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Pruitt Has Work Cut Out For Him at UGA

Jeremy Pruitt

Former Florida State defensive coordinator, Jeremy Pruitt, has officially made the transition to coach at Georgia. But, his first experience with the team wasn't all peaches and cream.

Pruitt recently watched film of the Bulldogs' first spring practice and according to ESPN, he wasnt very encouraged by what he saw. Even the players noticed that something was off.

The first practice, we were like deer in headlights, outside linebacker Jordan Jenkins said. We didnt know what to expect or what the coaches wanted.

Even though there is some confusion, Pruitt is optimistic that the team will get up to speed on how he wants things done. By the second spring practice,Georgias defensive players were definitely surprised by the pace and structure that was first introduced during the first spring practice under Pruitt, but they adjusted to expectations with a quickness that impressed the coaching staff.

According to ESPN, Pruitt says that they are learning.

The kids have good attitudes. Theyre trying to do what were asking them to do. Were doing things a little different in terms of how we practice and finish. Theyre doing a good job.

In the first two weeks of spring practice, Pruitt has been clear that his new defense will operate differently in how they practice and prepare. UGA fans can only hope that the changes lead to better results this coming season.

According to ESPN, last year, Georgias defense ranked tied for 78th in scoring defense (29 points per game), 45th in total defense (375.5 yards), 41st in run defense (148.2 yards) and 84th in pass-efficiency defense (134.7 rating). What's even worse is that the Bulldogs generated only 15 turnovers for the second-fewest in the SEC.

Pruitt acknowledges that it's not exactly the players that are to be blamed for last year's mess.

They lost a lot of guys from the 2012 defense, Pruitt said. Some of the young guys were forced into roles they werent ready for. Its no fault of their own or the coaches. They were the best guys here.

Pruitt surprised many when he announced his leave for the SEC but he told ESPN that even though he loves his Seminoles, he wanted another challenge.

To me, Ive always wanted to coach in the SEC. Once I got to college, thats where I wanted to be. I think Georgia is a fantastic job and opportunity. I loved Florida State. Theyre great people, and its a great place. But I just thought this would be a really good challenge.

The strength of Georgias defense this season will be with the linebackers. Senior inside linebackerRamik Wilsonled the SEC with 133 tackles last season and outside linebackerLeonard Floydcombined for 11.5 sacks and 17.5 tackles for loss.

Pruitt hopes that the faster pace in practice will help UGAs conditioning and strength training.

Georgia fans will have to wait until Aug. 30, when the Bulldogs open the season against Clemson, to find out whether last years sloppiness has improved since last season.

Pruitt says they're still learning.

Theyre trying to finish and trying to do what we ask them to do. Were going to have to play with a lot of toughness and effort. Thats how were going to play this year. Thats our focus -- effort, toughness and eliminating mental errors.

For more on this story visit: Mark Schlabach, ESPN


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