Pruitt in your face as practice ramps up

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Pruitt in your face as practice ramps up

Jeremy Pruitt
Jeremy Pruitt

Maybe it’s because G-Day and the end of spring practice is drawing nearer but the pace of Tuesday afternoon’s drills on the UGA practice fields seemed to ratchet up to another gear as the Georgia coaches were in the faces of the Bulldog players, exhorting them to pay attention to details, go harder and eliminate the little mistakes they’re making.

With the outside linebackers, Coach Kevin Sherrer was demanding maximum effort as his charges practice proper footwork. And just as earlier reports documented, rising sophomore ‘backer Lorenzo Carter nearly looked like a man among boys at times. Indeed, No. 7 has packed on another 20 pounds since last season to his 6-foot-6 frame, putting him in the 240-plus category and undoubtedly bringing a few shivers to the opposing quarterbacks and running backs that will go against the Bulldog defense this coming autumn.

And just 25 yards or so away from the linebacker corps was Georgia defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt and his group of defensive backs. Bulldawg Nation, this guy is intense. If a player doesn’t do exactly what he’s taught to do, Pruitt will undress the guy verbally in front of the entire secondary.

“Quit hopping, No. 30,” screamed Pruitt. “Hurry up No. 14,” he said, addressing sophomore cornerback Malcolm Parrish.

And as the DB’s began an open-field tackling drill, crashing into their cohorts, Pruitt became even more animated.

He especially liked the hit Parrish put on a simulated offensive player as one could hear a loud popping of pads as the ex-Brooks County standout crashed into his opponent from an angle and lifted the guy off the ground.

But other efforts, Pruitt didn’t like so much. As the Dawgs worked on defending short out passes, Pruitt raced away from the group he was tutoring and ripped into a player from another group that he noticed giving less than exemplary effort. “You’re pussy-footing,” Pruitt yelled. “I don’t want to see no pussy-footing!” With still another who showed improper technique, he called the guy back to his starting spot and patiently demonstrated the correct way of doing things.

Assisting Pruitt with coaching up the defensive backs is former Georgia standout Kelin Johnson, now associate strength and conditioning specialist for the Bulldogs.

“Stay low, stay low,” urged Johnson as the players went through the tackling drill, which involved thudding instead of taking the player to the ground. “Drive through him, drive your feet on contact,” said Johnson. “Don’t be scared of contact!”

On the far side of the lower practice fields, the Georgia quarterbacks were throwing the ball through a pretty good wind as they worked on deep routes with the Bulldogs’ wide receivers. Just observing from a distance, I noticed a Faton Bauta deep throw get up into the wind and sail a good 10 yards beyond the reach of his intended receiver. Conversely, I also noticed that both Brice Ramsey and Jacob Park put their passes right on the money on deep outs to the left sidelines.

But more on the Georgia offense’s practice progress on Thursday as we drift over to that side of the field.

Indeed, April 11 G-Day is getting closer but before these Bulldogs think about that glorified scrimmage game when they’ll frolic before the usual 40,000-plus in Sanford Stadium, at the moment all they’re looking to is the second scrimmage of the spring, which is on tap for this Saturday morning in the stadium.

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Murray Poole is a 1965 graduate of the University of Georgia Journalism School. He served as sports editor of The Brunswick News for 40 years and has written for Bulldawg Illustrated the past 16 years. He has covered the Georgia Bulldogs for 53 years.