The mystery of 2015

Seth Emerson gets asked a direct question about Georgia’s dysfunctional coaching staff from Richt’s last season and does the best he can with it, for obvious reasons.

What really happened between the coaches the week of the Kentucky game in 2015?  This is when the rumors swirled about Jeremy Pruitt being fired, and presumably is at the center of Tracy Rocker’s later comments about a “mutiny” in Mark Richt’s last year.  Guy O., Ithaca, NY (UGA 1997)

Well, that’s a tricky one. Maybe as the years go on people in the know will be more comfortable revealing things. But right now they’ve all got jobs and in the coaching industry speaking out on such subjects isn’t viewed favorably. You saw that when Mike Ekeler, in an interview last year with a Texas newspaper, slipped up and talked about working with people he couldn’t stand, or something along those lines. Ekeler quickly tweeted out that he enjoyed working with Richt. (He didn’t mention the other guys.)

I’ll be honest here in that I know and suspect more than I’m willing to share, for reasons of confidentiality with sources, etc. What I am willing to say is that I’ve not heard anything to confirm that there was some major incident. It seems it was just the usual clash of personalities in a workplace, exacerbated by a bad stretch of losing in which one side of the ball (offense) was mainly at fault. There were factions, and even if Richt had been retained he was going to have to make changes. Rocker, Kevin Sherrer and Pruitt were generally of the same mind, while guys like John Lilly and Bryan McClendon did their best to keep their heads down. (And you saw how good a job McClendon did in holding things together, guiding the team to a bowl win, with Lilly guiding the offense and Sherrer the defense.)

That said, I don’t think Richt was let go because of all the tumult on the staff. It really was about the on-field product, and not wanting to let South Carolina hire Smart.

I agree with the last paragraph there, pretty much, anyway.  That being said, one day somebody’s gonna write a book about Richt’s final season in Athens and it’ll make for one helluva read.

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46 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

46 responses to “The mystery of 2015

  1. Gravidy

    I surely am waiting for that book.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Everyone knows pieces, no one knows the full story. We’ll see if Pruitt ever gets a HC job, and if so, where and how long it takes. That, to me, will be very telling.

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  3. Mayor

    Say what anyone wants and Pruitt may be a dick but he was OUR dick. He wanted to win and you can’t really say that about McGarity and the other hangers-on at B-M. That was the fundamental clash.

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    • Just Chuck (The Other One)

      Agreed that Pruitt was very good at assembling and motivating a defense. However, I think it sometimes gets to the point that, no matter how good someone is at the job, they can wind up doing more harm than good if they don’t respect the folks they work with. Guessing that may be the case with Pruitt.

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      • Macallanlover

        Agree, have seen several cases where “organizational disasters” were viewed as doing too much harm to justify keeping them in a place despite some of them being over achievers in their specific job responsibilities. We were a large, well funded operation and could find ways to use their talents, in some unique, isolated ways. In a small group like the UGA coaching staff, that isn’t an option. I don’t think anyone questions what Pruitt was able to do with his unit but if I were picking my “team”, he would not be on it regardless of his talent. With only 10-11 coaches working in close proximity he would be an anchor, and particularly over any extended time. Too much drama, too much distraction from the job at hand; like a rowing crew, everyone needs to be in sync and pulling in the same direction.

        There will be someone to take a chance on him, particularly if he works to get better at his reported weaknesses. It isn’t likely to be a big power school because they will not risk the risk and don’t have to rely as much on “big name recognition” to get the job done.

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      • Pruitt was/is a great defensive coordinator. He is also an incredibly insubordinate employee.

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        • ugadawgguy

          If that’s the case, I can’t imagine Saban will keep him around long, right?

          😐

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          • I honestly don’t think he will be there long. Though Saban runs a much tighter ship, so maybe that will keep him in check.

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            • Hodgie

              More importantly, what does he have to be mad about over there?

