Simple? I like simple.

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)


Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

49 responses to “Simple? I like simple.

  1. 202dawg

    “Grantham, one of the most respected defensive minds in the game…” ROFLMFAO

  2. godawg

    “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….”

    Music to my ears! Let’s just hope they can execute.

  3. JG Shellnutt

    I’m getting excited.

  4. I hope Pruitt makes the immediate impact a lot of UGA fans are expecting, but the talent gap between the Florida State defense he had a year ago and this year’s UGA iteration is so vast. Plus UGA will play better competition.

    • W Cobb Dawg

      Is the talent gap ‘vast’? We’ve got a lot of DBs vying for jobs: Swann, Moore, Mauger, JJ Green, A.Davis, Fenteng, R.Johnson, K.Johnson, S.Dawson, Wilkerson, Bowman, Parrish, S.Jones, F.Sanders, T.Terry… Most, if not all, of these guys were 3 or 4 stars coming in, some are pretty good athletes, and many would be starters for ACC teams. I gotta believe there’s some talent for us to build on. The first few games will be tough, but I expect the DBs to improve under CJP as the season goes on.

      • Joe Schmoe

        I agree that the talent gap is most certainly not “so vast”.

      • charlottedawg

        How many of the returning guys are probably going to play on Sundays? How many freshmen come in and are sec caliber dbs immediately? How many would start for a defense like lsu or Alabama? Answer:not many. Just keep in mind these guys couldn’t beat out Connor Norman and tray Matthews for starting jobs. That’s a pretty big dearth of talent.

  5. Ghost of Logan Grey

    Can’t wait for Grantham to talk about his defense “making one more play” in a game where Louisville scrapes by Murray State or some other titan. Still pinching myself to make sure he really is gone…

  6. Michael

    Great to hear, Glad they are working on the turnovers…………..I just hope they don’t forget to tackle while stripping / playin the ball.

  7. “I think we were pretty decent on third down,”.
    Yep nothing like giving up a 3rd and 23

  8. uglydawg

    Realizing it’s the state of the game today, I think ball stripping is kind of a cheap way of getting a turnover. I know this is not how everyone else feels. I even propose a penalty for blatant ball stripping or punching (I definately think ball punching should bring out a flag) because it’s unsportsman like IMHO. (I expect flak for this). I hate to see a defensive player catch up to a runner and take a swing at the ball, though it’s becoming more common. Maybe if you are successful, you avoid the flag, if you don’t cause a fumble, you get flagged…that would be for stripping and punching.

    • pantslesspatdye

      Not meaning to give you grief, but do you work for ACCPD?

      What are your thoughts on exiting an alley?

    • I don’t like stripping and punching the ball because I think it takes the focus away from good fundamental tackling. Seems to me I see just as many turnovers a year by well placed helmets, or swiping arms in the process of making a sound tackle.

      • charlottedawg

        Except turnovers stop drives, give better field position, and more importantly a freebie possession to the offense. Yeah a good fundamental tackle to set up 2nd and ten is waaaaay better than that…… come to think of it big plays on special teams have the same effect maybe we should look into that too!

    • Gumby

      I’m not in total disagreement, don’t need a flag, but the focus should be tackling. More than 90% of the time the defender is gving up an extra 5, 10 or 15 yards trying to strip the ball instead of tackling the SOB!!

      • W Cobb Dawg

        Agree on tackling. When it comes to stripping the ball, I usually think of a DE swiping the ball out with his arms as he’s wrapping up the QB. DB’s generally can’t out-muscle a WR, RB or TE and take away a ball. I’d prefer that our DBs be in the correct position for an interception (now THAT would be a change from CTG!).

        Dawgs can use all the fundamentals on tackling we can get. A turnover is a nice bonus for a well-executed tackle, but we’ve seen the turnover-first, tackle-second approach backfire too many times.

    • Macallanlover

      Glad to hear you express that ugly, I have felt that way for years. I feel the turnover should be a natural result of the contact from a “football skill”, not punching, or wrestling.

      I could support a rule where those actions were a penalty but wrestling the ball from someone’s grip AFTER initial contact would be allowed. A ball carrier should not have to defend a bling sucker punch from behind, from a helmet or shoulder during a tackle? Of course. We never saw that in football until the last two decades.

