About the defense…

Hmmm… I’m sensing the emergence of a theme.  See if you can guess what it is.

Jeremy Pruitt:

“We’ve really got a young, inexperienced defensive football team,” Pruitt said. “The guys are working really hard. We’ve just got to get them to come along a little faster.”

Dominick Sanders:

“Everybody played a lot of snaps,” Sanders said. “A lot of young players are playing, and they have to know that in this league you’ve got to go, play as many snaps as you can.”

Jake Ganus:

“We had a lot of miscommunication and just a lot of different things, lack of education, and we just didn’t execute as well as we needed to…”  [Emphasis added.]

Hey, did anyone mention they’re young and lack experience?  Just checking.

As I’ve said before, Mark Richt is engaged in a precarious balancing act of winning now while playing a lot of freshmen because of a talent problem, a lot of which was something of his own making due to poor roster management.  And, yes, he deserves all the blame for that, but, really, what else should we expect at this point after he’s recognized the problem and taken what looks like a direct approach to correcting it?

It’s gonna be a wild ride this season.  The best we can hope for is that the lights come on before it’s too late.


Filed under Georgia Football

51 responses to “About the defense…

  1. Billy Mumphrey

    Before it’s too late? Shit, two tires in the ditch already.


  2. Spence

    Then why does Leonard Floyd look like shit half the time? He can’t set an edge and was clearly gassed against UT.

    Of the Carter, Floyd, Jenkins trio, only JJ has impressed this year and I didn’t hear his number much on Saturday.

    The whole damn defense is a dumpster fire of Willie-esque proportions.


  3. JT (the other one)

    The one constant is Richt. Whenever we face plant as hard as we have….he is tied to his past face plants. It doesn’t matter if the moves he is making are right. No one will be able to see past them.


    • W Cobb Dawg

      Except for a couple holdovers from pre-2014, this is a new staff and much of the support organization is revamped. Yet the same ole problems persist. Pruitt has 3 championship rings – yet now he’s accused of not knowing wtf he’s doing. It’s not the assistants, the players, the newbees, the facilities, the fans, the admin, etc. We’ve tried to change everything around CMR, but does that really address the heart of the problem?


      • Brandon

        So you think by hiring a new staff… POOF everything is supposed to fix itself overnight? Not saying its not CMR’s fault for the roster issues we have today, but it appears by our last 2 recruiting cycles and the one coming in that alot of this has been addressed. It takes time though. Firing him now would only compound our issues and could screw things up enough to where we are in Vol land for the next decade. Blows my mind how you people believe we can fire Richt and everything will be OK like there are Nat’l Championship coaches just hanging out on every streetcorner.


  4. JCDAWG83

    I agree that youth is a problem in the secondary and there’s not much that can be done about that. Next year, we will hear about youth being a problem on the offensive line. It seems that every season we have a part of the team that is young and the youth is an issue.

    At some point, you would think we would have decent experience across the team.


  5. I’mnot “anti any coach” …but it has always puzzled me as to why we nver seem to recruit balanced. SIgn a ton of d-linemen and l-backers one year, then a ton of d-backs the next, then a ton of “athletes” but I Never seem to see us sign a balance of positions. I get the need thingy, but why do we never sign two or three 5* O-linemen with a mix of the other positions…maybe I just having a fantasy.


    • Moe, I looked at the data a year or so ago. Over time, the high schools in Georgia don’t produce a large number of blue chips (4+ stars) in the offensive line compared to other positions. There are exceptions (like last year), but neither of the 2 at the top of the board (Hyatt and Edoga) even considered UGA seriously.

      Offensive line recruiting is the biggest wild card on the team. High school offensive linemen who are D1 prospects typically overpower the kids they play against, and high school coaches don’t teach a lot of technique.

      You have to get the hire right for an O-line coach because he typically has the most difficult player development role on the team. Based on performance thus far, the jury is definitely out on Rob Sale.


    • GaskillDawg

      Our previous recruiting classes were balanced enough to give us experienced DBs this year. Stuff AFTER signing day affected the defensive backfield numbers.
      Pruitt ran off a corner who could be a senior starter, Shaq Wiggins. We justifiably kicked Trey Matthews and Josh Harvey-Clemons out of school. Brandon Langley left. They could have been upper classmen starters had we not kicked them out of school. This, the plan when recruiting them was that we would have Matthews, Harvey-Clemons, Wiggins and Langley competing for playing time at UGA. Our staff did not just forget that there is a defensive back position when offering scholarships.

      This is not to say that we should not have run Wiggins, Matthew or Harvey-Clemons off. It is to say that the lack of upperclassmen in the defensive backfield is not due to recruiting decisions. If any of you posted last year that we should have kept Wiggins, Matthews or Harvey-Clemons then you are in the best position to complain about roster management. If you applauded getting rid of those guys them we got what you asked for. (FWIW, I am in the “applauded getting rid of those guys” camp.)


  6. Russ

    Still doesn’t explain to me why the defense seems much worse than last year. We had a bunch of intramural frat boys out there last year (to hear Pruitt talk about it) and this year more of the players have a second year in the system. But the tackling is worse, the coverage is worse, and conditioning is worse.