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              • Mayor

                Yeah, exactly. At Bama they are all about winning. At Bama if someone isn’t about winning they hit the bricks. My read on Pruitt is that he was/is all about winning and if he didn’t get along with some at Georgia it was because they weren’t. It seems to me that at UGA they are are weeding out the wrong guys. (Read “Rocker”)

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  4. MGW

    I believe the transition to Smart will be a net gain in the long run, but I sure hate how it went down with Richt. Not so much 2015, but letting him dangle in the wind during so many off-seasons. If they were going to fire him after a year like 2015, it should have been done at least a couple of years before then, maybe more. Instead it was a bunch of ass-covering indecision which made closing out recruiting classes more difficult. How many years since 2005 was Richt “on the hot seat”?. Either fire him or say, emphatically, that he’s our guy. For a long time they did neither, and the results were predictably mediocre.

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    • Snoop Dawgy Dawg

      Look at Ole Miss’ recruiting class this year to see what hot seat or NCAA troubles can do to recruiting in an instant. One of the main reasons McClendon was said to have zero interest in working with Kirby Smart was because of their near altercations on the recruiting trail over things Smart would say about Richt and that Richt was getting fired any day now. McGarity hamstrung Richt from day one and was glad to finally have the big money support to fire him.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Mayor

        Agreed. McCheap undermined CMR from his first day in Athens. Looking at things after the fact one could conclude that McCheap was actually trying to get rid of Mark Richt all along. Why else would you book an opening game against Boise when UGA was coming off the worst season (6-7) of CMR’s career? Not to mention that the second game was against a resurgent South Carolina squad coached by Spurrier. Looking back I’m actually surprised McCheap didn’t use the South Carolina loss in 2011 as the pretext to fire CMR midseason then. After all, it was actually 3 losses in a row at that point counting the bowl loss from the previous season.I guess McCheap thought that the team would tank after losing the first 2 in 2011 and he could do it after the season. CMR fooled him by turning things around and having a 10 game winning streak that year.

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        • To me, McG’s most egregious sin was forcing Richt to start a 3rd string QB against FL, no show in Jax in 14, and squib kick against Tech.

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          • Mayor

            You left out telling CMR not to spike the ball at the end of the 2012 SECCG. Don’t get me wrong. I’m glad CMR is gone, even though I liked the guy personally. He made too many bonehead decisions on gameday that lost games and seemed incapable of learning from his mistakes. But McCheap undermined him too. I hate back-stabbers and McCheap is of that ilk IMHO.

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            • Fair enough, and I agree (although I’m fine with the decision not to spike actually). I just can’t stand the narrative that it’s all McG’s fault. McG is a hack that’s in over his head, but Richt largely fired himself IMO. 2014 UF was as much the deathknell as anything and there is only one person to blame.

              Liked by 1 person

  5. While I would love to read the account of what happened, I can’t imagine there’s anyone who would come out of the story looking like the good guy … just varying shades of what the hell were you thinking.

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  6. PTC DAWG

    Re your last thought, not so much…his last season was much like his last 10…

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  7. 3rdandGrantham

    From what I’ve understood since just after the incident occurred, basically the whole thing has grown legs and become an internet sensation all on its own. In other words, the friction or incident itself was far less dramatic than what many have made it out to be since.

    The third clique that Seth didn’t mention was CMR, Bobo, and Brown. Those three were buddies and, by the midway point of the season, certainly were at odds with Pruitt and co. Given the weak leadership at play due to CMR’s rather passive, apathetic style of management, Pruitt filled the void and became the alpha dog, thus essentially behaving as acting head coach. This in part led to a tense incident with TB that would not have ended well for Pruitt if things continued to escalate (IMO).

    I agree that CMR wasn’t let go do to the utter mess the staff had become…but it certainly didn’t help his cause either, that’s for sure. After all, TPTB at Butts-Mehre despised Pruitt and were amazed how he was essentially running the show while acting unprofessionally, from what I understand.

    Overall, again it was a giant mess, in which hitting control+alt+delete and rebooting the entire program was certainly the right decision long term.

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    • 3rdandGrantham

      Btw — Schotty, NOT Bobo.

