Jeremy Pruitt’s defense has been a point of strength for this Georgia Bulldogs team. Though young, his defense gives the Dawgs the best chance at 10 wins in 2015.
It has not been the greatest year of Georgia Bulldogs football in the slightest. The teams’ best player, sophomore RB Nick Chubb, went down on October 10th to a season-ending knee injury at Neyland Stadium versus the Tennessee Volunteers. The starting quarterback competition between Greyson Lambert, Brice Ramsey, and Faton Bauta never really brought out the best in any of the UGA scholarship quarterbacks. Special teams have been inconsistent to say the least.
Yet, the Georgia Bulldogs find themselves at 8-3 (5-3) with a great opportunity to achieve back-to-back 10 win seasons. Given all the turmoil and scrutiny the program has been under, this is a fantastic consolation prize of a goal for 2015.
Georgia needs to win Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate down on the Flats in Atlanta next week and their upcoming bowl game to get to 10 wins. The biggest reason UGA has the luxury to still win 10 games in 2015 is because of the remarkable job DC Jeremy Pruitt and his staff are doing. When Georgia wins, much of that has to do with the play of their young defense.
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Jeremy Pruitt is in his second season as Defensive Coordinator of the Georgia Bulldogs, after leaving BCS National Champion Florida State in 2013. Though Pruitt inherited a strong and experienced LB corps starting the season, the defensive line lost many seniors and the secondary was largely composed of underclassmen. After Georgia’s 23-17 overtime victory over in-state foe Georgia Southern, the Georgia Bulldogs are 13th in the nation in defense, allowing only 17.8 points per game.
Though the three losses to Alabama, Tennessee, and Florida were painful as are all UGA losses, if we were to look at the Georgia Bulldogs’ defense under Jeremy Pruitt in the Dawgs’ eight wins this season, we will find that the young, but talented defense has allowed an outstanding 8.45 points per game. The most points any team has put up on Georgia in a Dawgs’ victory was 20 by virtue of the Vanderbilt Commodores in Nashville back in Week 2.
While Jeremy Pruitt has his roots in the secondary, his UGA defense held the then 7-2 Georgia Southern Eagles’ triple option rushing attack to only 233 yards on the ground Saturday night. Considering that Georgia Southern averaged 378 yards on the ground before facing UGA, that’s outstanding.
Holding a triple option offense to under 300 yards rushing is an incredibly difficult task in its own right. Jeremy Pruitt’s defense for the most part did a swell job containing the outside sweeps and setting the edge. Expect the Georgia Bulldogs to do more of the same versus Georgia Tech on Saturday.
What I’ve liked the most about the Jeremy Pruitt Era of the UGA defense is that the unit more often than not plays cohesively. We rarely see the secondary blow coverages or the linebackers not wrap up when making tackles. The pass rush is still as strong as ever and the back seven do a great job of forcing turnovers with their innate ballhawking tendencies.
Jeremy Pruitt has brought with him to Athens is a blueprint of what an SEC Championship defense looks like. He’s done surprisingly well with very few of his own guys that he’s personally recruited. While his coaching style is a bit unfamiliar to what we’ve grown accustomed to in Athens, I’d love to see what Jeremy Pruitt can do with another recruiting class or two.
Should Georgia continue to build that secondary and have a few pieces click on the defensive line, assuming the offense gets it together, then Georgia could contend for SEC Championships with Pruitt leading its defensive staff. He’s the reason UGA can still win 10 games in 2015. Go Dawgs!