Pruitt brings different philosophy on star position to UGA

semerson@macon.comApril 3, 2014 

Defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt during Georgia football spring practice on Thursday, March 20.

JOHN KELLEY — John Kelley / UGA Sports Communi

ATHENS - Jeremy Pruitt has pointed out that he and Todd Grantham come from the same coaching tree, and are both 3-4 defensive coordinators. So a drastic change in scheme isn't in the offing for Georgia's defense.

But one definite change has taken shape this spring, and it has to do with personnel.

When it came to the star position - the nickel-back role - Grantham relied often on bigger players, namely Josh Harvey-Clemons, and occasionally Leonard Floyd.

Not so Pruitt.

"We're gonna play with DBs at that spot," Pruitt said. "We're not gonna play with linebackers."

Pruitt's explanation was short and simple.

"To cover. We want to cover them," he said. "It's that simple. We want to be able to cover them."

The early beneficiary of that philosophy is J.J. Green, the defensive back who moved over from tailback after last season. Green has been working at the star position, often with the first team. If he earns the job, he would be noticeably shorter than the man who occupied the spot most of the time last year: Harvey-Clemons is 6-5, Green is listed at 5-9.

"Coach Pruitt is used to having short guys at star," Green said. "I just watch their film and get used to it."

And it seems like a good idea to Green.

"He's a smart guy," Green said of Pruitt. "He's got four rings for a reason. So his defense is gonna work."

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