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Insider

Inside Access notebook: Georgia, Kansas State, Michigan State & ECU

Each week, Adam Rittenberg takes you inside coaches' conversations in Inside AccessInsider -- but we can't fit everything everyone said in one place. So here are some nuggets that didn't fit in the column, but are too good to be ignored. In today's notebook: What's the secret to Georgia's improved defense? How does Bill Snyder get Kansas State to play penalty-free football? Why are Michigan State's QBs so successful? And what are ECU's odds of making a New Year's Six bowl game?

I didn’t include first-year Georgia defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt in last week’s list of top coaching hires, but he certainly belongs. After a season in which defensive deficiencies, particularly in the secondary, cost the Bulldogs games, Pruitt has the Dawgs' D back on track.

Pruitt’s experience working with defensive backs has propelled the upgrade. Georgia is allowing fewer completions of 10 yards or more (41.6 percent) than it did last fall (49.8 percent). It has 10 interceptions and 17 total takeaways, and leads the nation in turnover margin (plus-13).

“We have worked very hard,” Bulldogs coach Mark Richt told Inside Access, “on creating turnovers.”

The Bulldogs are the only FBS team not to have allowed a pass play of more than 40 yards this season. They also rank 14th nationally in third-down conversions (30.6 percent).

Pruitt not only has improved the technique of the defensive backs, but he calls plays with them in mind.