    • D as in Dawg

      Hit the nail directly on the head… check, please!


    • Rocket Dawg

      This is what I don’t understand either. Last year we had Aaron Davis and Devin Bowman at CB, Sanders and Mauger at Safety and Parrish in there at the end. All of those guys are back and yet we have McGraw and Abrams who are true freshman starting/playing significant snaps. I get they may be better athletes than what we have but they still have to “think” and that gets you beat deep. I just don’t get it.


    • Midgadawg

      Correct on the overall defensive performance- normally more snaps would equate to handling situations better – but some players have regressed. We have zero coverage in the middle – Maybe they are thinking instead of reacting and the play is already by them.


  7. Chi-town Dawg

    While I agree that roster management was a problem for a number of years, the last 2-3 recruiting classes have been completely full with a minimum of 24-25 each year. In fact, I believe Senator that you shared a similar roster management stat right before the Bama game showing how we’d dramatically closed the numbers and talent gap the past few years. Also, CMR’s recruiting classes have consistently been in the top 10, so it’s not as if the guys we did sign were a bunch of 2 stars charity cases.

    I agree with JC that we knew the secondary would be green, but with the exception of Damien Swann, 3 of our 4 DB starters returned plus a number of second string DBs. My sense is that CJP has done less this year with more talent than last year. I expected the defense to show much more progress in year 2 and both Floyd and Carter have been disappointments thus far. Yes, we’re playing 20 freshman a game, but that’s still only 20% to 25% of the total scholarship roster. I’m becoming less and less sympathetic to the “poor roster management and lack of talent” excuses at this point.


    • Biggus Rickus

      Next year it’ll be a young offensive line and freshman QB. Maybe people will finally stop looking for excuses when the same shit happens in 2017.


    • True, but you’re not mentioning the loss of experienced talent that was dismissed or left the team in that time frame.

      And note that even with who’s returned, Pruitt is still getting two true freshmen in Abram and McGraw a lot of playing time in the defensive backfield. That should tell you something.

      Short term, it’s a problem.


    • the 20 freshmen a game thing is misleading. The VAST majority of those are on special teams.


  8. addr

    You touched on it before, Senator. It’s not that the defense is young, it’s that they seem to be going backwards. The key mistakes in the Alabama game were bad enough, but I had ptsd watching all the missed tackles, coverage breakdowns in the middle, automatic 8 yard passes to the outside, etc… against UT.

    Or maybe the defense was that bad last year and the offense carried even more weight than we suspected?


  9. JAX

    Hoping/praying for a 2007-esque turnaround starting like……..now..


  10. sUGArdaddy

    The reality is a lot of these kids could/should still be playing for us in two years. We’re playing a boatload of young guys, and it’s killing us. We DID get better in the secondary last year, and I expect the same to happen this year. Pruitt knows what he’s doing. Think about our potential defense in 2017:

    DE – Ledbetter – Jr.
    DL – Thompson – Jr.
    DL – Atkins – Sr.
    OLB – Carter – Sr. & Walker – Jr.
    LB – Patrick – Jr.
    LB – Smith – Jr.
    OLB – Bellamy – Sr
    S – Abram – Jr.
    S – Sanders – Sr.
    C – Parrish – Sr.
    C – McGraw – Jr.
    Star/Nickel – Wilkerson – Sr & Roundtree – Jr

    That’s a nasty bunch right there, and we’re counting on 8-9 of those guys to contribute in a major way RIGHT NOW. What we’re seeing is Grantham’s poor recruiting and the fallout of Tray and Wiggins getting kicked off the team.

    Everyone is frustrated, but we started building this thing from the ground up almost 2 years ago because of the knuckleheads we had on the team and the staff/program overhaul. As unhappy as we all are, Richt made changes because of what he saw. I don’t think it’s wise to jump ship on that. While everyone else thought Pruitt would stay 3 years and go find a HC job, I don’t think he ever saw it that way. I think he saw it as a major rebuilding job and he wanted to prove that he could do it.

    The four years before Pruitt’s first season in Tallahassee (2010-1013) FSU averaged from rivals/ESPN an avg Recruiting class rank of 5.75, but the 2011 class was consensus 1 or 2. Those guys were juniors when he showed up. Those same four years UGA averaged 9.75. Lo and behold, we finished 10th in 2014.

    In the last three years (2014-2016) since Pruitt’s arrival, our average ranking is 8.16, and 2016 isn’t over yet. We’re likely to finish in the top 5-6, which would be one of our best classes ever, and we just might finish in the top 2-3. Everyone wants to say, “UGA always has the talent.” Well, that’s not entirely true. If you really look at recruiting, we’ve got top 10-15 talent, which is where we’re landing. FSU, OSU, LSU and Bama are reeling in top class after top class. Pruitt is trying to upgrade talent. Been a long, long time since we’ve had guys like Trent Thompson on campus, and those are the dudes that dominate games and change programs. I think I’d like to stick with these guys and see what they can do.


    • DawgPhan

      the recruiting stuff is weird.

      top 10 recruiting rankings seem “good enough” for some, but then 10 win season is seen as wandering aimlessly.