      While on the subject of fumbles and rule changes, I would also like to see the “scrum” after a fumble limited to those in the immediate area and in motion toward the ball before the whistle. It is difficult enough to determine who deserves the ball before 4-5 MORE players from each side pile on and begin to wrestle for control. I get that everyone should react to a loose ball but continuing to allow players to confuse the possession issue for 5+ seconds is nothing but a way to attempt control after actual control was gained. Penalty could be automatically awarding the ball to the other team if a player continues to join the action after the whistle. Making the job more difficult for the officials can be done for no other reason than distorting what should be called.

      • I Wanna Red Cup

        Giving the officials more discretion on who to penalyze when two teams are scrambling for the loose ball. What could possibly go wrong?

        • uglydawg

          What could go wrong, Red Cup? Nothing that isn’t already wrong…Hell, they could even give the ball to Auburn when Georgia clearly had it downed and then flag the coach for saying “that’s crap”. It would actually give them less discretion. As it is now, they can unstack a 22 man pile and give it to which ever team they want.

      • uglydawg

        Mac wrote
        “I feel the turnover should be a natural result of the contact from a football skill”, not punching, or wrestling.”.
        Pretty good summation. My opinion also.
        The first time I remember seeing a team actively reaching in and trying (and with success because the running backs weren’t expecting it then) to jerk the ball away from a “stood up” ball carrier was in the 80s. Clemson used the technique to great advantage…and it wasn’t long before other teams began to do it. If a guy is carriying the ball carelessly and it gets grabbed or stripped, fine..but I hate to see a guy stood up and mobbed. There are things that can be done (and are taught) in a “scrum”, as Mac accruately described it, to a person to cause him to loosen his grip on the ball to protect other body parts. Again, my opinion…it’s unsportsmanlike.
        While we’re at it, may I also add that calling a time-out just before the ball is snapped on a field-goal attempt is also bad sportsmanship…as is a grown man giving a kicker the choke sign before he kicks it…LOL

        • I Wanna Red Cup

          Agree with you onthe choke sign. That right there is a big reason why CTG will never get a head coaching job. That is not what you want to be the face of your program. I have never been a fan of a head coach who cannot keep his cool ( Agent Muschamp comes to mind) on the sidelines.

    • godawg

      Sorry, but I am of the school of , “GiT THE DAMN BALL!!!!” Any way they accomplish this is fine with me. If it means good tackling and forcing a three and out fine, but I’m am perfectly fine with punching. twisting, biting, pulling hair, saying nasty things about your mother, girlfriend etc.,just as long as they GIT THE DAMN BALL!

    • Joe Schmoe

      The absolute last thing that college football needs is more rules and penalties.

      • Macallanlover

        On one of those we already have the rule: stop on the whistle….it just isn’t enforced this way. On the other, the “punching” or “chopping” could simply mean an interpretation change. Better penalties, imo, than some of the others we do have on the books so just trade them out.

    • Bobby

      You are of course entitled to your opinion, but I have honestly never even heard of such a point of view (penalizing for stripping, punching, etc.). Maybe I’m being dense; are you trolling?

      I love emphasizing turnovers (particularly fumbles), assuming tackling and all other aspects of defensive play are fundamentally sound. Admittedly, the majority of college players are not good enough not to compromise tackling ability in the process.

      If a defensive player can actually strip the ball, it is purely because the ball carrier has poor fundamentals or is physically weak. If a reasonably athletic carrier is properly holding the ball, the only way he will fumble is with a real bone-jarring, earth-shattering hit (e.g., Clowney vs. Mich.). If ball carriers were better fundamentally, defensive players wouldn’t try to exploit this technique.

      Unsportsmanlike conduct in a “scrum” (grabbing nuts, gouging eyes, etc) to get a player to loosen his grip on the ball absolutely should be penalized, but that is an entirely different matter than stripping or punching the ball. Penalizing ball-stripping would just throw the baby out with the bathwater.

    • I’ll provide the flak mostly because I can’t tell if you’re serious or not…

      Do you prefer defensive backs to not use their God-given appendages to swat balls out of receivers hands when the receiver catches the ball or would that also be too unsportsmanlike? Should the defensive back wait like a gentleman for the receiver to come down with the ball before attempting a form tackle? I think that the way Auburn won the game against us last year was a bit of a cheap way to do it, but it’s not against the rules to get cheap points nor should it be.

