Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Around the tailgate - Pruitt's defense

You can find Monday and Tuesday's Around the tailgate posts here (off season headlines) and here (the Hutson Mason era). Today we talk about the defense.

With all the defensive attrition in the secondary, how worried are you about how our defense will shape up this August?

The secondary is the only position I am worried about.  I expect us to be better on the defensive line and we have the best group of linebackers in the country.  The front being so good, should alleviate some of the pressure on the secondary, but we are going to have to have some young guys step up.  I had rather have players eager to learn, and willing to do the work, than players with entitlement issues.  

Joe Waterloo
I'm not sure worried is a strong enough word.  With our secondary so thin I think our only hope is to have our front seven put serious pressure on the QB.  Our linebackers are as good as any in the league if not the country, but it seems like our defense has lacked creativity since Van G left.  Pruitt is supposed to be a master at it, so I'm going in with high hopes, but that little voice in the back of my head can't help but keep saying "Uh Oh!"

Defense has been the "worry" coming in to each of the last several seasons it seems.  We have plenty of weapons on offense, but you never really knew what was going to happen on the other side of the ball.  The young players in the secondary did have some flashes this past season, but with many of them going the way of the wind (or Louisville or Auburn), we will again have to work with untested players.  The biggest wild card in this equation is how the addition of Jeremy Pruitt as our DC.  I am ever hopeful that his success at Florida State last year will help inspire our no-name defense to play above themselves.  But I am also wary that we might again need to count on our offense to out gun the teams we come up against...

Son of AHD
No one in their right mind would say that the sheer physical talent on our roster has improved after the departure of 3 members of our secondary. That being said, after the classroom implosion of Trey Matthews, there was a feeling that maybe the overall maturity of our defense had improved. JHC couldn't lay off the THC to remain eligible, and Shaq got his feelings hurt that Pruitt wouldn't let him be a clown during practice. While these players are great athletes, they displayed a lack of maturity that may have been a contributing factor in their inability to understand Grantham's god-awful defensive scheme. Pruitt has a lot of experience in coaching high school boys, but he expects his players to act like men (something Richt has preached for years). So the Bulldog nation has to show a little faith in Pruitt's ability to put the best players on the field and in a position to make a play. While I think that our defense is unlikely to destroy teams like in years past (at least until Pruitt has a few years of recruiting), I do believe that they will improve substantially over the unit last year and will no longer be a liability. 

Appreciate the honest opinions. Feel free to add your own Reader down below. And come back tomorrow when we talk about how the 2014 schedule shapes up.