I know some of you are going to eat this up…
Everyone received reps and worked under Pruitt’s direct attention. Poor reps were corrected and repeatedly. No one sat out and watched. This was a dramatic shift in intensity from how the defensive backs had been working in practices prior to this past spring.
“It’s different, because they’re working the whole time,” Herrera said. “You’re not getting the chance to joke around. You’re not getting a chance to talk like that anymore. … They have to change. They can’t have all the fun like they used to. They can’t joke around like they used to. They’ve got to be serious and ready to work every day. And that’s everybody, really.”
Wiggins actually referenced the lack of fun he was having in a statement released to 247Sports when he left Georgia’s team.
“I am looking for a team who will embrace my personality, someone who is a jovial, carefree and a bit of a jokester but who knows when to put jokes aside, get focused and become a true competitor, especially when on the field,” Wiggins said.
Returning players attribute some of this to simple youth and lack of maturity. This may have been corrected with time and experience anyway.
But at the same time, the overall approach has clearly changed now, says Mason.
“You deal with a lot of egos. Kids come in because of these recruiting websites, and their heads are all blown up,” Mason said. “You need a coach that’s going to lay the law down and not be able to get away with stuff that maybe some guys have gotten away with, just as far as a disrespectful type of attitude over the past couple of years. It’s just good to see a guy who’s going to implement the law and lay it down and say ‘Look, it’s team. It’s not me.’
“Guys that can’t get along with that, as you can see, they’re gone.”
Now entering his senior season, Herrera says he’s optimistic — and confident — about what is taking place with a new defensive staff
“I know what’s going to happen,” Herrera said. “I know how things have changed.”
So what’s going to happen?
“We’re going to be better than we were last year.”
… but I think I’ve heard that last line before.