The last word on Pruitt at UGA (if we’re lucky)?

Although I don’t dismiss the sources for Murray’s and Pollack’s takes on Jeremy Pruitt’s time in Athens, unlike them, Hutson Mason was actually there when Pruitt was.  Here’s what he has to say about the former defensive coordinator:

A lot of people at Georgia saw how Pruitt handled certain situations,” said Mason, now a sports-talk radio host from noon to 3 p.m. daily on Atlanta Sports X (106.3-FM). “He had blow-ups and antics. Those are well-documented. Those happened. … I definitely agree with what (Murray and Pollack) said about being disrespectful.”

Mason confirmed that Pruitt had confrontations with Richt, fellow assistants and several members of the support staff while in Athens.

That’s not to say Mason agrees that Pruitt’s combative personality might contribute to his eventual demise at Tennessee. On the contrary, actually.

“The part I disagree with is I think some of those traits — (Pruitt) being straight-forward and blunt and cut-throat — I think those things might suit him well for having success in this conference,” said Mason, who coached some high school ball before getting into radio. “I think this conference and college football in general is a bottom-line business. Whether you’re talking about CEOs in the business world or head football coaches, you’ve got to be able to delegate and motivate and those things.”

Mason also said he can see why Pruitt sometimes lost his cool when it came to Richt’s leadership style and personality.

“I think part of it was the kind of lackadaisical, laissez-faire-type of environment (at Georgia),” Mason said. “Pruitt came from Florida State and Alabama, where everything was planned-out in detail and he won championships. It was just different under Mark Richt, and (Pruitt) didn’t like that difference.

“You’ve got Mark Richt, who is a very non-confrontational-type guy, and then you’ve got Pruitt, who is very my-way-or-the-highway. So part of it was Mark Richt not keeping him in his place. Because, you know what, (Pruitt) ain’t going to Alabama and doing that. He ain’t talking to Nick Saban like that. So I think part of it is at Alabama he knew where he stood; at Georgia, I don’t think so.”

There is a lot of stuff in there that comports with what I’ve heard.  Pruitt was a prickly guy, to say the least.  Richt didn’t take to the CEO role well.  That was a recipe for a lot of staff friction, which indeed turned out to be the case.  And Pruitt’s tendency to show his ass, even if in a good cause, wasn’t a positive even outside of staff relations.

That being said, what Mason says about Pruitt should cause Tennessee fans to be concerned, even more so that what Murray and Pollack mentioned.

If Pruitt needed the structure he got from Saban and a Saban disciple like Fisher to rein in his more obnoxious tendencies, tendencies that were given room to fester in Athens, how confident should anyone be that Phil Fulmer is going to be the kind of guy who’s going to play the Nick Saban role now?

The cynical answer to that is indicated in Mason’s feature not a bug observation — “… (Pruitt) being straight-forward and blunt and cut-throat — I think those things might suit him well for having success in this conference…”.  If he wins, Fulmer’s either not going to care about the attitude, or, perhaps more accurately, not going to be allowed to care by boosters and the fan base.  If he doesn’t win at a rate that mollifies the locals, hoo, boy, watch out.

Bottom line, there’s more than one reason Pruitt is with his fourth program in five seasons.  Everyone agrees he can coach.  It’s the rest of what everyone agrees on that has opened up this line of questions.

Advertisements

71 Comments

Filed under Because Nothing Sucks Like A Big Orange, Georgia Football

71 responses to “The last word on Pruitt at UGA (if we’re lucky)?

  1. I was surprised to see this get the traction that it did. I guess the timing (SEC Days) and PF losing his cookies over the comments help blow it up. At the end of the day, what was said is apparently true. And with CMR being CMR and not commenting, pretty much cements it. I thought Mason’s comments were clearly the most accurate and, by the way, fair.

    Bottom-line; Pruitt was clearly trying to be the Alpha Dawg at Georgia, where he wasn’t the Alpha Dawg. There did not appear to be Crocodile tears shed when he left FSU and everybody knows who the Alpha is at Bama; a place where he absolutely knew his place.