      If you dont do championship prep work, you dont get championship results.


    • Richt’s 2017 is shaping up to be like Donnan’s 2000.


  11. D as in Dawg

    I have to say the Senator is fair with his analysis, especially when compared to what goes on over at DawgSports. You will never read a larger collection of Richt Homerism as you will on that site. They wouldn’t call for a coaching change if CMR started wearing GT clothes, got a UF tattoo, and rode around on a bright urnge motorcycle.


  12. Maybe it’s because no one talks about good communication, but I feel like every season there’s talk of miscommunication on the defense as a reason for some of the poor play. This feels like it’s been happening for, well, a few DCs now.


  13. Turd Ferguson

    2017’s our year!


  14. Merk

    What happened to our 3 NFL caliber pass rushers? Literally the only game they seemed to play worth a crap was vs Vandy. Otherwise, it seems like they are non-existent. Don’t tell me “holding,” because we have seen that same crap for the last ever, so its nothing new.


  15. Bright Idea

    If you watched the UT game live and in person yes tackling was terrible but their formations, shifts and motion had the defense totally bumfuzzeled.


    • Macallanlover

      I think it is self-inflicted. Remember how our guys didn’t look confused last season under Pruitt in year one? well, they look more like Grantham’s guys now. It is we who are “in motion” now and I think it is because Pruitt feels comfortable enough to attempt to confuse QBs with a last second shift. Problem is, looks to me, it is UGA who gets caught in no man’s land when the ball is snapped and someone is out of position.

      The most obvious example was last week when we had an LB up on the line faking a blitz and then couldn’t get back in coverage deep enough when a wide open receiver caught a critical pass. Now that doesn’t happen every time but look at the number of players who look dazed and confused just prior to the snap versus last year. Just an opinion, Pruitt may be getting too cute for our talent/experience level. I notice that both Bama and LSU get their players set and stay there during the check down, then bring their stunts and blitzes at the snap.

      This, plus moving players around to many different positions, seems to be an experiment that needs to stop. Our defensive play, rush defense excepted, has been horrible. We are everybody’s punching bag in this area, and it started with ULM’s RS freshman QB.


  16. ApalachDawg

    Mizzou’s defense is 2nd only to Bama. Their D avg ppgame for SEC games is (14.66).

    Unless our D (our current SEC avg ppgame is (27.5)) holds them to under their season avg ppgame on O (all opponents is 18.33 and SEC opponents is 19.33), our losing streak may increase to 3.

    Our O avg SEC ppgame is (31). Throw out Carolina and it is (24).

    I don’t think that we will have a 34-0 blow out this year.


    • Nate Dawg

      Hold on now – they’ve played Kentucky, Sakerlina & fla…and they lost to Kentucky, the best of those offenses.
      And don’t go throwin out our results vs sakerlina cuz HBC or no..they are still a conf foe. And one we’ve both already played at that.
      I’m not sayin we win, it won’t really surprise me if we don’t …but don’t go settin your hair ablaze just yet…


      • Nate Dawg

        Oh yeah, my bad, they lost to fla too after mustering up a whopping 3 pts on offense…at home.
        So your sayin there’s a chance…


        • ApalachDawg

          My coping mechanism is to get lost in the numbers so I don’t have to think about the what might have been for the 10000000th time…
          Just give it to me straight…


  17. Bulldog Joe

    Defense needs on-field leadership from the guys who have been here longer than a year. Quincy Mauger or Dominick Sanders needs to be that Damian Swann for the defensive backfield.

    In the front seven, Sterling Bailey, Leonard Floyd, Jordan Jenkins, or Tim Kimbrough needs to be that guy.

    It took Shawn Williams (and others) to shake the defense out of its self-inflicted funk in 2012. After all the suspensions and lackluster play, someone on the field had to direct traffic and make the others accountable in the heat of battle.

    It can’t be done from the sideline.


  18. Will Trane

    Two losses.
    Last year we did not play Bama. Can not gift wrap TDs to a Saban team.
    This year UT is a much better team than last year when we played them.
    So would wait before killing the defense.
    The roster management is on the offense. How did the QB and wideout / receiver issue get this way. Think other than Mitchell those receivers are the caliber of Conley and Bennett, blocking and receiving. Reasons we can not get to the edge. Other is the OC has not figured out how to do it. Run inside and hope the opposing D does not have all the gaps closed and stacked with 7-8 players. Plus you only use one RB until he is injured. But that RB generally gets to rest for awhile…3 and out…that is the UGA formation this year.
    This is CMR’s roster issue…he does not coach up and play as many players as he should over the course of a season. I nobody can explain spring and August. 3 QBs all equal and in the hunt…until now. What that meant was I an not sure I have a SEC QB but I will wait and see how it goes into the fall.
    Players drop sure fire catches when they only see the freaking ball once in blue moon or they do not run their routes because, well heck, waiting on the QB who holds the ball.
    But I will give CMR credit for the practice rep he gave his defense at UT…all 90 of them. If I am on defense somebody is going to get an earful this week.