He came, he saw, he pissed people off.

And with that, Jeremy Pruitt is going back to where it all started.

Jeremy Pruitt’s time at Georgia is over.

A source confirmed to The Telegraph that Pruitt will become Alabama’s next defensive coordinator. Pruitt spent the past two seasons as Georgia’s defensive coordinator and improved the unit from where it was during his time in Athens.

Pruitt’s group ranked No. 8 in total defense this season at 298 yards per game. The website BamaOnline.com was the first to report the news.

After Georgia’s 13-7 win over Georgia Tech, Pruitt said he hoped to remain with the Bulldogs.

“I want to be at Georgia and I think our whole staff wants to be at Georgia, so I hope that’s clarity enough,” Pruitt said.

Pruitt told Georgia’s defensive players he was leaving during a meeting Thursday. According to the same source, Pruitt told players he wanted to stay on at Georgia but that he was not being retained on new head coach Kirby Smart’s staff…

The news shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise, for a couple of reasons.  One, there was a lot of smoke surrounding Pruitt’s rocky relationships with people (read:  plural) he worked with.  And you know what they say about what you find with smoke.

Two, personality aside, Pruitt’s not the kind of guy Kirby Smart is looking for in his defensive coordinator.  In that light, think about a story I linked to a few days ago Kirby told about Saban’s mindset when he hired him:

… They’d just won the national title, so I’m thinking they can go hire anybody they want for the secondary job. But he had had some turnover in the secondary, because he coaches secondary, so guys come in and they don’t like it, they leave, they come, they don’t like it, they leave. Finally he said, “I’m tired of this.” So he said, “I want to hire somebody who will stick and stay, and put up with me and do all that.” And shoot, I jumped all over it.

Fortune: Saban put it to you that way?

KS: No, he didn’t put it to me that way, but I think that’s what Jimmy [Sexton], his agent, said. He said, “Look, Kirby, here’s the deal. He’s been through three secondary coaches in three years. He’s tired of having to retrain, retrain, retrain. He wants to hire somebody young, aggressive,” like Will was. By this time, Will had been there three years, so Will was the coordinator. He had kind of grown up in the system. And he said, “I’m going to try to get you hired.” And then Steele was pushing from the State end, Will was pushing from the LSU end, and kind of got me in with Coach Saban. So I got that job, and that was the first year with him. And that’s kind of how I linked with him…

Even if Richt hadn’t been let go, Jeremy Pruitt wasn’t a long haul kind of guy (unless he was going to be Richt’s successor).  It’s no secret he’s ambitious;  hell, ‘Bama will be his third defensive coordinator stint in four seasons.  If Smart wants now what Saban wanted then, he’s going to prefer to bring in someone more amenable to implementing his approach and grooming him accordingly.  That ain’t Pruitt’s kind of thing.  Which is going to make for an interesting dynamic at Alabama, to be sure.

Is there going to be some short term fall out from the transition?  Perhaps.  Speaking of interesting dynamics, the next couple of months in recruiting ought to be something to watch.  And I’ll be interested in seeing if Smart takes a different approach to letting kids transfer from Georgia than Mark Richt’s freewheeling one.  We shall see.

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114 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

114 responses to “He came, he saw, he pissed people off.

  1. Mark Schlabach (sp?) tweeted the other day that he wouldn’t be surprised at all to see Smart hire a young, less proven DC (along the lines of Tyson Summers), and maybe even run the defense himself the first couple of years while he groomed the new guy. This was several days ago, not sure I can find the tweet again.

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  2. Kevin

    I like the fact that Kirby will be assembling HIS staff….as it should be. The future is very bright for UGa football.

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    • Mayor

      Drinking the Kool-Aid before it has even been mixed in the pitcher? A little early on that pronouncement wouldn’t you say? A whole lot of people (me included) were saying that very sort of thing before the 2015 season got underway. Just sayin.’

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      • A lot more people were expecting more of the same in 2015. The difference is now the new regime has a clean slate. We’re not worried about the same old shit happening again for the 11th year in a row. This is the new shit.

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        • Biggus Rickus

          Yeah, but the new shit might suck. We don’t know.

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          • Mayor

            ‘Zactly. I don’t see any difference. The same suits at B-M and alums are still really calling the shots. Until we get rid of those guys it will be the same old same old. They ran off the best coach/recruiter we had (and the only guy actually committed to excel IMHO) because of “personality conflicts” and traded in a former OC from a national championship program as our HC for a former DC from a national championship program taking over as our HC. I don’t want to pee on the fire and stink up the campground, but I’ll believe this is improvement when I see it. Call me after next season and let’s talk then about how big an improvement this really was. I’m betting it is just rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.

