ATHENS, Ga. -- Georgia offensive tackle John Theus was one of only a handful of juniors signing autographs for the fans at this year's Countdown to Signing Day festival on Saturday. It was no surprise to see the jovial giant posing for photos and cracking jokes. He enjoys the interactions with the fans and Theus stayed until the line was empty.
Afterwards he answered some questions regarding summer workouts and team morale.
11Alive: The offense and defense usually tease each other during practices. Does that continue in the summer between the offensive and defensive linemen?
John Theus: "They're on a different platform than we are, but we're in the same weight room same time. We do a little team competition where we split up into teams and I was on Team Vavlas and we won. That involved points for a 40-yard dash, a broad jump, a shuttle, bench reps and stuff like that. There was also a team tug of war. Kosta Vavlas had a team, Hudson Mason had a team, Boss [David Andrews] had a team; there was like seven or eight teams. We had a draft of players. It was fun. Coach [Joe] Tereshinski and the strength staff, they're the ones who put it on and kept the points. You got points for being in the top 10 and the tug of war matches and stuff like that so it was fun."
11Alive: Who is responsible for getting the players up and running in the morning during those voluntary workouts?
Theus: "Boss [Andrews] pretty much for the most part. Boss, me and some of the guys. But the good thing is most of the linemen are self accountable and they hold themselves accountable. That's the good thing about linemen, they're not high maintenance. Everybody's been good so far."
11Alive: What do you want to improve on this year?
Theus: "I want to perform better against the elite guys -- not having to take a series or two to warm up against those guys -- to be able to go out there game one, play one and do my best and perform. This is my third season in the system and I know what to do now so it's just a matter of going out there with confidence and performing."
11Alive: Is the team leaner than last year? That seemed to be the direction you were heading in spring.
Theus: "I think overall we are. I know the defense especially is. Everybody knows that Coach Jeremy Pruitt has the guys cutting back a lot. You can see it in the way the guys are running and the way they're moving. Should be interesting to see what happens in Fall camp; it might be a little more difficult to block some of those guys."
11Alive: Speaking of Pruitt, he seems a little scary. Thoughts?
Theus: "I think 98 percent of your football coaches are a little bit scary and have that intimidation factor. Pruitt definitely has it. Coach [Mike] Bobo has it. Coach [Will] Friend has it. Pruitt demands a lot of the guys, and what he does demand he expects to get done. He's a good coach and I think he'll be good for us in the end."
11Alive: How are the freshmen offensive linemen looking so far?
Theus: "They all come in, work hard and have good attitudes for the most part. Kind of a difference from last year I think; they came in humble and ready to work. Isaiah Wynn seems to be real bright, catching on to things - I think he's going to be a good player. Kendall Baker is very raw but very good, kid's talented, Dyshon [Sims] is working hard and Jake Edwards will get back. I'm excited to see what those guys can do. They are the ones I spend the most time around. So it's fun to watch these new freshmen come in and get to work."
11Alive: What is different this year?
Theus: "We are going to demand the best out of ourselves. The coaches are going to expect the best out of us -- they're going to demand it -- and I think we have enough self discipline on this team to be special. I think we all see that so we're all confident that we can do well. Having an attitude going in that you are the best and you're going to perform is key. I think this year is going to be special because we have that mentality going in."
11Alive: You mentioned self discipline. That seems to have been an issue over the summer. Is there more or less than before?
Theus: "It's kind of a new confidence that we have. We're all confident in the program and the strength staff this summer. The stuff we've done, we have a new edge going into the season that we're all looking forward to seeing how we do with it."
11Alive: Has the new rule that allows for eight hours of coaching instruction per week in the summer changed what you normally do in the offseason?
Theus: "A good bit, especially in the month of July. We spent a lot more in the film room and on the field and the turf room doing drills; you can't do scrimmages and stuff like that. You do drills with the position coach and then we have a player run voluntary pass skeleton."