With all the usual caveats about preseason happy talk in mind, I still like what this little story represents:
Corey Moore had done the drill wrong, and Jeremy Pruitt wasn’t happy. He was even more unhappy when Moore began trying to explain why he had messed up.
“Is that what you’re gonna have, what we had last year, making excuses?” Pruitt said, according to Moore.
Moore, a senior safety, shook his head and said “no.” And Pruitt went on with the drill.
“That’s what we need,” Moore said later in an interview. “Some people hate it. But, at the end of the day, it’s gonna be for the best.”
“He puts you in every scenario in football, live football,” Moore said. “That’s what we need, and what we didn’t have last year.”
Moore used this word to describe Pruitt: “Perfectionist.”
“He feels like if someone’s not doing their job in the program, you should confront them,” he said. “If he’s not doing his job, he wants you to confront him, and if you’re not doing your job he’s gonna confront you. I feel like that was our biggest thing last year, we didn’t have too many people confronting each other, and just taking accountability when we were wrong.”
Such as that time in practice.
Again, it may prove to be a lot of offseason talk. Four years ago, defensive players were also bullish on the changes brought by Todd Grantham. But Grantham’s changes were more schematic. Pruitt’s have been different and, the Bulldogs fervently believe, stronger.
As I’ve said repeatedly, the end of Martinez’ stint was marked by players who didn’t believe in their coaches. Grantham came in and changed that attitude by showing that he knew football. The problem was that his NFL-type approach left his players second guessing themselves, especially the young ones who struggled to learn his complicated system. Pruitt seems to be aware that job one is getting the players’ confidence in themselves back. But that means breaking down a lot of ingrained behavior he inherited when he took over. Even if you think he’s a good enough coach to get his players where they need to be, it’s not likely to be a smooth, overnight transition. More like fits and spurts… with the hope that some sort of corner gets turned by mid-season. I guess we’ll know it’s working when Corey Moore stops making excuses.