Georgia named linebacker Ramik Wilson its defensive MVP of the spring on Tuesday and J.J. Green was recipient of the “Coffee County Hustle Award.” But if it had been to defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt, none of his guys would have received anything.
“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,” said Pruitt, in his first year with the Bulldogs since leaving Florida State. “To me, those awards are spring awards. Those two guys may end up being starters, leaders or whatever, or they may not play. It’ll be up to them between now and fall camp.”
Wilson, a rising senior from Tampa, was the SEC’s leading tackler a year ago. Green made the transition from running back as a freshman to defensive back this spring and was one of the defense’s best performers before an ankle sprain sidelined him the last week. The Bulldogs also called outside linebacker James DeLoach as the most improved defensive player, outside linebacker Leonard Floyd as the Hugh Hendrix Memorial Award (“to the player that most strains his potential”) and defensive back Aaron Davis as the most outstanding walkon.
The awards are annually voted on by Georgia’s coaches at the end of each spring, much to Pruitt’s chagrin.
“We had 50 guys out there on defense that were all trying to do the same stuff,” Pruitt said. “I didn’t see anybody particularly that just stuck out and deserved an award. It’s kind of like, nowadays everybody’s playing t-ball and everybody gets a trophy. But that’s part of the tradition here and there’s nothing wrong with it. … It’s not a big deal really.”
Offensive players were presented awards as well: center David Andrews, MVP; receiver Chris Conley, hustle award; guard Greg Pyke, most improved; quarterback Hutson Mason, Hugh Hendrix; and receiver Kenneth Towns, outstanding walkon.
Pruitt and Georgia’s other defensive coaches were the only ones available for interviews after practice Tuesday, the 14th of 15 the Bulldogs hold this spring. The last one is Thursday afternoon. They were in no mood for flattery.
“A lot of our guys have got to get their weight under control,” Pruitt said. “We’re too big, in my opinion. We’ve got to get a little smaller. Some guys have to cut body fat, some guys need to put on a little bit of muscle. So we’ll see how everybody comes back from summer conditioning.”
As for leadership, Pruitt said: “I think our upperclassmen have a ways to go when it comes to leadership. We need more out of them.”