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    • 3rdandGrantham

      Oh yea, I’ll never forget being told in the preseason that year that our offense would be a complete mess, and that there was already buyers remorse with Schotty. Of course, after the SCU game UGA fans were ecstatic — hell many thought they we had a Montana/Walsh combination on our hands with Schotty/Lambert. I even questioned my source as well, in which he simply replied, “wait.”

      Sure enough he was right…

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      • Irwin R. Fletcher

        I was an optimist, for sure. And honestly, the Bama game didn’t phase me too much on the Offense. I thought there was rain and it was Bama, etc. etc. What was so crazy was how it all fell apart so quickly after the Tennessee game. There were certainly signs that it wasn’t that good…but the idea we’d go two full games without a TD is just insane.

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        • Mayor

          It actually fell apart DURING the Tennessee game–when Chubb was injured. UGA was up by 21 and went completely in the tank offensively in the second half. Then the rest of the season the Dawgs had no real O.

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      • FtMyersDawg

        Wait, so in the first post you staqte that SMR and Schotty were buddies, then in this last post you write that CMR already had buyers remorse for hiring SChotty. Which is it? Or do you really even know? My sources tell me that CMR was railroaded into hiring Schotty and had no real connection to him.

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        • 3rdandGrantham

          CMR was not railroaded at all. Yes, he had buyers remorse…but he also really only had choice once by the time the season started, and that’s to ride the horse that brought you and hope that things work out for the best. He also liked Schotty personally as well and was concerned that Pruitt’s abrasive style might affect him negatively on game day. Basically, you can like someone personally and/or be friends with them and still have reservations about hiring them. Heck, I’ve personally been in that situation numerous times over the year.

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  8. W Cobb Dawg

    Let’s start a campaign to get rid of Chaney and Beamer right now, and start a sequel to the 2015 book.

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  9. South FL Dawg

    I’m not blaming Pruitt for anything based on hearsay. Just looking at the product on the field the man was doing his job. And no wonder he wasn’t happy with the offense; if we’re honest we were all unhappy with it. I remember calls for Schotty’s head were all over the dawgosphere.

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  10. Bright Idea

    From all the unsubstantiated rumors I think we can without a doubt ascertain that Richt was worn down at UGA and didn’t have the energy, stamina or savvy to do what he was paid to do, be in ironclad control of all the personalities involved. If there was fighting Richt should have been the referee who ended it quickly instead of Barney Fife hoping to nip it in the bud. We still have our Pruitt and his name is Kirby.

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  11. doofusdawg

    Basically the offense sucked… was predictable… no creativity and no accountability. Pruitt thought they needed to change and said so. CMR said golly gee and Pruitt lost it. Thomas Brown stood up for Richt. Now you can wait for the movie.

    The interesting question is whether or not we will find ourselves in the same situation next fall… without the golly gee.

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  12. There were also rumors following the GT debacle in 2014 of a physical altercation.

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  13. Thank God for the throwaway year narrative bullsit. If not for that we would have to admit that we sucked worse in 2016 than in 2015.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Buster

      It was NOT a throwaway year, in the sense of waste, but there was stuff to throwaway in the sense of bad culture. It was simultaneously cleaning out the rot and laying a new foundation. It was a painful but necessary step to take us where we want to go. Just look at the recruiting class – and that in wake of a mediocre on-field performance. CKS is working the plan and it’s all falling into place. And now that we’ve got a real-deal coach, there aren’t going to be any mutinies.

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  14. My sources tell me that Pruitt had a thing going with Hairy Dawg’s wife. That bitch was the problem.

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  15. Bulldog Joe

    Without the improvement Pruitt made to the defense, we lose 5 of the last 6 and stay home during the bowl season.

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  16. AusDawg85

    If we’re going to do this weekly, can we at least designate a specific day to do it? “Mark Richt Monday” has a nice ring to it to drag that dead horse out for the beating.

    That at least would leave the other 6 days to beat on Kirby. 😉

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  17. Jt (the other one)

    You and I should write that book. ; )

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