I’m always more of a “let’s see what happens” guy when it comes to coaches. I know a good bit about football, but I don’t know as much as Mark Richt and Todd Grantham and Mike Bobo (and apparently all of the commenters who know more about football than those guys) – so, if the Head Man believes in a coach, I trust him. Doing so has enabled me to enjoy many years of Georgia Football without stressing about each detail.
That being said, it makes me happy that we’ll have a new attitude on Georgia’s defense. I don’t buy into the “they don’t want it” or “they’re not hungry” – but I do buy into “They’re confused as hell.” So, if Pruitt can make the concepts simpler, they’ll be more effective, and we’ll see better performance.
Here’s what I’ve learned in a quick study on Pruitt –
He ran Alabama’s defensive backs in 2010-2013. What I noticed about this time period:
In 2010, 18 out of AL’s 22 INTs were by DBs. In 2011, 9 out of AL’s 13 INTs were by DBs. In 2012, 15 out of AL’s 18 INTs were by DBs.
Where it matters most right now is with recruits who are on the fence between Georgia and at least one other school. Pruitt is the type of hire that draws attention and sways recruits, though maybe not every last one, into planting both feet firmly on his side of the border. Richt brought the former Middle Tennessee and Alabama defensive back on board as much for his passionate and relentless ability to recruit as anything else.
Let’s not overlook what a hire of this magnitude does for the fan base. Coming off a five-loss season and with record-breaking quarterback Aaron Murray moving on, some kind of spark was needed to energize a program that, at least in the near-term, seemed to be in danger of becoming little more than an afterthought in the SEC East. While Pruitt is not in a position to develop the next Murray — though he may find him — he gets people excited about the Bulldogs brand at what would have been a down period in the aftermath of a defeat in a middling bowl.
I wonder if Pruitt’s culinary experiences have broadened since this video was made?
There’s not much separating Georgia, South Carolina and Missouri in the East next year. A slight pre-spring edge goes to the Bulldogs, but a strong case can be made for South Carolina or Missouri. New quarterback Hutson Mason was able to make two starts at the end of 2013 due to Aaron Murray’s season-ending knee injury, and the senior will be surrounded by one of the top supporting casts in the SEC. Running back Todd Gurley is back, while receiver Malcolm Mitchell and running back Keith Marshall return from knee injuries. Replacing three starters is arguably Georgia’s biggest concern on offense next year. With eight new starters, the defense was expected to struggle in 2013. The Bulldogs ranked eighth in the SEC in yards allowed and gave up 29 points per game. But this unit should show significant improvement next year, as Jeremy Pruitt has been hired away from Florida State to coordinate the defense and there’s a ton of talent returning. The linebacker duo of Jordan Jenkins and Leonard Floyd should be among the best in the nation.
Both coaches were well thought of and I thought both did a good job last season, so more power to them if they want to move on. Really, this does present Pruitt with what I would think any incoming coordinator would prefer, a chance to populate his staff with the guys of his choosing. (As an aside, Pruitt will be the first defensive coordinator under Richt who wasn’t asked to keep Rodney Garner on staff when he came on board.) And there are already rumors swirling that Pruitt’s closing in on his first hire.
There’s no reason to think Pruitt’s new team won’t be in place before spring practice, so the bigger short term concern is whether Georgia has enough bodies on the recruiting trail to finish things out in the three weeks leading up to signing day. Luckily, there aren’t that many targets left on Georgia’s board to chase.
Missouri won by playing good enough defense, but in the end, they were only in two one possession games all season: The loss to South Carolina, where they were +2 in TOs; and the win over Texas A&M where they were +1 in turnovers.
South Carolina was on the top of the turnover luck list, too. They were in four one possession games, and were 3-1 in them. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that they were -2 in that game against Tennessee.
Georgia was near the bottom, but nearly all on the strength (weakness?) of the Missouri game. We finished the year at -7 on TO margin, which put us at 101st in the nation. But we were -4 against Missouri. Just have our normal -1 and we are 20 places better.
In its letter disassociating him from the program Alabama instructed Al-betar as follows,“You should refrain from obtaining any items of memorabilia from our student-athletes, including used equipment and apparel. You should also refrain from obtaining autographs from our student-athletes when they are in your store.”
Despite Alabama’s hectoring letter, Al-betar didn’t just “refrain from obtaining any items of memorabilia from our student-athletes,” he opened a memorabilia store designed to sell these objects!