    If he wins, he can be the biggest Ass on campus and no-one at UT will care. Can you say Lane Kippin? If he loses, they’ll throw enough shade on him to kill an acre of grass… And you can bet it will include how difficult he was to work with at all levels – but, oh by the way… “His players loved him”…

    Going to be interesting… If he had this job before Kirby, Muschamp and Mullen, I think he could have been successful. But now? Prediction, he will not finish his contract – fired after year three or four.

    Like

  2. Bigshot

    CMR got lazy and did a great disservice to the program and Pruitt stepped up created the change that was needed.

    Like

    • UnderDog68

      Agree….Pruitt was an asshole, but it’s obvious that UGA had become soft under Mark Richt. They weren’t ready for the intensity that he brought, and neither was the rest of the coaching staff. It’s even more clear to me now that we needed a change of culture here.

      Like

      • Greg

        soft??

        Totally disagree if you are speaking of the players being soft. Roster depth got him more than anything else. Smart took that talent and added to it. You don’t have to be an “asshole” to get the most out of your players.

        Like

        • UnderDog68

          In 2015, we went 9-3 during the regular season. Of those 9 wins, only 3 teams….AU at 7-6, Southern at 6-5, and Ga. Southern at 9-4…finished with winning records, and we had to go to OT to beat Ga. Southern. None of the other 6 wins we got were against teams with winning records, and every team we lost to had 8 wins, or better. We blew a 21-point lead against Tennessee, had a 3rd-string QB playing the entire game vs. UF, and looked completely unprepared when we got skull-drug vs. Alabama.

          So, yea….I would say we were either ‘soft’, or there was a lot more turmoil going on with this team and coaching staff than we were led to believe at that time.

          Mark Richt was great for UGA, and was a very high-character guy. That’s awesome. But the last 8 years of his tenure….with the exception of 2012…left a lot to be desired.

          Like

    • The “Richt got lazy” narrative is lazy itself.

      As Mason put it, Richt’s management style is decidedly non-confrontational. Somebody should have done their due diligence about how a personality like Pruitt’s would mesh with that before he was offered the position.

      Beyond that, to know what Richt was like, to know his management shortcomings, and push him to be even more CEO-like in running the program is how you wound up with the mess that was the Georgia football program in 2015.

      Things are in a better place now, not because B-M suddenly has a clue, or because of Pruitt, but because Kirby knows how to run his shop and is being given the room to do so without much interference.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Greg

        Agree….nothing wrong with Richt’s style, he won…just not enough. The hiring part most likely was his biggest downfall. Glad he was our coach, he was a class act….and very glad we have moved on.

        Like

      • Otto

        I still maintain Pruitt pushed B-M to finally fund the IPF, and pushing things to the breaking point for CMR stay in Athens.

        Pruitt may very well be the spark for Richt’s departure. We should all hope Schott was going to be fired. B-M wanted Pruitt gone, and with that 1 major contract buy out remained. What better time for McGarity to sell paying Richt’s buyout?

        Like

        • Let me remind you that when Richt held his departure presser, he mentioned that his biggest regret was not taking back the OC role after Bobo left.

          If you think that was his choice, then you haven’t been reading my posts carefully enough.

          Like

          • Greg

            Don’t remember….So you’re saying you do not believe Richt was responsible for hiring Schottenheimer (sp?)??

            Like

            • No, that’s not it.

              Richt was unhappy in the CEO role B-M wanted him to occupy. UGA needed him for fundraising and wanted his time allocated in a different way than Richt preferred. This is the issue that hung up the signing of the last contract extension, or so I’ve been told.

              Like

              • Greg

                Gotcha…I recall now.

                Like

              • Otto

                If Richt’s wants he takes back play calling, what is B-M going to do fire him for winning more games? You then take on B-M about firing Schot later on. Richt didn’t take action.

                Like

                • You’re not getting this. They specifically wrote contract provisions defining how much time Richt had to spend on administrative matters. They wanted to prioritize his job specs.

                  There wasn’t enough time in the day for him to do that and properly handle OC chores, too.

                  Like

            • Bright Idea

              And Bobo and Friend lured Pruitt in.

