Many Georgia football fans were excited and relieved to see former defensive coordinator Todd Grantham move on to accept the same position at the University of Louisville this offseason.
The mood went from nervous excitement to utter jubilation when it was announced that Grantham’s replacement would be former Florida State defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt. Considered by many college football experts as a rising star among assistant coaches and an outstanding recruiter with strong ties throughout the Southeast, Pruitt has already been touted as a home-run hire for Mark Richt and the Georgia football program.
From everything I’ve read about the team and the changes the new defensive staff is making, there has been an attitude adjustment on the defensive side of the ball, which appeared to be necessary.
Josh Harvey-Clemons and Tray Matthews, who at one time were considered to be future stars for the Georgia secondary, are no longer at the university after multiple off-field issues. Those two can be quite proud of their legacy as Bulldogs, with the most notable play being a botched deflection that resulted in a miracle touchdown for Auburn that helped send the Tigers to the BCS Championship game. Well done, boys.
Along with them, cornerback Shaq Wiggins also decided to continue his career elsewhere, joining Todd Grantham at Louisville.
Though the Dawgs secondary will be young and relatively inexperienced, Jeremy Pruitt’s background is in coaching secondaries, and it’s hard to believe he won’t be able to make immediate adjustments that helps prevent the team from being susceptible to so many big plays.
In watching this recent hype video from Saturday Down South (which is fantastic), I was struck by how many highlights involved players burning various UGA defensive backs.
Hopefully we’ll continue to see the emergence of guys like Ray Drew, Sterling Bailey on the line, and if the Dawgs can find a consistent answer at the nose tackle position, this becomes a very formidable group at all three levels.
The talent is certainly there for UGA to have better numbers than what we saw last season.
And for the first time in a while, I’m optimistic that Georgia has a defensive coordinator who knows how to maximize the talent he has on a roster.