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          • Yeah, but until we get a load of the new shit then we might as well be optimistic.

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        • Are you saying Kirby’s and ADGM’s poop don’t stink. You better wait and take a sniff once it’s laid. You know………..

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      • Brandon

        That’s called snorting the kool-aid powder

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      • Kevin

        No Kool Aid for me prior to 2015….I still had the bad taste in my mouth from the inexcusable loss to UF.

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      • Gurkha Dawg

        .That’s called butt-chugging the kool aid ala Tenn.

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  3. This will probably hurt recruiting this year and next but Pruitt will probably only be at Bama one year or two before he jumps at a HC position somewhere.

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    • Kevin

      I disagree… I think our recruits/commitments are very familiar with Smart and I’ll put Smart up against anyone as a recruiter. He will have plenty of time to land a top notch class.

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  4. Big Shock

    So we just swapped Kirby for Pruitt. Pruitt goes home. Kirby comes home. Maybe Saban is the type who keeps doing this forever, but it doesn’t seem that way. He’s looking for something different than he was 10 years ago. I think that he will be going in a few years and just wants to win and cement his legacy as maybe the best coach ever. Pruitt is a good fit for that. I also don’t think that you’ll see the same behavior from Pruitt at Alabama. Saban runs a really tight ship and the program gets everything they want already. Not to mention, I think that Pruitt may become the heir apparent in Tuscaloosa. Played there. Coached under Saban…which will eventually become the next “coached under Bear”. I’m sure there will be some fallout with Pruitt to Alabama, but that’s always to be expected with change. I still think UGA’s a better team moving forward than they have been in the recent past.

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    • Go Dawgs!

      It’ll be interesting to see if Lane Kiffin retains Pruitt when Kiffin takes over as head coach at Alabama in another year or two.

      heh heh, I’m kidding, but please Lord, let that happen one day…

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    • MLB2

      He won’t behave that way at Alabama because there won’t be a need for it. They have full support and every amenity. Bill Battle ain’t Greg McGatory.

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      • TopDawg

        People don’t generally change their behavior; they may suppress it for a while, but it surfaces. Pruitt doesn’t seem to leave many bridges unburned when he moves on.

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  5. Kevin

    I still think Saban leaves for the NFL after this year.

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    • 3rdandGrantham

      I’m with you and predicted the same a few days back.

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    • Mayor

      Yep. He needs to cash out one more time with the pros and he’s already into his 60s. Pretty much his last shot at the NFL. Has to be within the next year or two or he’ll be too old.

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      • Jared S.

        Dudes, he’s become like Coach K at Duke. Saban is practically a god where he is. There is absolutely no reason for him to go pro, especially since he’s had a taste of it and realized it’s for dummies.

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        • Mayor

          Either way, how much longer do you think he’s going to coach? He’s 64. 2, 3 more years? How old was SOS when he quit–70? I don’t see Saban doing it as long as SOS. Pruitt is now in prime position to be the heir apparent in Tuscaloosa. He ain’t going anywhere.

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        • Gaskilldawg

          What an NFL team can offer that Alabama cannot is an ownership interest in an NFL franchise.

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  6. 3rdandGrantham

    I’ve said since Smart’s rumored hiring going back almost 2 weeks now that Pruitt would almost assuredly not be retained, and, more so, in the end this would be a good move for Smart to make. I know a lot of people here love Pruitt and wanted him to stay on, but it just would not work out, both from a personality and philosophy standpoint.

    Pruitt would have been a major headache for Smart and a constant means of distraction, neither of which Smart needs at this very young and critical period of his HC career. Plus, let’s not forget that there are clear philosophical differences between the two as well: Smart prefers bigger DL’s and especially LB’s, while Pruitt prefers a smaller group that can get to the ball quicker. Speaking of which, this helps to explain our difficulty in stopping the run in key games over the past few years as well, as we were getting manhandled up front.

    I’m sure a lot of Pruitt (and perhaps CMR) supporters will surely use this as ammo against Smart, but try to at least wait until the midway point of next season before airing such uninformed grievances. Though again this might sound absurd and like me simply being contrarian for some of you, this indeed was a good move in the end, and a good sign of better things to come as well.

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    • Debby Balcer

      Comments were great until you took a dig at Richt supporters. No reason for it. I wish Pruitt and Smart well. The people I feel for are the kids more upheaval for them.. I remember the adjustments for my kids when they went to college and the first year had ups and downs and the current freshman class will have almost another freshman year with few familiar faces.

