A thought occurred to me as I was reading preseason camp stories – we know what a disaster Georgia’s inexperienced secondary was last year and we’re aware of how much Pruitt is concerned about finding defensive backs who will be ready to play in his system in just a month. But life sure sounds different elsewhere.
Take South Carolina, for instance. The Gamecocks may be one of the few SEC teams that will field an even greener secondary than Georgia does this season, with three true freshmen, two of whom weren’t even admitted to school until last week, vying for starting time. And yet the reaction to that lies somewhere between a shrug and a yawn.
“It’s not a panic mode,” Brown said. “We’re prepared to get those guys ready. They’ll play for necessity, because we need those guys to play. But they’ll also play because they’re projected to be really good players. We’ll have enough time to get them ready to play.”
South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier said it hasn’t taken the freshmen long to adjust. They’re already rotating first-team reps in practice, even before players put on their pads for the first time this preseason.
Remember, they’re coming out of the gate facing Texas A&M, a pretty tall order.
Meanwhile, over in Tuscaloosa, Kirby Smart finds himself working two true freshmen cornerbacks into the mix ASAP. No worries, mon.
… There’s a buzz about Tony Brown, the No. 2 cornerback in the class who enrolled early. Hoover’s Marlon Humphrey, the top-ranked corner in the class, is getting acclimated after arriving this summer.
Both have veterans who’ve started games to beat for jobs, but Smart said playing time at that position isn’t necessarily tied to seniority.
“I wouldn’t say that’s the toughest position (to learn quickly) for the players in our system, because a lot of what you get is dictated by the formation of the offense,” Smart said. “You can give them that information, we don’t ask them to understand a lot of the checks and system they have to get through communication. They have to understanding the word that the safety is calling.”
Now I realize that some of this difference in attitude can be chalked up to coachspeak/spin/blowing smoke. But there also seems to be a legitimately higher level of anxiety in Athens than elsewhere. Is that justified? Or merely being prudent?