Pruitt not one to brag on his defense that ‘has a long ways to go’

Georgia defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt isn’t one to toss bouquets the way of the players he’s trying to mold into a championship unit.

He was asked after Tuesday’s practice if there’s a position group that’s in good shape and responded: “I’m thinking tailback.”

That followed along the lines of his halftime on-air interview at the G-Day game when he was asked if anyone is standing out: “That quarterback on the other team is,” Pruitt said.

There are some players that have stood out this spring. Just don’t expect Pruitt to publicly brag on any after only 14 spring practices.

Georgia gave out individual spring awards at a banquet last Thursday, as is the tradition.

“I didn’t want to give any awards,” Pruitt said, “but that’s what they’ve been doing here at Georgia, so that’s what we did.”

Linebacker Ramik Wilson and nickel back J.J. Green were among those honored but Pruitt, hired in January after leading Florida State’s defense to the national title, said he didn’t see anybody that particularly stuck out among the 50 or so players he had this spring.

He said he didn’t want it to be like T-ball, where everybody gets a trophy.

“To me, those awards are spring awards,” Pruitt said. “Those two guys may end up being starters, leaders or whatever, or they may not play. That will up to them between now and what happens in fall camp.”

Pruitt said the upperclassmen have “a ways to go” in showing leadership.

“We need more out of them,” he said. “Every one of them is very capable. We’ve got to be able to do it on a consistent basis and that’s a challenge that we’ve made to them daily.”

Pruitt coaches the secondary, where senior Damian Swann has remained with the starting group, but walk-on cornerback Aaron Davis and walk-on safety Lucas Redd started on G-Day and were again with the first group on Tuesday.

There were 578 passing yards combined against the defense in the G-Day game, the third of three spring scrimmage.

“It’s been like every practice,” Pruitt said. “There’s some good in it, there’s some bad and a lot of it we control whether we’re lined up right, playing the right techniques, got our eyes lined up in the right spots. Every mistake that we made we can fix but we’ve got a long ways to go. We’ve got be a little bit more consistent.”

Pruitt said Davis, who had an interception at G-Day, is a legitimate candidate to start for him.

“He’s a guy who has went out there and competed consistently throughout the spring and has showed that over the course of time that he tries to do it the way we want him to do it over and over,” Pruit said.

Pruitt wants to see more of his players on defense show those traits.

So far, he’s not seeing it. Or at least not saying he’s seeing it.

Let Kevin Sherrer, who coaches the SAM linebackers and star nickel back, say outside linebacker Leonard Floyd “is doing well.” Or defensive line coach Tracy Rocker say that Mike Thornton did well on G-Day and Josh Dawson and James DeLoach “you can see them getting better at it.”

Pruitt will offer this on his whole defense: “We’ve made some progress. Are we where we want to be? No. We’re nowhere close to where we want to be. We’ve still got a long ways to go and to me that’s the good news because we can get a whole lot better. We can play with a lot more consistency, we can play with a little bit more mental toughness, we can play with more effort and we can play with more attention to detail. We’ve still got a long ways to go in all those regards.”

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