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      • 3rdandGrantham

        I’m not taking a dig at CMR supporters whatsoever. I’m simply referring to a minority of CMR supporters who, since CMR firing/Smart’s hiring, have used any little opening to impugn Smart while immediately stating that CMR would have done it better (and thus still should be HC). Big, big difference.

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    • I agree. It’s Kirby’s program now. Let him do whatever he wants and if the results don’t show up than feel free use this against him. Also, how do the people who are angry about this know that this wasn’t Pruitt’s decision? I could see Pruitt wanting to take the Bama DC job over the UGA DC job. The Bama position is more prestigious.

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    • Cali_dawg

      What I don’t understand is if there is a philosophical difference between Pruitt and Smart, who’s to say Saban wouldn’t have the same problem? Obviously Kirby and Saban see eye to eye with wanting bigger LBs vs speed. If Saban is in all likelihood going to tell Pruitt to adjust to his methodology, couldn’t Kirby have done that with Pruitt as well? “Recruit bigger guys and you can stay.” Obviously that’s oversimplifying a complex situation. But it’s hard to see any upside in losing Pruitt.

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    • mp

      Do you think Saban will let Pruitt recruit smaller DL’s and LB’s? Strange argument to make for not keeping him considering he went to Alabama. If Pruitt had stayed it would have been Smart’s system he’s running not his own. Just like at Bama, where he will run Saban’s system.

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      • 3rdandGrantham

        Certainly a good question you and Cali posed. In this case, yes, Pruitt will have to cede to Saban. I’m guessing, however, that will be a much easier pill for Pruitt to swallow—going back to Bama to work for one of the best CFB coaches ever—as compared to staying at a less successful program and working underneath a new HC with no prior experience which, in Pruitt’s eyes, is on the same level of the totem pole as he is.

        Oh, and Saban won’t have a problem with any of it, as Pruitt is a former assistant and knows damn well Pruitt will immediately fall in line with how he wants things run.

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    • Daniel Simpson Day

      Nailed it.

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    • lakedawg

      Whoever the coordinators or at Bams they do exactly as he says or else. He runs the show offense, defense the whole shebang. Think Kirby’ s biggest adjustment is not having Nick to tell him ever move, as he learns things first hand.

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    • 3rd –

      I’m not sure there is a great philosophical difference concerning the size of LBs. A couple of years ago Saban also started recruiting the smaller type – guys like Christian Miller and Rashaan Evans. Miller didn’t play much this year and Evans normally only played on third and long. That’s partly because of where they were on the depth chart and partly because of the style offense we were facing.

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      • Mayor

        The whole idea is to have quicker LBs to counter the spread. It’s good to have some bigger and some quicker on the roster, IMHO.

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  7. Bulldog Joe

    Pruitt made us better on defense and got the program moving to a more competitive position on a variety of fronts. Kirby will continue this momentum, from a higher position in the organization and with more polish.

    I wish Pruitt well (when he doesn’t face us on the recruiting trail or on the field).

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  8. anon

    The Jeremy Pruitt Indoor Practice Facility has a nice ring to it…I look forward to the dedication ceremony

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  9. Rick

    Right, so Pruitt is too ‘difficult to work with’ for Smart, but is snapped up instantly by his mentor. This was definitely Smart’s decision, on account of that genius Jimmy Sexton always gets his clients everything they want.

    The great thing about the expression ‘where there’s smoke there’s fire’, is that it has absolutely no caveats, so it means ‘all rumors are true, without exception’. It pairs nicely with the refreshing Kool-Aid to which you are treating yourself on your vacation, Senator 😉

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  10. Bright Idea

    Pruitt did a great job for Georgia but i’m not seeing him anywhere near ready to be a big time head coach like many are. It doesn’t bother me but he’s still a bit rough around the edges to be the face of a program. Saban can manage that better than it was managed at UGA and Pruitt will be better for it in the long run.

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  11. Tronan

    I’ve been impressed by Pruitt’s ability to make chicken salad from … well, not quite chicken shit … chicken gizzards? However, the fact Smart and UGA never made an announcement one way or the other about his future made it pretty clear that he wasn’t coming back.

    It’ll be interesting to see not just the impact (if any) on recruiting, but also the impact on recruiting philosophy. Does UGA stick with fast and light in the ass or aim for cement-boned maulers?

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  12. Turd Ferguson

    Great. Now where are we going to find someone who knows how to recruit and coach defense?

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  13. El Dawgo

    Can you imagine the time Saban will spend keeping tabs on both Kiffin and Pruitt? He already doesn’t have time for that.

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  14. Pruit is some sort of traveling salesman now, though good at it I will say. However, he might as well leave Georgia now before his recruiting influence becomes ever be stronger within the state with a year or few more years, that he can carry with him a bus load of 4-5+ star recruits wherever he goes eventually.

