Oct 12, 2013; Athens, GA, USA; Georgia Bulldogs mascot UGA IX on the field prior to the game against the Missouri Tigers at Sanford Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
Despite losing five starters from a defensive unit ranked fourth nationally in turnover margin, fifth in the SEC in scoring defense, that posted two shutouts and held Top 25 teams Missouri and Auburn to a combined seven points, Pruitt expects the 2015 defense to be better this season.
“We lost somewhere in the neighborhood of 10 or 12 players, but we added 31. So we feel like there’s a difference in the talent level,” Pruitt told Chip Towers of Dawgnation.com. “We lost some really good football players but we’ve added some depth and we’re excited that.”
In fact, Georgia rebuilds the entire drive train of its defense in 2015, replacing the defensive line and inside linebackers Amarlo Herrera and Ramik Wilson. The pair combined for more than 400 tackles the last two seasons.
“We’ve got four senior guys in the D-line, one sophomore and we’ve added six true freshmen,” Pruitt told Anthony Dasher of UGAsports.com. “It’s a hard place to play as a freshman but we’re going to rely on some of those guys.”
Among the freshman is a difference maker who’s immediate impact will improve the Georgia defense.
To Pruitt’s credit, he is fighting the hype.
“What we don’t want to do with anybody in this class is create unrealistic expectations,” Pruitt told Towers. “I just want those guys to do their best every day. Every year a few teams have two or three [freshman that can contribute]; we’ll have two or three this year.”
“So, he’s kind of one of those guys. We’ve talked to him about it and we’ve prepped him about it. What we want him to do is get better every day. Focus on that.”
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