Let’s hope Pruitt’s emphasis on creating turnovers pays off.
Moore said Pruitt is doing a great job with individuals breaking down what they need to do with the ball in the air.
It can be seen on the practice field at Georgia this preseason.
“Go attack the ball! Go attack the ball!” Pruitt called out to the defensive backs in a recent practice drill. “Hands on top. Go get it!”
Freshman cornerback Shaq Jones has heard a lot of that: “Basically, what Coach Pruitt is telling us is just to attack. Just attack every play.”
That didn’t translate to any interceptions in Georgia’s first scrimmage, but there was a forced fumble recovered by the defense.
“We’re stripping at the ball when we’re going against the offense, we’re ripping it out,” cornerback Damian Swann said. “We’re trying to make it habits where we can create turnovers, where we can get the offense the ball back so they can go score or we can take the ball and go score with it. That’s one of the keys to winning in this league, you’ve got to be in that top bunch when it comes to takeaways.”
What I like about Pruitt’s approach is that it’s not just about stripping the ball. It starts with players doing their fundamentals properly.
“If you want to create turnovers you have to practice turnovers,” Pruitt said on the day he was introduced as Georgia’s defensive coordinator. “There’s more to it. You can put yourself in position to finish on an interception but you’ve got to actually catch the ball, you’ve got to watch it all the way to the tub. When the ball is on the ground you’ve got to secure it, you’ve got to get your hands underneath the ball and you’ve got to recover a fumble. There are a lot of details to it that I think get overlooked.”
Those details are being taught in practice by Pruitt on a daily basis.
“That’s something he really emphasizes playing the ball, but right now we’re just really focusing on getting lined up and following through with our assignment,” walk-on safety Lucas Redd said. “The rest will take care of itself. We’ll be able to play the ball because we’re going to be in the right spots once we have a better idea where we’re supposed to be lined up.”
And even at Florida State, where Pruitt inherited a talented defense, his emphasis on takeaways had an immediate impact: “In Pruitt’s one season at Florida State, the Seminoles tied for second in the nation with 35 turnovers gained a year after they ranked 66th with 21.”
If nothing else, it’s hard to see how things could be any worse in that department than they were last season, when Georgia ranked second to last in the SEC in turnovers gained.
Speaking of last season, they’re keeping it real in Louisville. (h/t CardDawg)