One-man show

Chip Towers constructs the timeline for the Pruitt hire:

… For better or worse, Jeremy Pruitt was Georgia’s first and only choice.

Think about it. At the earliest, it would have been Sunday before Mark Richt could have turned his attention to hiring a replacement for Todd Grantham. It wasn’t until after Georgia’s basketball game against Alabama that the Bulldogs were informed of Grantham’s offer from Louisville, and Grantham said he needed some time to think about it. quickly replied that they would be making not attempt to match it. By Monday night, Pruitt was in Athens and he was the Bulldogs’ coach by lunchtime Tuesday.

“We had a 4 o’clock meeting the day (Monday) after Coach Grantham told me (he was leaving),” Richt said. “Within 24 hours we had another 4 o’clock meeting and I introduced Coach Pruitt to the players. So it did happen fast and I’m thankful it did. But I’m most thankful we got the right man for the job.”

This wasn’t the result of some long-range plan.  It sounds like an opportunity arose, Friend reached out to Pruitt and Pruitt grabbed it.  What made the deal go was that Jeremy Pruitt really wanted to coach in Athens.

But multiple times, Pruitt said the main reason he’s now at Georgia was, “the guy sitting next to me right here,” referring to Richt. They’d first met when Pruitt was a high school assistant and brought over a couple of prospects from Ft. Payne High.

“I said then that was somebody I wanted to work for if I ever got a chance,” Pruitt said.

As for leaving the FSU and Jimbo Fisher, for whom he worked only one year and won a national championship in that one, Pruitt was succinct in his explanation.

“Coach Fisher and me are good friends, but when I decided what I wanted to do, I let him know and that was it,” Pruitt said.

I admit that one of my first thoughts hearing the news was that if Pruitt lives up to expectations, it’s hard to see him with the program beyond his three-year deal.  That’s probably still true, but maybe this is the beginning of a beautiful longer-term friendship.  In any event, it’s good to have another guy on staff who wants to be there.

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71 Comments

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71 responses to “One-man show

  1. @gatriguy

    The other takeaway from this is that it is going to get damn near impossible for Jimbo to sell anyone that he isn’t an insufferable asshole. The staff turnover they’ve gone through despite an embarrassment of talent is simply stunning.

  2. @gatriguy

    *embarrassment of riches in talent

  3. BWD

    My Alabama friends are already crowing about Pruitt, if he lives up to expectations, leaving for Tuscaloosa as soon as Kirby leaves.

    • Dawgfan Will

      I could see that happening since he played at Alabama. If he helps us meet our expectations in the meantime, I’d shake his hand as he departed.

    • Go Dawgs!

      “As soon as Kirby leaves…”

      I’m not seeing a lot of programs lining up for Kirby’s services this offseason. I think that the iron wasn’t struck while it was hot and it certainly seems to be cooling off a bit now.

      Hey, if Pruitt wants to coach the Tide, he’s welcome to. After he coaches Georgia to a lot of big wins, that is.

      • Hackerdog

        Smart’s problem is that he is paid so much ($1.35 million) that he can’t just leave to be the head coach at any old school. He has to wait for a major conference school to come calling. And the major conference schools are trying to bring in people with head coaching experience. I can’t think of a single coordinator hired to be a major school’s head coach this year.

        Of course, there are worse fates than being “stuck” in a job that pays $1.35 million. But I agree that his leverage may be going down. It’s unrealistic that he demands a raise, or he’ll leave to be Fordham’s next head coach and take a million-dollar pay cut.

        • jryuuu

          not a powerhouse football program by any means, but still a “major” conference school: UConn got Notre Dame’s DC.

          i do however agree with the major premise of your post.

    • Cousin Eddie

      Not saying it want happen but why would he leave a coach/boss that he said “I said then that was somebody I wanted to work for if I ever got a chance,” to work for Saban, who is very similar in personality (or seems to be) as Fisher?

    • My Alabama friends are already crowing about Pruitt, if he lives up to expectations, leaving for Tuscaloosa as soon as Kirby leaves.

      I don’t think so. That’s just not the impression I get from Pruitt. If he leaves Georgia, it’ll be for a head coaching position, IMHO.

