A few quick tidbits, mostly from a story I’m working on for Saturday’s paper in advance of the T-Day Game, largely about the defense.
1. One thing I’ve heard Paul Johnson and Al Groh mention a few times just in the last week and a half is “situational awareness.” Basically, it’s knowing the down, distance, score, field position and other factors and adjusting play accordingly. An obvious example is a wide receiver running beyond the first-down marker on third down rather than pulling up just short of it to catch a pass.
I don’t doubt Johnson has coached it every other spring, but I’ve heard it a good bit.
“We’re in a one-minute drill, the defense gets a sack and the ball goes loose,” Johnson said last week. “They know the situation that’s on the board. (Evidently, in this situation, the defense’s team was leading.) There’s a minute, 30 (seconds), one timeout, they try to pick it up and score with it. Fall on it, the game’s over. Now, he did pick it up, but that’s a great teaching moment right there.”
2. Where Johnson was less than thrilled in his assessment of spring practice after 14 practices – “we got some things accomplished,” he said. Granted, no one will ever mistake Paul Johnson for Dick Vitale – Groh was not.
Said Groh, “We got about as much out of these 14 days so far as we could.”
3. If you’ve been paying attention, you’ve probably read something similar before, but outside linebacker Steven Sylvester feels much more confident in his understanding and ability to execute Groh’s defense. He said last year, players wanted to play fast but didn’t want to make mistakes.
“In the back of your mind, you’re thinking, ‘Do I have to be here or do I have to be here on this play?’ in the midst of the play going on,” he said. “Instead of focusing on the play, you’re trying to figure out your assignment. Now, being in the second year, it’s kind of like muscle memory. You’re just going.”
A good explanation, I thought.
4. I saw this on a couple other websites, but the Ramblin’ Wreck (Reck, if you will) has made it into EA Sports’ NCAA Football 12. They put out a promotional video for the game, which will go on sale in July. If you look at it closely, though, you’ll notice that the Wreck apparently comes out of the wrong tunnel (unless it’s circling back, I guess.)
There’s a few players (or at least characters in the game that bear an uncanny resemblance to actual players) in it – B-back Preston Lyons, A-back Orwin Smith, wide receiver Stephen Hill, offensive tackle Phil Smith and a fan wearing Julian Burnett’s jersey, as well as Uga and Georgia running back Washaun Ealey — in the ad. Lyons wasn’t terribly interested.
“I’m not a big gamer,” he said.