UGA Football

Pittman earns trust of offensive linemen, which became most improved UGA unit

Georgia offensive line coach Sam Pittman.
Georgia offensive line coach Sam Pittman. Georgia Sports Communications

Sam Pittman isn't sure where it came from. But his usage of his phrase "yes sir" which sounds more like "yezzur" coming out of his mouth was something that caught on quite quickly after he began uttering it.

Pittman was lecturing his players on the value of sticking with something, even when the going gets tough. Given his personality combined with a Midwestern dialect, the phrase stuck and has been said often in the offensive line meeting room.

"I just told our guys sometimes you may not agree and sometimes you may not want to do something," Pittman said. "But a good ole 'yezzur' will get you by in life."

With the phrase and usage popular among the team, Pittman recorded a video of himself shaking some pom poms and saying "yezzur" after quarterback Justin Fields committed, at the request of a staffer. He did this even though, in his words, "made an even bigger fool out of myself." He's done the same with other recruits, including Jamaree Salyer and Cade Mays.

Speaking of recruiting, Pittman has been a force in this area for the Bulldogs. After landing only three offensive linemen on short notice in 2016, Pittman has helped sign 10 over the past two recruiting classes. Last season, the Bulldogs brought in Andrew Thomas, Isaiah Wilson, Justin Shaffer, Netori Johnson and D'Marcus Hayes. In addition to Salyer and Mays, the Bulldogs signed Trey Hill, Warren Ericson and Owen Condon in this year's class.

While Pittman is up to date with technology, he still has an old school approach to recruiting. Each day he'll hand-write letters to be mailed to prospects. Recruits and players alike have grown to like Pittman since he arrived at Georgia. While it took some time to adjust to a new coaching staff, Pittman helped bridge that gap with his unit.

"We definitely bought in this season," left tackle Isaiah Wynn said. "I mean, we definitely had to get used to the coaching staff, and I definitely believe everybody just did a good job of stepping up leadership-wise and pulling everybody along just enough to buy in and make sure that everybody's doing it the right way."

And the results have been evident. Georgia went from ninth in the SEC in rushing yards per game at 191.2 a year ago to first in the conference at 267.4 in this season. The offensive line had arguably its best game of the season in Monday's 54-48 double overtime win Oklahoma in the Rose Bowl as the Georgia running backs averaged 9.3 yards per carry.

Pittman said he started noticing the offensive line begin to click in the spring. A lot of it had to with a mentality change, Pittman said, as the linemen didn't want to go through another substandard season mired in criticism.

"I think we got everyone in the right position this year," Pittman said. "We got more competition this year. Last year, we just didn't have that. I think we have more athletic guys than we've had and the competition is pushing each other. We're not close to where we need to be yet though."

While it proved to be a tough start, Pittman eventually earned the faith of his players. With everyone on the same page, Georgia's offensive line has emerged as one of the better units in the entire country.

"To be a good O-line coach, the kids have to trust you," Pittman said. "I think it was hard for our guys because it was a revolving door a little bit at the position. So, yeah, it took a while. I think every coach wants trust. To get trust you have to be honest, you have to know what you're talking about. You have to communicate. You have to be able to talk to them. It took a little while but I think we're headed in the right direction."

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