Pruitt preferred not to give out spring awards

semerson@macon.comApril 15, 2014 

THE TELEGRAPH

ATHENS - Georgia handed out its spring practice awards on Tuesday. So it figured that a good starting point for defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt's press session was to ask about a couple guys who had been honored.

Pruitt didn't quite play along.

"Well first of all 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."

Later Pruitt was asked whether there was a spot on defense he felt good about. Perhaps outside linebacker?

"I'm thinking tailback," Pruitt responded, not missing a beat.

Yes, Georgia's new defensive coordinator appears to be following the Bill Parcells playbook of breaking them down before he builds them back up. Assuming he eventually does the second part.

Pruitt inherited a defense that returns nine starters, and a number of others who have started a few games or played key snaps. But it's also a unit that gave up a program-record 377 points last year.

Before the spring, Pruitt said every player had a clean slate. But after three scrimmages and 14 practices - the final one is Thursday - Pruitt is claiming not to be very happy.

"We had 50 guys out there on defense who all tried to do the same stuff. I didn't see anybody that particularly stood out that much that deserved an award,"Pruitt said. "It's kind of like nowadays everybody's playing T-ball, you play T-ball everybody gets a trophy."

Getting Pruitt to praise one of his new players is tough. For instance when asked about cornerback Damian Swann, the only member of the secondary to stay first-team on the fluctuating depth chart this spring, Pruitt just pointed to Swann's experience. He praised Swann's knowledge and instincts, but added that the rising senior still has to compete every play and get in better shape.

But Pruitt did get positive. Asked about defensive end James DeLoach, Pruitt said the rising junior has "stuck out a little bit" thanks mostly to his energy. He also had nice things to say about cornerback Aaron Davis when asked if the walk-on has a legitimate chance to start.

"I would say yes. He's a guy who has gone out there and competed consistently throughout the spring and has showed over the course of time that he tries to do it the way we want to do it over and over," he said. "Is he ready? No, he's not ready, but he has a chance to be ready this fall."

Back to those spring awards. Pruitt was asked about Ramik Wilson being named the defensive MVP, and J.J. Green winning the hustle award.

"To me, those awards are spring awards," Pruitt said. "I mean those two guys may end up being starters, leaders or whatever, or they may not play. That'll be up to them until they end up in fall camp."

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