ATHENS -- There is a staple of preseason football that is as normal and as expected as the game itself. It’s something we hear from coaches and players alike, from the high school level to the NFL. If they were interviewed, flag football coaches likely would do it, as well.
Call them catch phrases -- words or lines that are used in every single camp. It is coach speak, and there must be some handbook passed around at coaching clinics and association meetings every offseason with all of this year’s lines. You can almost take one generic quote and insert the team and coach’s name and use it everywhere.
Tuesday was Media Day in Athens, and we heard a bit of that from people at the podium. But there was one interesting word that was prevalent. It is fairly obvious consistency is important for this year’s Georgia football team.
The word “consistency” was used by the three quarterbacks who are competing for the starting job, and the defensive coordinator used it several times.
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“The thing that we’re going to try and focus on is consistency -- doing it over and over again,” said Jeremy Pruitt, starting his second season as Georgia’s defensive coordinator. “There were some times last year that we played the way we wanted to play, but there were some times in the year we were kind of like a roller coaster. We’ve got to fix that. We want to focus on us. It’s about us, and I think we understand that, and it’s the way that you practice every day and prepare, and that’s our goal coming out of camp.”
Pruitt is right. How could Georgia look so dominant on defense shutting out Missouri 34-0 on the road last season, but then three weeks later, the defense couldn’t have stopped Florida if the players’ lives depended on it? And then how could it contain Auburn and then two weeks later not have a prayer at stopping Georgia Tech?
No matter who the quarterback is on offense, Pruitt’s defense must be better. He knows that. Pruitt is impressive, and even though he downplayed it, he has had an enormous impact on this program. While he tried to be humble, Pruitt acknowledged that when there are discussions in the room about coaching hires and things to make the Georgia program better, he admitted he “speaks my peace.”
Pruitt won’t have a say in who wins the quarterback job this month, but he’ll be watching like the rest of us. Brice Ramsey, Faton Bauta and Greyson Lambert will battle it out, and they know what they have to do to win the job.
“Consistency,” Ramsey said. “The quarterback’s got to be consistent. You can’t throw a touchdown on one play and run into a blitz on the next play. You’ve got to be able to manage the game all around.”
“Stay consistent with what I do every day,” Bauta said. “Wake up and try to be the best quarterback I can be. Just making sure I stay with that mindset all the time.”
“Just be consistent,” Lambert said. “The 11 on offense and the 11 on defense all have to be consistent in what they do and what they’re asked to do. That’s football -- consistent play down after down.”
Yes, they all three used that all important word.
Ramsey is the favorite. That’s the talk, at least. People expect him to have the best chance at winning the job. But Lambert seemed very confident. He’s the newcomer, in from Virginia to be a graduate student at Georgia. The Jesup native has a big body and has experience, but can he really just walk in and grab the starting job?
Forget about the talk that it doesn’t matter who the quarterback is for Georgia. All the quarterback has to do is to turn around and hand the ball off to Nick Chubb, right? Well, no. It’s a little more than that.
But whoever wins, it’ll likely be all about one thing.
See, there is that word again.
Listen to “The Bill Shanks Show” from 3-6 p.m. weekdays on WPLA Fox Sports 1670 AM in Macon and online at www.foxsports1670.com. Follow Bill at twitter.com/BillShanks and email him at email@example.com.