In this post about Georgia’s pass defense, William McFadden makes a point I hadn’t really considered.
Like nearly every defensive scheme, Georgia uses a mix of man and zone coverage. At Alabama, Smart often employed pattern-match coverages that relied on defensive players reading their opposing receivers and switching from zone or man coverage based on the route being run.
This is an advanced scheme, and the Bulldogs appeared to run more traditional coverages in 2016 but that could change this fall…
It’s easy to assume that since Pruitt and Smart are both products of the Saban coaching system, their approaches on defense are nearly identical. (Indeed, part of me wonders if subconsciously Smart and Tucker went into last season assuming there would be more of a carryover from that than there turned out to be in certain areas, like red zone defense.)
If, however, Smart’s intention is to run a more complicated coverage scheme than did Pruitt, it’s not unreasonable to expect growing pains. Will this be an area where the second-year effect has a noticeable impact?