      I expect Pruitt to be successful at Georgia. And unlike Georgia’s last successful DC, Brian VanGorder, Pruitt IS head coach material (when BVG was at Georgia, I always maintained that he wasn’t). He’s got all the qualities of a good head coach.

      So an offer Pruitt can’t refuse may come along. But the Alabama DC job doesn’t qualify. I have a sneaky feeling he’ll be at Georgia for a while, maybe 3-5 years or even more.
      ~~~

  4. DawgPhan

    So many meme killing quotes in there. Starting to feel bad for the negative nellies and debbie downers these days…so many of their go to arguments are just getting slaughtered right now.

  5. And who will do double duty with Special teams!

  6. Raleigh St. Claire

    Leave to go where? A HC position? If that happens, it will be because he performed so well.

    That is a great thing and should have us in a position to get another good DC.

    More likely, he’ll stay and do good things for us until a truly great opportunity presents itself.

    Richt does engender loyalty among wanted staff members.

  7. Go Dawgs!

    Ya know, if he’s not here longer than the term of his three-year deal then that probably means that Georgia has had some special seasons and I’d be perfectly OK with that. Your assistant coaches don’t stay forever. The relative stability here in Athens is remarkable and owed to the fact that Richt’s assistants don’t make a lot of lateral moves. Hopefully Coach Pruitt will be very happy here. If his ambition is to be a college head coach one day, then let’s get him there with a big haul of Bulldog victories.

  8. sUGArdaddy

    Senator, am I the only one form whom this last post is showing up really weird on my screen? All off-center and comments are in weird places.

  9. Russ

    He met Richt and knew he wanted to work for him one day? Unpossible! Every interweb jockey knows that Richt is a mediocre coach that can only get retreads to work for him.

  10. Was that necessary? Let’s congratulate him on a great hire.

  11. This hire is so huge it cannot be overstated. If a NC awaits UGA in the near future, this hire will be the reason. And this hire was possible because Mark Richt is our head coach. Thus, the NC will be because Mark Richt is our head coach. Dooley would never have won the NC or as many SECs without Erk Russell. For now, Pruitt really appears to be the Yang to Richt’s Ying. Grantham was never a comfortable, seamless fit on this staff. What Richt and Pruitt have said makes these seem like a glorious match. It should translate onto the football field, which remains to be seen. But my optimism has never been greater since Herschel signed.

  12. Turd Ferguson

    I’m excited about the hire. But I was excited about the Grantham hire, too. Pruitt’s certain saying all the right things. But I thought Grantham said all the right things, too. I certainly hope things are different. But I guess I don’t share the apparent certainty of other fans that things are definitely going to be different moving forward.

    It’s January. An exciting January, sure. But still just January.

    • Patrick

      Yep.
      Grantham talked about pressure and attacking the offense, and we all lapped it up because it was the anti-Willie.
      And yet now, here we are.

      No mistaking, I like the hire.
      It took us 30 seconds to collectively approve it…but it only took about 30 minutes to collectively approve the Grantham hire and reach the same place.

      • JRod1229

        Only difference is.. with Grantham we had to take him at his word as we hadn’t seen it in action at the college level. We’ve seen what Pruitt does.. he brings his DB’s to the line and is aggressive with the front 7. He dares you to take it deep.

        I do agree that we all did buy into Grantham though. So most of your point remains.

      • True. And I’ more than like the hire.

        Grantham talked about pressure and attacking the offense, and we all lapped it up because it was the anti-Willie.

        I was just saying last week, how Grantham talked about being aggressive and attacking, but we never do. I was asking if anyone remembers even once instance of our ILB’s firing aggressively into the gaps on certain running downs.

        Because I can’t recall a single one in 4 years. Now, the ILB’s sitting back 5 yards, waiting on the play to come to them? That was a trademark, along with poor secondary play, of Grantham’s defense.
        ~~~

    • charlottedawg

      This. We won’t know until mid February 2015 how good a hire this actually is, after Pruit has had a full season and recruiting class under his belt. That being said, on paper, you have to be excited about this hire. The biggest thing that gives me hope are the quotes from the FSU defenders saying how much Pruitt made sure the really understood not only their assignments but the whole scheme soup to nuts.

