"The first week or so of practice, we're getting along really well. It's a new defense," said Prewitt, who intercepted a Bo Wallace pass in last Saturday's scrimmage. "All together we've only run the defense for a few months. I feel we're learning it really well, and it's going to be a fun defense to play."
Prewitt was limited in spring drills under the new staff due to an ankle injury. He said it was a setback as far as getting ready for the fall. That, however, has improved as well.
"During the spring I messed up my ankle pretty bad, rolled it really bad," said the sophomore from Bay Springs. "It made it hard to cut, and of course you need to be able to do that fast as a defensive back. It was really frustrating. I just had to come out here this fall camp and do my thing, really."
That he's done. There was some question after spring if Prewitt could actually handle what this defense requires. Prewitt made the commitment to do what was necessary and more to play a major role in it.
"It was just really frustrating because I knew I could do better but my body was limiting what I could do," said the 6-foot-3, 210-pounder. "I learned the defense well and that's the only thing I could do was to learn the defense and know what I was doing, and wait for my ankle to catch up."
And he likes where he is right now, through a week and a half of fall camp.
"I feel like I've done well. There's always room for improvement," he said. "I'm going to come out here every day and get better."
There's also some mention of a bit of a size deficiency back there among the defenders. Prewitt says they'll make up for it, if that's the case.
"Of course we're not going to be hitting the bigger backs head up," he said. "There's different ways of tackling. Everybody's shown they're not afraid of contact. When it comes down to it, it doesn't matter who it is. We'll get ‘em on the ground."
It's a defense that coordinator Dave Wommack has thrown a lot of things not only at the defenders to learn but also that the offense has to be prepared for. And it's kept things off balance – in a good way. Prewitt says it's exciting to attack the offense and keep them guessing. He also likes the quick tempo of the offense and how that makes the defenders have to respond.
"It's really just more fun. It makes everything competitive," said Prewitt, who played in 12 games last season with 32 total tackles. "And when everything's more competitive, we all play harder. It makes us think, and so it makes us better on defense whenever they pick up the tempo on offense. It makes it really fun in practice."
As for the games, he's ready for them again. He knows last year wasn't this program. He says they'll be ready, and he believes even the younger players will as well.
"Me personally it gave me experience," he said of the team's dismal 2011 season. "It's going to eliminate going out here in this first game and being nervous and seeing 50,000 people in a crowd. I think that kind of experience really helps. It gets the butterflies out of the way early once you really do know the defense. All the younger guys that did play last year, they're not going to have to go through that kind of awkward stage the first few games. I think we'll pick up right where we left off."
And be even better for it in the fall of 2012.