    And against FU, he really never shot down their offense in 2014 and 2015, making me somewhat of a fence hanger on his abilities. If for example we lost to FU 6-3 this season, then I would say it is entirely on the offense. But FU scored 27.

    I would however wait for the staff of Kirby and see.

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    • do not resuscitate

      Well, in Pruitt’s defense, 14 of those points in the FU game came on a muff punt and an interception returned to the 1 yard line, which is tough to overcome (especially twice in 2 games).

      I think Pruitt is a good coach and agree with others assessment that he brought some edge back to the UGA defense that had been lacking for years. Hopefully our new Head Coach and next DC can keep that momentum going in the right direction.

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    • Q

      UF got a special teams TD and a got a pick that set them up at our 5. Other than that they scored 14.

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      • JCDAWG83

        Their offense absolutely sucked once we got them. The two offenses we faced that were in the top 50 rolled over us (Bama and UT). I wish Pruitt well and I liked him and liked the improvements on defense I saw, but I don’t think we are losing a defensive genius.

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  15. hassan

    No great shock here. I think Bama is a good place for Pruitt and I wish him well. Ruffled feathers aside, I think he did good things for UGA and goes out positively.

    The roles have reversed where we used to have an offensive minded coach and worried about what the D was going to do. Now we have a defensive minded coach and concern is more on the offensive side of the ball. CKS can get a D coordinator to mentor and bring along if we don’t get a top tier name. The offensive coordinator needs to be a home run on the other hand.

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    • Jared S.

      Agree with you. I have no idea what the whole “problems” with Pruitt were. (…..Seems like he was a dick to work with. Boo hoo.) He was doing great things with our defense and his time here only upped his stock ….. as evidenced by the fact that he’s probably Saban’s first choice to replace Smart.

      As far as OC goes, I also agree with you and others who say it’s gotta be a home run. It’s gotta be great from a PR perspective, as well as great from an outcome perspective…..we’ll know whether the new OC meets the high PR bar immediately, but we won’t really know how good he is until we see his offense next year.

      IS IT SEPTEMBER YET???? hahaha

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      • Mayor

        Pruitt is like the guy who broke the curve in Statistics class–he made 98 on the test and the next highest score was 66. Everybody else in the class hated that guy because he exposed them for what they really were–mediocre. Is it a very big surprise that the O coaches hated Pruitt? Just wait. All the best D coaches will be in Tuscaloosa in some capacity next fall. They LIKE Pruitt. He demands excellence. He wants to win. If you DON’T he has no time for you. IMHO Pruitt leaving is Exhibit “A” that the Georgia Way is not only alive but has won the battle for supremacy at B-M. Personally, I’m never going to give another dime to that f#^%@*g place.

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  16. Pruitt was getting us there still had a ways to go but was improving, now with Smart I think the D will be even better and will show results the first year better then Pruitt did in his 2 year stint. Rumor is Tracy Rocker will be retained.

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  17. Sides

    From the outside looking in, it will be interesting to watch Georgia and Alabama next year. After firing Richt, Georgia basically traded Pruitt for Smart. I thought Pruitt did a great job in 2 years with the UGA D and seemed to have a great recruiting class coming in. I have hard time seeing Smart taking that D to another level unless he can out coach or out recruit Pruitt and I don’t think that is possible. If the offense doesn’t improve (may lose QB recruit to Miami) it is tough to see Smart improving on 9-10 wins per year.

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    • Pruitt was in the stages of still proving himself as a D coordinator. Smart is a proven D coordinator and recruiter so I think he can and will out coach Pruitt in all phases be it a HC, D coordinator and recruiter, he has already proven the latter 2 and will add a proven HC to that. Pruitt will bolt at the first HC offer, he was actively seeking the UCF job.

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    • If we lose the QB recruit it won’t be to Miami. Maybe 5th choice-Muschamp can pull in at least a top 30 class for the peckers.

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  18. @gatriguy

    I have no idea what is true or not about Pruitt, but I’ll say this: Grantham was a lesser coach that twice embarrassed UGA and Richt on national television and apparently walked around BM telling people he invented defensive football. And yet, there was never the pushback from admin types like there was this season w Pruitt.

    Whatever it was, whether it was one single incident or just the cumulative effect, I think it’s safe to say it was very bad.

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    • Dolly Llama

      It must have been. The Senator, who knows more than I do and whose judgment seems generally reasonably on such things, seems to think it was. I don’t know shit, so I trust people who seem to. Damn shame, though. The defense was looking great this season.

