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.