COLUMBUS -- In the past three months, Georgias defense has parted ways with three players.
Safety Josh Harvey-Clemons was the first to go, dismissed in February for multiple violations of team rules. He promptly transferred to Louisville, reuniting with former Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham. Linebacker Paris Bostick was next, announcing in April that he would depart Athens in search of more playing time. Finally, there was cornerback Shaq Wiggins earlier this month. Like Bostick, Wiggins decided to start his career anew and transfer out of the program.
None of it has fazed Jeremy Pruitt. To him, its simply the way college football works.
Theres attrition on every team all over the country every year. It would probably be harder to find one where (theres) not attrition than one that is, the Bulldogs defensive coordinator said Wednesday, prior to taking part in a UGA Day event in Columbus. So thats common in college football. A lot of guys come in, and they have high expectations, and whether its academics or something off the field or coaching changes or things like that, youve got 85 guys on a team, and its hard to keep 85 guys happy. All coaches, the guys that we recruit and the guys that are on our team, we want to keep them on. We want to help them get what they want. But sometimes it dont happen that way.
Instead, Pruitt said, the Bulldogs will work with what they have. And with summer workouts on tap, he already has a vision for what his unit will look like when it reports for fall camp.
We want to be a little twitchier on the defensive front, which is maybe a little bit different than the things were in the past. We have plenty of size. We need a little more twitch, Pruitt said. We want to trim up a little bit at linebacker so we can play all three downs. And in the secondary, all those guys are built a little different, so (director of strength and conditioning) Coach T (Joe Tereshinski) sat down and hes got an individual plan for all of them. Weve got a plan. And the kids, were going to help them execute it during the summer.
And in a change from the past, Pruitt will be able to have contact with his players during the summer. Coaches can now interact with their players eight hours per week, with two of those hours spent studying film. With this being the first year of the rules implementation, Pruitt said he has talked with coaches from other schools during recruiting trips this spring, trying to figure out how to maximize this new time.
But Pruitt remained steadfast in one respect. Seniority means nothing.
We played six true freshmen in the two-deep last year (at Florida State), so were going to play the best players, he said. And what they can comprehend, what they can get to know or figure out in our system, thats what well do. We wont do something they cant do. But were going to make sure we get the best players on the field.
Many of the same players he wasnt pleased with just one month ago will be back for the fall. When the Bulldogs handed out spring awards in April, Pruitt wasnt enthused. If hed been in charge, no one would have received anything.
Pruitts tone was a bit softer Wednesday.
Those words arent in his vocabulary.
As long as youve got effort and attitude, you can overcome a lot of things. And thats the big thing were going to focus on this summer: effort and attitude, Pruitt said. If you lack the skill set or anything like that but youve got good effort and good attitude, youve got a chance to overcome it. If you aint got that, youre in trouble.