It’s not easy being green.

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?



Filed under Georgia Football, SEC Football

39 responses to “It’s not easy being green.

  1. whaUGA904

    I’m thinking it’s due to the fact that our defensive backfield was so atrocious last year while SC’s and Bama’s wasn’t. The departures definitely didn’t help either.


  2. siskey

    Neither South Carolina or Alabama allowed a 99 yard touchdown. Nor could they depend on the other team scoring or getting a first down when it was 3rd & 19. We don’t have to be great in the secondary it would be an excellent improvement if we are just average.


    • AthensHomerDawg

      That fg attempt of Sabans against the Barners went 109 yards officially. Murray threw a pass to Justin Scott Wesley for 85 yards agianst uSC. Auburn allowed Amari Cooper to catch a 99 yard pass play against Alabama.


      • Krautdawg

        Shows you the power of perception, doesn’t it? We’ve been perceived as soft on D for years, so that 99-yd TD vs. the Huskers is evidence of more of the same. Auburn gets classified as “resilient,” so the 99-yard TD gets accepted and ignored. And Bama’s tough, so when they give up 45 to Oklahoma, it’s because they must not have been ready to play.

        Works the other way too, though. Our 2007 D wasn’t league-best, but you wouldn’t have known it from watching CBS. Get a couple of good games in & we’ll have a narrative that Ga’s D is “back.” More important is what the D players themselves think — if Pruitt convinces them they’re tough as nails, chances are good we end up with the media narrative we’d like.


  3. Skeptic Dawg

    While it’s fair to lump USC, ‘Bama and Georgia in the “green” group, it’s also fair to have a higher level of concern for the Dawgs. Georgia is young and inexperienced in the secondary. The players that do return struggled last season, providing no hope for this season. Given the youth, inexperience, and overall lack of talent in the secondary there is little reason to believe things will completely turn around in 2014. ‘Bama has a proven track record of building quality defenses under Saban and Smart. If ‘Bama does struggle in the secondary this season, then there may be reason for concern moving forward.


  4. Hogbody Spradlin

    Like the comments above say: We sucked worse than them last season.


  5. I watched the auburn replay last night ….. Let’s just say if we continue to tackle like what I saw then there is major reason for concern, no wonder Pruitt is worried .


  6. meanmachineinredandblack

    I think there is some concern over our secondary, to be sure. But we went from poaching a guy from UConn to coach our secondary to the three-time defending National Champion secondary coach. It’s also worth noting that the three guys we kicked off the team weren’t going to see much of the field under Pruitt because of their attitudes. Finally, your answer is yes. Our coach is being more prudent and honest about his situation than the Head Chicken. I think Bammer is in fine shape though.


  7. Mayor

    Senator, I’ve been saying all along that while there is reason to be concerned there is no reason for panic. The DBs who are gone were bad apples. The team is better off without them. If Pruitt just gets competent DB play out of the returners and the new guys we’ll be fine. Why is it a bad thing when players who can’t tackle and can’t cover leave? Everybody, back away from the ledge.


    • Mayor, the departed my have been bad apples, but they were talented apples. The loss of talent is what is devastating to the secondary. There is not greater or even equal talent to sustain those losses. So the secondary is facing a lack of talent, youth and inexperience. That is not a good mix. Pruitt certainly has his work cut out for him. My hope is that we see improvement from the entire defense as the season progresses.


      • Atticus

        The secondary is MUCH better prepared to begin the year than it was last year. We had Tray Matthews staring his first games, Connor Norman and Brendan Langley and Damian Swann as a junior starting along with JHC when he came back. This year we have Swann as a senior, Aaron Davis as a redshirt soph, with JJ Green, Shattle Fenteng (3rd yr out of high school) and Mauger/Moore and possibly Parrish as a freshman . And with a much better DB coach. Not even close. Yes several are unproven but what were Langley and Matthews and Norman if not unproven?


    • Senator, I’ve been saying all along that while there is reason to be concerned there is no reason for panic. The DBs who are gone were bad apples. The team is better off without them. If Pruitt just gets competent DB play out of the returners and the new guys we’ll be fine.

      +1. However, I DO worry if they’ll be fine soon enough.


  8. Feels like Pruitt is being brutally frank about the state of his DBs to motivate them to be better. We saw in the spring what seemed to be his effort to tear them down before he builds them back up. I think we’re seeing that now. He said yesterday that Swann is ready to go, he’s got others that are getting it in spots, but they’re not there yet. He seems hopeful they’ll get there.

    If anything, I feel like Pruitt is being a little more honest than USCe and Bama about where the secondary currently is. He also seems like a more pessimistic coach than Grantham was, where we were lead to believe that everything was great all the time.


  9. Bright Idea

    Pruitt is being seen as our savior by our fan base and he is wisely trying to downplay that. Most of the tingle down our leg is because Pruitt ain’t Grantham/Lakatos.


    • Cojones

      And I’m thankful he is doing such. We have a few scrimmages and other places where the atmosphere can get darker with injury before we send these untested players into games. We can’t get too carried away with anything until the first two games are played, but you had better bet that this bunch of fans will support those players thru their thin so as to get them chewing at the thick.


  10. mp

    Only one of these team turned over the defensive coordinator and the DB coach. Continuity has additional benefits (particularly, as noted above, when what’s continuing is solid performance).


  11. simpl_matter

    So happy we get to see the Cocks twice before we play them, plus a week off to game for them. Those are two huge advantages IMO.


    • Bazooka Joe

      Plus I think we have a little bit of a score to settle with them the way we got slapped around the last time we played there….


