published Monday, March 10th, 2014

Georgia tweaking football practice format

Not all Georgia football practice periods will be created equal anymore.

For the first time in his 14 seasons as Bulldogs coach, Mark Richt will no longer have just five-minute segments throughout the workouts. Some periods will be seven or eight minutes and others as short as three, but he stresses that the "main ingredients" that need to get accomplished will be just fine.

"There are some really good ideas that are going to be different," Richt said last week at a media gathering in Athens, "but when you have change, I think that adds excitement to what's going on and a little energy maybe. Certainly our players -- especially those on defense -- know that every job is wide open, and they've got to prove to their position coach and coordinator that they should be the guy to be a starter."

Richt asked offensive coordinator Mike Bobo and new defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt to meet and discuss Georgia's practice schedules of the last several years. Once the two coordinators had talked, they presented some changes to their boss.

Pruitt's last two coaching destinations, Alabama under Nick Saban and Florida State under Jimbo Fisher, have combined to win the past three national championships.

"Change doesn't necessarily mean that something needs to be fixed," Richt said. "It's just a different way of doing things. Jeremy has been at a couple of places where the practices are structured just a little bit different as far as the time frame of certain drills.

"If your assistant coaches have some ownership in some of these decisions, I think they tend to sell it more, and they're more excited about starting out in the spring."

Georgia is scheduled to begin spring practice on March 18, with the university on spring break this week. Coaches are hoping this time off doesn't negate some of the inroads that were made during winter workouts.

"We're trying to get some of our bigger guys down," Pruitt said last week. "Personally we feel like everybody is a little heavy. We would like to be a little faster, and that's just our preference.

"We're trying to slim up just a little, including the coaching staff."

Contact David Paschall at dpaschall@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6524.

about David Paschall...

David Paschall is a sports writer for the Times Free Press. He started at the Chattanooga Free Press in 1990 and was part of the Times Free Press when the paper started in 1999. David covers University of Georgia football, as well as SEC football recruiting, SEC basketball, Chattanooga Lookouts baseball and other sports stories. He is a Chattanooga native and graduate of the Baylor School and Auburn University. David has received numerous honors for ...

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