The University of Georgia athletics department stormed in to Athens with an announcement as their football team readied to take the field for practice. The football program will employ the services of Tracy Rocker as their defensive line coach. Rocker, a childhood “Dawg” fan, is eager to join the “Bulldog Nation.” He Stated that he was very familiar with the program and its history, and proclaimed himself excited to be a part. He mentioned remembering watching the 1980 national championship win when he was younger.
Rocker spent his last season in the NFL as the defensive line coach of the Tennessee Titans. Prior to his stint in Nashville, Rocker coached for a total of nine years at three different Southeastern Conference schools from 2001-2010. These schools included Arkansas, Mississippi and Rocker’s Alma Mater, and Georgia rival, Auburn University. Rocker’s craft has always been building defensive linemen to play at the top of their game.
The Dawgs finished 8-5 last year in what was characterized as a year with national championship hopes that were sullied. The combination of a myriad of serious injuries and hard luck defeats were responsible for tarnishing the glimmer of a season that had a lot of promise. The Bulldog defense was porous and was one of the worst defenses statistically in the Southeastern Conference. Many enthusiasts of Georgia Football called for the termination of the incumbent defensive coordinator, Todd Grantham. The field was stormed by the red and black when news of Grantham’s departure emerged. Grantham, a former NFL defensive coach with the Dallas Cowboys, vacated his position to join the University of Louisville Cardinals as their defensive coordinator. Several other Bulldog assistant coaches left Athens as well.
Enter Jeremy Pruitt, the defensive coordinator of the national champion Florida State Seminoles. Pruitt, the architect of one of the best defensive units in the country, left to join an ailing Bulldog team. The Jeremy Pruitt hire took Georgia by storm and provided promise of a vicious and talented unit taking the field in September. Both Pruitt and Rocker are talented recruiters, the results of which have already been experienced. The Bulldogs recently landed two “Four-Star” defensive linemen recruits. Add this in to what figures to be one of Georgia’s best recruiting classes ever, and suddenly the reeling Dawgs have gained a glamorous appeal yet again. The one-two punch of Rocker and Pruitt, with a young yet experienced defense, could be the recipe for a Bulldog team that will be dangerous on both sides of the football.
In 2013, the Georgia Bulldogs sported one of the most prolific offenses in the country. Lead by Senior Quarterback Aaron Murray, who is the all-time leader in the SEC in career passing yards and touchdowns, and coached by a virtuoso coordinator in Mike Bobo, the Dawgs scored at will. The Bulldogs also featured a tandem of running backs in Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall. The two were called “Gurshall” to pay homage to Bulldog great, Herschel Walker. In spite of all of this, Marshall, along with star receivers Malcolm Mitchell and Justin Scott-Wesley, went down with season ending injuries.
Now it is 2014, and a new team storms the field for Georgia. Under the administration of Rocker and Pruitt, the Bulldog defense may very well be the best in the country. Add this to an offense that returns eight of its eleven starters, including all of its skill players, and this could be the groundwork for a storied season and national title run for the Bulldog Nation.
By Keith Fuchs