Reinvigorated Georgia defense matches up with Clemson better
It’s no secret what first-year defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt has brought to the Georgia program since his hiring in January.
“He’s brought in confidence, he’s brought in swag, he’s brought in confidence,” senior safety Corey Moore said.
Pruitt has three national championships as a college coach, two as a defensive assistant to Nick Saban and Kirby Smart at Alabama and last season’s title leading the Florida State defense.
HIs transformation goes beyond off-the-field characteristics. Pruitt, a defensive wizard as a high school coach in Alabama, then at Alabama and Florida State, has slimmed down a Bulldog defense that is better-equipped to handle the up-tempo Clemson offense.
“Judging from what I’ve seen as far as the transformation on our team alone, everyone is moving a lot quicker, a lot faster, being able to stay out for longer periods of time, being able to endure,” defensive lineman Ray Drew told the Athens-Banner Herald.
Though the skill position for the Tigers will look different than the Tiger team that downed the Bulldogs 38-35 in Clemson last season, head coach Mark Richt expects the Tigers “to go as fast as they can go.”
The 2013 Clemson offense averaged 507.7 yards per game and 40.2 points per game. Comparing the Tigers’ success against Georgia against their lack of offensive success against Pruitt’s Florida State team last year, Clemson ran 10 less plays against the Bulldogs but totaled 141 more yards of total offense.
Expect the Bulldog defense to last longer and be more well-conditioned Saturday against a Tiger offense that ran an average of 80 plays per game in 2013.
“I guess you might be able to see us last a lot longer without being tired and grasping for breath, bending over,” linebacker Jordan Jenkins told the Banner-Herald.
Multiple players have dropped weight, are faster and are getting off blocks quicker. This will come in handy for the ‘Dawgs when substitutions may not be able to be made because of pace.
“We’re sustaining at practice much better. We’re competing. We’re chasing the ball better,” Pruitt told reporters earlier this fall.
Pruitt runs a hybrid 4-3 with 3-4 tendencies that causes confusion for the opposing offense.
“He can simplify things and yet make it complicated for the offense at the same time,” ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit said in an interview recently. “I think it’s a tough matchup for Clemson personally.”