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  19. Cash Dawg

    What was the confrontation specifically between the coaching staff and Pruitt and Richts house? Was Pruitt running around with chicks like at FSU?

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  20. Cosmic Dawg

    It’s no secret he’s ambitious; hell, ‘Bama will be his third defensive coordinator stint in four seasons

    Except he didn’t leave Georgia voluntarily, so it’s not like his ambition got in the way here.

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  21. I knew this would happen as soon as I heard we were hiring Smart. Now I’m waiting on the rest of our good coaches/recruiters like Brown and McClendon to be run off. Oh well…probably best we go all in to remove any doubt.

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  22. On another coaching note, it’s being reported that Ga Southern is about to lose their coach to Tulane, which I find hilarious. After the way their backwater fans acted in our stadium, I say ef that program and second rate school.

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  23. ok…then ….so ah…bye….now….Who’s next?

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  24. rchris

    Interesting that Smart stays at Bama through bowl season, while Pruitt leaves immediately. What the hell they need him for, Kirby’s coaching the bowl. If we lose our bowl, that would have recruiting implications which Bama would love. Just goes to show which program has the power right now.

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  25. Doggoned

    Pruitt at DC and Kiffin at OC. Saban doesn’t mind pains in the ass. Maybe KS does.

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  26. Will Trane

    Does this mean Pruitt starts coaching immediately at Bama? Just how many coaches does it take to coach Bama’s defense. Legions. Now we know why they call it Legion Field.
    Two damn years we go into a bowl with less than a full staff.
    What a freaking joke footballis at UGA.
    Just mdisband the program. And fire that dork McGarity.
    We are the laughing stock of SEC football.
    My loyakty, support, and interest is almost over.

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  27. Will Trane

    I am thourghly ticked at how stupid McGarity and Morehead are.
    Just shut the program down.
    The entire p r ogram at UGA has sunk to an all time low.
    Vandy is betterr than this

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  28. Will Trane

    Who intheir right mi d is going to t he bowl.
    Certainly not the coaches.
    We don’t have any.
    And Smart is committed and l o yal to Saban,not us.

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    • Topdawg

      So you were fed up with Richt, and now you’re already disgusted with Smart

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      • Mayor

        I think Will’s comment relates to the fact that Kirby Smart is supposed to be the new HC at the University of Georgia and yet, at a time that is very critical to the success of the Georgia football program next season, Kirby Smart is still coaching at Alabama. When the best 2015 recruits jump ship and sign with, among other schools, Bama maybe somebody will then observe that the new HC should have spent his time putting together a staff and locking up the recruiting class. But hey–that 5th ring will sure look nice on Kirby’s trophy case.

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  29. ADGM is not only a Gator agent, he is also a Bama mole. LOL

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  30. JT (the other one)

    People can say what they want wrt Pruitt and ADGM not liking him because he made waves and “stood up” to the cronies. The BL is that Pruitt got Richt fired. Pruitt was doing things that if he continued would result in Georgia football being shelved worse than Jan Kemp. I won’t and will not go into details but the BL is that Pruitt was doing everything under the sun to gain power and it backfired on him but also cost Richt his job. It wasn’t about W’s and L’s. The Board of Regent lost confidence in Richt’s ability to control his subordinates. That is why it was mutual. The reason Kirby has control now is because of where he came from and his ability to control his subordinates. There is no question about who is charge of the Football program. There was with Richt.

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    • Mayor

      “There is no question who is in charge of the football program.” I agree. The suits at B-M, the suits in UGA Administration and the influential alumni are in charge of the football program. If you think Kirby Smart is in charge you are dreaming. This Pruitt business proves that.

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      • Topdawg

        I’ve seen no indication that Smart wanted Pruitt to stay.

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      • JT (the other one)

        It wasn’t a suit call. It was Kirby’s and read between the lines. IF what Pruitt was doing got out…the program would take a giant step in the wrong direction.

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      • JT (the other one)

        Oh and Kirby is running the football program. He wouldn’t have taken the job if he wasn’t given autonomy. Ask yourself what has changed since the last time he almost came back? No Rodney Garner, No DVH. Kirby wanted to build his defense the way he did at Bama’ and the AD at that time wouldn’t allow him these things. Fast forward and now the AD had to make a decision because getting rid of a coach who average 9-10 wins a year is ballsy and you better pony up for the guy you want to bring in.

        Boosters? Kirby knows all of them. Remember Kirby is FROM Georgia and is WELL connected and respected throughout the state. He IS one of the boys and in this case unlike Richt…it will serve him well.

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    • Dolly Llama

      OK, I’ll bite. What’s “the BL?”

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  31. JaGGER FAN

    Bottom line

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