      Now if you’re saying you prefer teaching proper tackling rather than going for the strip, we may be on the same page.

      • uglydawg

        Running up to a guy or coming up behind him and swinging a balled fist at the ball, which you will probably miss and hit his arm or something, is unsportsmanlike but. It’s become more and more commonplace. Is should simply fall under the catogory of “unsportsmanlike conduct”.
        I don’t mind the disagreement..I expect it. I just believe it’s bush-league….the same way I believe the blocking techniques at GT are bush-league and should be managed out of the game.

        • Bobby

          I guess I just don’t understand what is unsportsmanlike about it. I am legitimately interested in your explanation. Also, why is it bush league? Intentionally stripping a ball is not exactly an easy feat to accomplish; takes a lot athletic ability and hand-eye coordination.

    • Bazooka Joe

      We probably don’t win the Florida game in 2012 if your proposition was in effect…..

  9. simpl_matter

    I love to fill my void spaces with some delicious schadenfreude. I have Louisville’s schedule bookmarked, hoping for some heaping helpings of it throughout their season.

  10. I Wanna Red Cup

    I don’t think the there is a talent gap between FSU and UGA.
    Nice to see CTG is working on situational defenses and he now realizes how important getting a 3 and out when the other team has the ball on its own 1. Worked out well for us against Nebraska..oh wait…

  11. CannonDawg

    “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!”

    Music to my ears. There’s some TEACHING going on, some instruction in the correct way to play aggressive defense. I know we’ve all been saying (hoping) how even a modest improvement on defense would be a huge lift, but I’ve got to believe that our progress will be more–perhaps even much more–than modest. How can it not? We’ve got talented players, decent depth, a clear-cut culture of accountability, and our players are being coached up for the first time since BVG. We don’t have to have the SEC’s best defense, but a 50% improvement just might give us the SEC’s best team. And 50% is well within reach, IMO.

    Can’t wait until Aug. 30.

  12. AthensHomerDawg

    Turnovers often can be game-changing plays.

    “When the ball comes out, that’s pretty precious,” “You’ve got to look at the football as being a flawless diamond that size and it’s up for grabs and whoever can get it and hold onto it, they’re in a good position.”

    Stripping the ball has an element of risk to it. If you wrestle and give up another 10 yards that is a total fail. However, if you wrap up the ball carrier and are separating him from the ball as he struggles for a couple more yards…yeah I can deal with it. So there is a judgement call and a right way and time to do it. I trust Coach Pruitt is including this in his coaching?

    However, I would not stand for a Florida style defense where the following are encouraged!
    Eye-gouging. Crotch-grabbing. Biting. Kicking. Punching. Striking.Choking.Finger breaking.Stomping.Trampling. Pinching. Spitting. Sleeper holds.

    • W Cobb Dawg

      I’m with you as long as visor throwing is okay.

      • uglydawg

        AHD….you just described what WM does to a player after he makes a mistake on the field.

        • Dog in Fla

          “Eye-gouging. Crotch-grabbing. Biting. Kicking. Punching. Striking.Choking.Finger breaking.Stomping.Trampling. Pinching. Spitting. Sleeper holds.”

          Coincidentally, that’s also what Boom did when resisting capture before they made him a errand boy sent by clerks to deliver season tickets to old folks. He now knows what the reward is for giving them their worst season since ’79 last year.

  13. Atticus

    FSU went from -6 to +17 in one year. That speaks volumes.

  14. 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.

    Right. Has to start there. The next part is playing the ball. So it’s SO refreshing to hear that Pruitt’s teaching that, though I really knew it from watching FSU. That we haven’t done that at Georgia in so long, with few exceptions, has driven me bananas all these years.

    Play the dad-gum ball!! When I played safety, my mindset was when the ball left the QB’s hand, that ball was MINE. And I’d play the ball just like a receiver. The key is, you have to have the ability to judge the ball as soon as it goes airborne. If you see you can’t get to it, then play the receiver, where you can either tackle him or break up the pass.

    And no coach ever told me that. It isn’t rocket science. That it’s new to our veteran DB’s says a lot. And explains a lot.

  15. Bazooka Joe

    Another benefit of this is that the offense gets practice against defenses trying to strip the ball, etc… so hopefully they are better at holding on to it.