll see.


  2. I’m beginning to think more and more that the pace of your practices is just as important as the scheme when it comes to defending the HUNH. If the guys are used to playing fast in practice, that also means the coaches are practicing getting the signals in quicker, and everything just flows better during the game. That article a couple of weeks ago about how Mason would have his defense play against two alternating offensive personnel groupings in practice at Stanford was pure genius, and no wonder they’ve reacted so well against Oregon the past few years. Just look at our game with AU last year, if it hadn’t taken our D an entire half to settle down and adjust to the pace, we would have been much better off. Even FSU, who had a heckuva defense last year, took most of the first half to adjust to Auburn’s pace. Hopefully Richt & Pruitt took away good lessons from their common experiences.

    I like what the staff is doing this year. Get leaner, practice faster, less time between reps. We should see dividends.


    • Macallanlover

      Nice post, solid point about how speeding up practice forces everyone to step it up. We will make physical mistakes on defense, I am more worried about reducing the mental breakdowns and confusion with our defense.


  3. Lrgk9

    Back to Sam Mrvos circuit training of the 70s. Wrk and Sam were buds and Sam always provided this facet for UGA till Erk left. Can remember Mike Cavan and Richard Applevy gasping and sucking eggs from lifting weights for and hour in just this kind of manner. Mrvos glommed from the East Germans and Jake Scott and Jimmy Polous were 2 that bought in and excelled.

    Remember an OL that was toast and Mrvos body slammed him with one hand and then .,,, but I digress.

    Am glad, glad I tell ya’s, to go this way!


    • Irishdawg

      Wow, Mrvos taught my weight lifting class sophomore year. I don’t remember circuit training, but I do remember a lot of muscle soreness.


  4. Scorpio Jones, III

    Meanwhile in Louisville…”Our guys gotta git bigga, stronga…you know, we gotta work harder in da weight room and sit at that training table longer…we are just too small and weak.” Todd Grantham.


    • heyberto

      I think Grantham was trying to get the players to eat as much at the Butts Mehre cafeteria as he was so he wouldn’t look like the fat slob. Didn’t work.


  5. Scorpio Jones, III

    Whatever Pruitt thinks is fine with me…right now. I will wait to offer any judgement when its third and long and the game is on the line.

    Please don’t think I am not renewing my Disney Dawg membership, it is just that, well…I am a big, big fan of the “three and out” defensive philosphy, and I just ain’t seem much a that lately.

    Bigger, smaller…what ever….three and out works for me.


  6. Dog in Fla

    “UGA President Jere Morehead, who host Chuck Dowdle called “the big cheese,”

    Is this what we want Chuck Dowdle to be?


  7. Russ

    Poor Ray Drew. For the first two years, he needed to beef up so he could play. Last year I guess he got big enough for Grantham. Now, I guess he’s too fat. Poor kid can’t win through no real fault of his own.


    • Dog in Fla

      Ray gets Tripped by Jenny Craig [Jenny Craig® and Jenny’s Cuisine® are registered trademarks. Used under license.]


  8. CitadelDawg

    Any chance this is totally the wrong season to be making this emphasis? With the QB drain from last year, and the RB talent across much of the conference, isn’t there a chance we see MORE ground game, and somewhat LESS HUNH, from many of our opponents this year as compared to last year? We may lose mass for a season where, against USCe for example, it may prove very helpful.


    • Ausdawg85

      This would be so Georgia of us.


    • W Cobb Dawg

      That’s a fair point. We’d have been national champs in 2012 if not for a couple big bodies that could slow down Lacy and Yeldon (mostly Lacy). Gilliard and C.Rob had enough quicks, but didn’t have the size to stop anybody.


      • biggity ben

        I feel like it was more that we had no substitutes. At least that’s what everyone was screaming after the game.


        • Will (the other one)

          We didn’t really sub in the front 7 there, and also some have said the front 3 were too slow to get off blocks, putting too much of it on LBers.

          And remember, HUNH can be quite run-game-centric.


        • WF Dawg

          Ramik Wilson, for one, played really well for the few snaps he got in the game. Forced a fumble near our goalline, which, if recovered, could have been a game changer.


    • DaleC

      Any coach who sets a strategy for one season is doomed. This is a longer process than a single season and they are correct to plan for a faster paced game.


  9. And to think that if Grantham were still here we’d be on the brink of having the No.1 defense in America this fall…assuming we could avoid those couple of suspensions and injuries and get the players to learn his brilliant schemes.


  10. It’s another indication that the HUNH is definitely changing the way college football is played.

    It is, no question about it. But I would also point out that these changes, in terms of what was going on at Georgia and Pruitt’s influence since he arrived, were sorely needed anyway. Maybe you have things tweaked a little for HUNH now, but the core of all this applies regardless. We’ve been hurting badly, as a team, in these areas.

    Alabama, for example, does pretty much the same things, and they haven’t been focused so much on HUNH, or changed what they do (though they might be tweaking now, like we are). Most of what we are doing is just a way to do things more efficiently, given what we have to work with, and applies to any style of football.

    Suffice to say that there’s a reason Georgia has underachieved for the last 8 years. And this new process goes a long way toward addressing that, IMO.