Richt looks forward to a different look in spring

Published on NewsOK Modified: March 5, 2014 at 5:05 pm •  Published: March 5, 2014

ATHENS, Ga. (AP) — Coming off a disappointing season, Georgia coach Mark Richt is looking forward to shaking things up.

The Bulldogs have a new defensive coordinator, Jeremy Pruitt, and that's not the only thing that will look different when the team opens spring practice March 18.

The practice routine is changing a bit, with an emphasis on giving everyone more of an equal shot at playing time.

Hutson Mason isn't exactly a newcomer, but this will be the fifth-year senior's first — and only — full season as the starting quarterback after he backed up Aaron Murray most of his career.

Also, there are some position changes on the horizon, the most notable being the shift of running back J.J. Green from offense to defense to provide much-needed depth at cornerback.

"When you have change, it adds excitement to what's going on," Richt said Wednesday. "I think the players, especially on defense, know that every job is wide open."

Richt said he wasn't necessarily looking for a major overhaul after the Bulldogs, picked to win the Southeastern Conference East for the third year in a row, endured a rash of injuries and slumped to 8-5.

"Change doesn't necessarily mean something needs to be fixed," the coach said. "There's just different ways of doing things."

Coming off a highly successful season at Florida State, Pruitt was brought in to run the defense after Todd Grantham bolted for Louisville. The Seminoles won the national championship and led the nation in points allowed.

Pruitt likes to run essentially the same 3-4 scheme that Grantham favored, so there won't be any huge differences in the way the Bulldogs line up on defense. That said, the new coordinator intends to put his stamp on a unit that never seemed to play up to its potential under Grantham and was especially vulnerable last season while going with a large number of freshmen and younger players.

Already, Pruitt has made it known that he wants to see less poundage on his side of the line.

"We're trying to get some of our bigger guys down," he said. "Personally, we feel like everybody's a little bit heavy. We'd like to be a little bit faster. That's just our preference. We're trying to slim up just a little, including," he added with a chuckle, "the coaching staff."

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