Georgia defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt knew what to expect when it came to Alabama’s route concepts. Even in Alabama offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin’s second season with the program, the basics have remained the same since head coach Nick Saban took over in 2007.
But as Saturday’s 38-10 drubbing played out, in the first half especially, the Georgia defensive backs had issues matching Alabama’s receivers on the field. This led to completions of 45 and 50 yards from Jake Coker to Calvin Ridley, and a lot of free receivers throughout the first two quarters.
“One thing we’ve done since I’ve been here is we don’t let a whole lot of guys run open,” Pruitt said. “We’ve kept people covered up pretty good since I’ve been here. And they created some issues for us, you’ve got to give them credit with what they did. We got to do a better job coaching it up.”
Georgia safety Quincy Mauger said the secondary spent Sunday and Monday working on correcting the issues that went wrong during the game.
“As far as making corrections on mental errors, we went over it in the film room,” Mauger said. “We ran over the plays, made corrections and took it upon ourselves to go on the field and line up in the formations we made mistakes in.”
Moving forward, attention will turn to not allowing teams to have that kind of success in the passing game. It’s one thing for a quarterback to find a receiver in traffic, or for a receiver to win a one-on-one matchup against defensive back.
But Alabama’s run-pass option plays, combined with some play-action, gave Georgia a lot to think about, which created some open receivers.
“It’s something they’ve been doing there for a long time,” Pruitt said. “Anybody successful running the football like them that they are, you have to find ways to push the ball down the field. They did a good job matching. You get single-high coverage, trying to stop the run. You gotta be able to match the patterns. We didn’t do a good job with it.”
Heading into this week’s game against Tennessee, making sure the secondary is sound on its keys will be important, given the fact the Volunteers will likely try and emulate some of those plays Alabama had success with.
“We have to keep our heads straight,” safety Dominick Sanders said. “We can’t worry about the past. We took a loss but we’ll keep our eyes open to the next opponent. Worrying about the next opponent will be key.”