ATHENS — As expected, new defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt and his all-new staff kept things pretty basic in Georgia’s G-Day spring game Saturday, making certain not to put anything on film that might prove to be useful information about the remade unit for the season’s first two opponents, Clemson and South Carolina.
The defense experimented with various personnel combinations and, typical of scrimmages, generally was not permitted to hit the quarterback.
All in all, it was no surprise that the offense carried the day.
“I think we started off kind of slow, but after halftime we picked it up,” said cornerback Damian Swann, who played for the Black team (which actually wore white jerseys). “We started getting stops, started getting the offense the ball back.”
Indeed, after allowing 261 yards in the first half, the Black team’s defense gave up 144 in the second half. For the game, it allowed the Red team 314 yards passing and 91 rushing. It particularly had no answer for Red receiver Chris Conley, who caught six passes for 124 yards, including one for 53 yards.
Said Richt: “I thought (the defense) did fine. I think the offense is ahead of the defense right now, and that makes sense (because) the entire offensive staff is back, the entire system is back, many veterans on offense know exactly what to do. Defensively, everybody is learning” — the players learning Pruitt’s system and Pruitt learning the players.
Pruitt and the other assistant coaches were not available for interviews after the game. Linebacker Leonard Floyd said Pruitt “gave us a pep talk” each time the No. 1 defense came off the field. Floyd admitted the pep talks were mixed: “some positive, some bad.”
Among the defensive highlights were interceptions by cornerback Aaron Davis, a walk-on who surprisingly vaulted to the top of the depth chart at his position this spring, and safety Brendan Langley.