    • Dog in Fla

      Whose side are you on, Turd? Don’t you love your country? We were all excited about Todd’s pre-season Happy Talk. He just couldn’t complete the mission statement goals and objectives. So how about getting with the program? Why don’t you jump on the team and come on in for the big win?
      We are here to help the Georgia football program, because inside that program there is a SEC Championship trying to get out. It’s a hardball world, son. We don’t all have to keep our heads until this pre-season Happy Talk blows over at the G-Day game.

    • Normaltown Mike

      Lookin back, I was all amped up with Grantham and his “NFL 3-4″ expertise. Unfortunately for us, we went all NFL at the tipping point moment when hurry up spread high school offenses have proliferated in college football. The other factor that cannot be proven but seems apparent is that CTG and CMR mixed like oil and water. CTG’s choke sign in Jax in his first year made that obvious.

      Was CTG a genius or a goat? I have no idea. But what became obvious the more time went on, his style/scheme wasn’t resonating with our players.

  13. Ginny

    I think the thing I’m most excited about is that Pruitt has been a part of three very recent national championship teams. That means he has seen week in, week out what it takes to achieve that level of success, and he can bring that fresh perspective to practice, meetings, etc. every day.

    • AlphaDawg

      Me too Ginny. He’s recently seen what it takes under two different coaches to be succesfull at the highest level. I don’t think that can be stated enough.

    • W Cobb Dawg

      Agree. We’ve had some unknown commodities as far as assistant coaches are concerned throughout CMR’s tenure. Even good ones like Bobo and McClendon were OJT, and BVG was a vertual known. Other than CMR and his hangers-on buddies Eason & Van Halanger, few came with much of a track record, let alone multiple rings.

      • W Cobb Dawg

        I meant BVG was a ‘virtual unknown’

      • Ginny

        For those that consistently bitch that Richt only hires “his boys” and that we need “new blood” in the program, this should make them happy. Maybe Pruitt can convince McGarity of the need to hire some “analysts.” Or maybe those analysts aren’t even needed. Hopefully he can help us determine stuff like that.

  14. Vinings Dawg

    Everyone on that staff should get raises now. MClendon, Ball and Bobo especially.

  15. sUGArdaddy

    The biggest thing is that he seems to know what his job is. That sounds crazy. A math teacher’s job isn’t to know a lot about math, it’s to help students learn and become proficient at math. A restaurant owner’s job isn’t to make gourmet food, it’s to get people to come pay to eat there. A DC is no charged with knowing a lot about defense, it’s getting 20 year-olds to play good defense. It became apparent, to me, that CTG was not able to do that.

    I think Pruitt gets it. Todd wanted to be the smartest guy in the room. Pruitt wants his kids to play good D.

    I feel like I can breath. I just felt Grantham was a goober. I didn’t want Richt to bank his career on that guy. I think Pruitt is going to have a lot of fun. A. LOT. OF. FUN.

    UGA is hungry for something. I remember the feeling in the stadium in 2002 vs. Clemson. I told my wife, “We’re so hungry to be good again.” Turned out we were. Funny how we play ol’ Clem and his Son again to kickoff this season.

    • mp

      I get and agree with your general point that CTG wasn’t able to teach college players. Pruitt’s recent experience with high school kids must be invaluable for that, as he would have a good sense of what a true freshman coming in can really understand, rather than jumping into the deep end of the playbook.

      But a DC’s job is both to teach and also to know a lot of about defense, and the key is finding coaches that can do both. You think about the how adaptable defensive schemes need to be given the variety of offenses that UGA will see. As offenses continue to evolve, the defensive reactions have to, too.

    • My sentiments, exactly! Well said.

  16. Perhaps anothe plus to this signing could be if Coach Pruitt could light a fire under Coach Friend’s rear end as well. Just sayin…

  17. Bright Idea

    He talked about eye discipline for defensive backs. A novel concept at UGA.

  18. eli

    I want them to hire Tyson Summers by the time Pruitt leaves he will be ready for the def cord, Coached under BVD and O LEARY

  19. AusDawg85

    Is anyone screening Bobo’s calls, ’cause as much as I’d like to see him get an HC position, now would not really be a good time.