I like to think I’m a pretty jaded guy. Even so, this sure made me blink.
The Georgia football team didn’t hold a full practice on Tuesday, thanks to the weather, and Jeremy Pruitt wasn’t happy about it. He wasn’t happy that it had to happen, and he said he wasn’t happy that he knew rival schools would be using it against the Bulldogs on the recruiting trail.
So Georgia’s first-year defensive coordinator, who has been reluctant to meet with the media, did so on Tuesday. Pruitt said he wanted recruits to know that UGA is in the process of getting an indoor practice facility, and that “this team is the last one” that would have to deal without having one.
“I’ve been on the other side when you recruit against Georgia, and when you don’t practice you don’t get better, so that hurts player development,” Pruitt said. “The reason I came up here (to meet the media) is because we’re fixing to take care of that. And this is gonna be the last football team at Georgia that’s gonna have days where they don’t get better because of not having an indoor facility. Because I know our folks upstairs are gonna get it done.”
Blink? Okay, maybe more like that floored me. I know Pruitt’s been here less than a year, but, still, when’s the last time you heard any Georgia coach get that passive-aggressive with the athletic administration about something that has a price tag?
UGA’s athletic board in September approved $400,000 to design and determine a location for an indoor practice facility and was to get a report from athletic director Greg McGarity in February.
“They got it done in seven months at Florida State,” said Pruitt, defensive coordinator for the 2013 season there. “The first day I took the job on Jan. 7, they broke ground and it was done the first day of practice.”
That’s not expected to happen at Georgia by next season.
McGarity said Tuesday night that the school recently selected an architect.
“That’s the first part of the process,” he said. “It’s just impossible for it to be done next year. We’re not sure how long it’s going to take. We don’t know where it’s going. We don’t know how long it will take. …All we know is we’re moving forward as quickly as possible.”
Er. Um. Reserve fund. Er. Um.
I wonder how long that’s gonna work.
Pruitt said a rival team’s recruiting pitch against Georgia would have the lack of an indoor facility as a main talking point. That’s because it said something larger about UGA’s commitment to football.
“I know our competitors are not gonna say anything bad about the coaching staff here. They’re not gonna say anything bad about the people here, because it’s a great place,” Pruitt said. “But what they’re gonna say – and that they’ve always said is – how important is football to Georgia if they don’t have an indoor practice facility? Well they won’t be able to say that anymore.”
It was pointed out to Pruitt that until this year he had been one of those rival coaches recruiting against Georgia. Had he used it in recruiting?
“I wondered that,” he said. “I mean what are you gonna say about coach (Mark) Richt? He’s one of the finest men out there. A good football coach, check his track record. Coach (Mike) Bobo, what he’s done here. It’s hard to say anything.”
Pruitt was asked if, in general, the football program gets what it needs from the administration.
“Well I’ve not been here long enough to know that,” Pruitt said, hired this past January. “But I wouldn’t have come here if I didn’t think that.”
So, rival teams don’t negatively recruit against Mark Richt. They save that for the Georgia Way. Oh, boy.
Somehow I don’t think we’ve heard the last of this.