Consistency, Consistency, Consistency

ATHENS - The best players will play in Jeremy Pruitt's defense - it's that simple.

Following Georgia's finale of spring scrimmages over the weekend, the Dawgs had one practice on Tuesday and have one remaining on Thursday. It's only two practices, but Jeremy Pruitt and his fellow defensive staff have to give their players the right ideas before leaving them on their own until team practice resumes in the fall.

"It was good to go out there today and just try to correct some of the mistakes we made Saturday," Pruitt said.

While fans don't get to see practice, they do see G Day - a sign of what many of Georgia's practices have looked like over the duration of the spring.

"It's been like every practice. There's some good in it (and) there's some bad, and a lot of it we control," Pruitt said. "Every mistake we made we can fix, but we've got a long ways to go. We've got to be a little more consistent."

With a new staff, it's been a new look this spring - a new outlook if you will. Sure, it's always a battle out there, but it's a battle amongst teammates now. All these players are fighting for a job, and Pruitt is just one of the coaches to whom they must prove themselves worthy.

"The big thing is we just want to see who will go compete and play the next play," Pruitt said. "The way football goes, somebody's going to make a play whether it's the offense or the defense and once the play's over with, how do you respond?"

A few players have responded - some of them have even won awards. Inside linebacker Ramik Wilson was named the team's defensive MVP following its final spring scrimmage, while the Coffee County Hustle Award went to defensive back J.J. Green. Defensive back Aaron Davis also made a name for himself in the spring, and was named Georgia's Outstanding Walk-On. Do those awards win Pruitt over, though? Simply put, no.

"First of all, I didn't want to give any awards, but that's what they've been doing here at Georgia so that's what we did," Pruitt said. "To me, those awards are spring awards."

Pruitt was less throwing off on awards and more preaching the need for his players to ditch complacency.

"Those two guys (Wilson and Green) may end up being starters, leaders or whatever, (or) they may not even play," Pruitt said. "That will be up to them between now and what happens in fall camp."

Damian Swann is no newcomer. He knows the game, and Pruitt knows he does, too. However, even Swann isn't safe among this competition for playing time. Every day really is a new one.

"He's a very knowledgable young man," Pruitt said. "He can play really any position, but he's still got to learn to compete every play and get his body in shape enough to where he can go do that."

Some other players Pruitt listed as needing to get into better shape are…the entire defense.

"That's going to be the number one thing, I think, is that we're going to have to trim them all down and get them underweight," defensive line coach Tracy Rocker said. "This league is a lot of no-huddle. We can't be 330 pounds out there."

Whether it's dropping 20 or 30 pounds, defensive lineman or safety, players have to last into the final minutes of those late-November shootouts.

"We'll get that done, but it's also going to be up to them to do it, too," Rocker said. "We've got time, but it's going fast."

While Rocker, too has noticed inconsistencies in the defense, he sees his players getting there. Among those were Mike Thornton, James Deloach and Josh Dawson. While DeLoach and Dawson are being asked to learn some new things here and there, they're not the only ones.

"Those are guys (who) you can see them getting better at it so those are some things I'm proud about, but it's their first time playing defensive line," Rocker said.

New defensive fronts are being installed among other things. It's a lot to handle in a few weeks, but Rocker seems confident his players will be ready. He is being very understanding throughout the process.

"It's up and down," Rocker said. "It's been inconsistent, but the thing is they haven't shied away from it. I think the biggest thing is they've played in this front for four or five years."

At the end of the day, Rocker concerns himself strictly with who takes the field in the moment of truth. Pruitt can do the play-calling.

"I don't call it," Rocker said. "I just make sure I've got the right people in there, but whatever Pruitt wants is fine with me."

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