  12. KingCantona

    I think everyone would be better served by entering this season with an open mind and no expectations. We really have very little idea how a number of factors will play out — other than Gurley being a badass and having a good placekicker. I believe the defense, mostly the secondary, will struggle early but improve as the season continues. We may have some early medicine to take, but the program (thanks in large part to our new defensive staff) will get healthier and be in a much better place because of it. (Gawd I HATE sounding like a South Carolina/Liverpool fan… “NEXT year will be the year for us!”)


  13. Gravidy

    I agree that we fans are more worried about the UGA secondary than SCU/Bammer fans are worried about theirs due to history. The UGA secondary was terrible last year, suffered attrition during the off-season, and are learning a new scheme this year. I don’t think any of that applies to SCU or Bammer.

    However, I think the difference in the tone of the rhetoric is mostly due to the individual coaches doing the talking. I just think Pruitt is a fan of poor-mouthing to the point of hyperbole. I read a quote from him yesterday where he said he’d only field ten players if he only had ten that he deemed ready to play. Keep that in mind when you decide how seriously and/or literally to take the words coming out of his mouth.


    • I read a quote from him yesterday where he said he’d only field ten players if he only had ten that he deemed ready to play.

      He was talking about the secondary, Grav. He made a similar statement about the whole defense last week.

      FWIW, I think Pruitt is an honest, forthright, straight-shooter. And not a hot-air, full-of-bull, egotistical jerk like his predecessor.


      • AthensHomerDawg

        But it was fun watching Todd and Frankie fake a throw down post Vandy game. Frankie was playing to the camera crowd. He probably teared up later when he apologized to his team for his unprofessional behavior. As for CTG i always thought Bubblicious should have approached him for a bubble gum ad contract. Todd could chew that cud and always hid behind that silly towel.


      • Gravidy

        My comment above probably read more negatively than I wanted it to read. For all I know, Pruitt is an honest, forthright, straight-shooter as you say. Time will tell us if that is the case, and I have no reason to believe it isn’t.

        I was merely making the point that he seems to be prone to hyperbole. If I misinterpreted that quote as you say, which is certainly possible, then I was wrong about that part of it. Either way, I was making the point that I don’t think we should hang on his every word as the unvarnished truth. In the span of a few months, he’s gone from saying he’s never coached a secondary that wasn’t good to saying he only has one reliable player. Once again, I’m not trying to paint him negatively when I say that. I’m just saying the poor-mouthing seems to be strong with this one, not that there’s anything wrong with that. Dooley won a few games in his day with that as his signature tactic.


        • My comment above probably read more negatively than I wanted it to read.

          No, I didn’t take it that way at all.

          I noticed it too, but just wanted you to know that the context of the remark was the secondary, not the whole defense. He used that same analogy last week for the whole defense, saying, “If we have 11, we’ll play 11 … if we have 30, we’ll play 30.”

          Pruitt could be a little po-mouth, but he’s not in Dooley’s league, lol. Dooley wanted to keep things realistic and grounded, and often went way overboard doing it, lol. We’ll see as we go along with Pruitt, as you said. My guess is he’s just being grounded, realistic, and honest.

          Whatever it is, it sure is refreshing.


  14. McTyre

    Worriers, come out and play-yayyyyy . . .


  15. uglydawg

    South Carolina will be starting defensive backs that just enrolled in school in July? While I’m sure they have been practicing and have been being coached, there’s a hell of a lot of difference in covering and tackling an SEC back or reciever than a high-shooler. These guys will be in trouble when they look up and see Todd Gurley breaking the los.


  16. DawgPhan

    shorter comments.

    Our guy is honest. Their guy is a liar.


    Everyone we kicked off would have never played.


  17. Brian

    People accuse Dawg fans of always drinking the KoolAid bright red. But if you go read other teams blogs their fans are no where near as negative as Dawg fans. There was a not a single negative comment on the SC blogs when SC reported that 8 of their signing class may not qualify. Actually only 6 missed out but if that had been UGA…. crying towels everywhere.

    Also those saying we won’t miss the departed…. don’t go back and watch film of last years games…. somebody has got to step up to replace JHC. The others not so much. I didn’t remember him being that good. But watching film JHC made a lot of plays. Can JJ do it…. I hope so. See that I was being positive 🙂


  18. I Wanna Red Cup

    I hope that our coaches are spending time on special teams now. Need to eliminate blocked punts and long returns and get some of our own. Need to win the ST battle every game to be successful.


  19. 69Dawg

    CJP is just continuing in the steps of Erk and Dooley. He can really
    po-mouth. Might I remind you that one of the starters from last year is now on offense that right there told me volumes about last year. JHC was a very athletic guy but he was not a good tackler. He was a hard hitter that bounced off of bigger opponents. The safeties were forever out of position and they might be close enough to make a tackle but I never counted on it. If we can just get back to an average SEC defense, we will be ok. Special teams just need to adopt the motto of the Hippocratic Oath “First do no harm…”. I don’t think we will win the East outright but we might finish in a tie.
    I’m guessing 9-3.


  20. Sh3rl0ck

    I have faith that the seconday will be better than last year for no other reason than that Pruitt is willing to use a dime package.


  21. W Cobb Dawg

    I don’t feel we’re in such terrible shape. Expecting CJP to do a poor job isn’t consistent with his previous gigs. And although we’re not ‘stocked’ at DB, we have adequate talent to get the job done.

    This is UGA. We have talent. Its not the players, its the coaching. Show me any aspect of our team that underperforms, and I’ll show you a coach who can’t get the job done.