The bandwagon for the Georgia football team sure is crowded, no? After watching the Bulldogs dismantle Clemson in the 2nd half of Saturday’s game in Sanford Stadium, Georgia quickly became everyone’s pick to win the SEC and compete in the College Football Playoff.
Between Jeremy Pruitt getting credit for his halftime adjustments that held Clemson to only one first down in the second half, Todd Gurley getting praised as the best player in the country and Heisman Trophy frontrunner, and freshman Nic Chubb being touted as the next Herschel Walker, it’s hard to keep up with all the impressive press clippings the Dawgs are receiving this week.
But defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt said it best in one of his meetings (reported by Gentry Estes of 247Sports) with the media yesterday when he said “All we’ve done is guarantee that we can go 1-11.”
It’s a theme I’ve noticed from all the Georgia coaches over the past couple days and it sounds like this staff is refusing to let this team get too excited about the future. They’re making it clear that there is still a tremendous amount of work to be done.
Now is the perfect time for the coaching staff to be critical of the players and their performance, and hopefully it’s a message that’s resonating with the team.
Coach Pruitt has talked about his frustration with the defense’s poor performance in the first half. Mike Bobo isn’t happy with the passing game and knows the Dawgs will need to be much more effective in that area of the offense in order to be successful.
And Mark Richt has been very consistent with his message that the win over Clemson was just one game, and it really doesn’t mean anything if UGA can’t follow it up with another strong performance.
With all the talk outside the program right now being so positive and optimistic, the responsibility falls on the coaches to bring the players back down to earth.
It may be nice to hear Kirk Herbstreit saying UGA looks like the best team in college football after week one, but to go back to Pruitt’s quote, it only means Georgia could now go 1-11.
The bye week this weekend also gives the coaching staff extra time to break down film and correct issues from the season opener. I have no doubt they’ve been able to use the tape to find plenty of issues, which should operate as a teaching opportunity and some humble pie for the younger, inexperienced guys who might think they’ve had everything figured out after one big win.
I remember a young, but explosive Georgia team that opened the 2007 season with a big nonconference win at home over Oklahoma State. Unfortunately, they followed it up in the next game with a disappointing home loss to South Carolina, which likely cost the Dawgs a chance to potentially play for a national championship that year.
Let’s hope the same type of letdown doesn’t occur against South Carolina this season. A critical attitude from the coaches will go a long way in preventing such a thing from happening again.
Looking for more about UGA Football? Check out my post of 5 takeaways from the win over Clemson.