              Liked by 1 person

              • california_dawg

                Pruitt said he always wanted to work with Richt in the beginning and admired him. And after the fiasco of 2015, Pruitt was aggressively recruiting for us despite the confrontation(s?) and coaching drama. Seems he had ever intention of staying on, until he found out while in church with a recruit that Richt was fired.

                Schottenheimer was Richt’s ultimate downfall, not Pruitt. Imagine what would have happened if Lincoln Riley took the OC job instead (from what I’ve read, he definitely was interested).

                I’m happy with where we’re at now obviously, ecstatic even. I’m a huge Kirby fan. But I’m also a huge Richt fan, and always will be.

                Liked by 1 person

                • For all the light and heat on this, it’s easy to overlook that Pruitt didn’t want to leave UGA.

                  Like

                  • TXBaller

                    This comment is confirmed. Had the pleasure to visit with Pru at JerryWorld just after the Richt firing – Pru was a “special analyst” for Bama pre Michigan State game – to a man, he concurred three things to me personally: 1) His adoration for Mark Richt 2) His love for Athens and desire to have still been there and 3) his disdain for McGarity.

                    Like

            • 79Dawg

              Yes, that is exactly what happened. Admin wanted Richt to step back, do more grin-n-grabs and fundraising, etc. Bobo was able to keep Pruitt somewhat in check because of their friendship, but once he was gone, there was no check on Pruitt. The Admin sowed the wind for the stormy 2015 season, and reaped that whirlwind as soon as the season ended…

              Like

              • Matthew Cafaro

                So no truth to the rumor that Bobo left for a lesser job than what he really wanted (which would be an SEC job) because he couldn’t stand Pruitt? I thought the staff turnover between 2014-2015 was because they couldn’t stand Pruitt?

                Like

                • ChiliDawg

                  I don’t think Bobo was ever getting an SEC job. He was never offered a power 5 job. Seems like Georgia fans always overestimated his value on the HC market. For whatever reason – he never really got serious consideration for anything approaching a “big time” job.

                  Like

          • Richt should have told Greg McGarity to keep his nose out of football business, and he would keep his nose out of managing the janitorial relationship. I don’t know that things would have turned out different, but I do think that (or promoting Lilly) would have led to continuity.

            Like

        • Anonymous

          I still maintain Pruitt pushed B-M to finally fund the IPF,

          You are still wrong. The plans were almost complete and the paper work was in the hands of the Board of Trustees for the upcoming vote. All Pruitt did was talk about it publicly prematurely after he had been told to keep his mouth shut.

          Like

          • Greg

            Correct….but if I remember correctly, we were in the middle of recruiting season at that time. Hence, putting the word out for recruits.

            Like

  3. heyberto

    I’m loving all this. Really interesting stuff. No question the guy can coach, and as you say, if he wins, he’ll be fine. I tend to think it’ll be rocky for awhile but if he recruits well and doesn’t piss anybody off too much in the short term, he’ll be fine, with a caveat – Fulmer doesn’t meddle too much.

    Like

    • Greg

      “doesn’t piss anybody off too much”

      if everybody likes him, he probably ain’t doing his job. It will be inevitable that someone gets pissed off….and he shouldn’t care. They don’t have to like him, just respect him. Personally, I hope the whole damn program falls into a sink hole.

      Gonna be a tough rebuilding job, but I believe Fulmer and Pruitt are on the same page for now. It will definitely be interesting, hope they all fall on their ass..

      Like

      • Matthew Cafaro

        There’s a difference in being prickly (Saban, Kirby) and in going out of your way to piss people off (Pruitt). Also, pissing off boosters is a short road to being fired. Kirby and Saban, for all their prickliness, handle boosters well. Will Pruitt?

        Like

        • Greg

          People choose to get pissed off, they make that decision. Hard to criticize a man if you never walked in his shoes.

          Like

  4. Greg

    As much as I hate to admit it, thinks Pruitt is exactly what TN needs.

    Like

  5. Win- win for PhatBoi Phil. Pruitt wins, Phil looks good for hiring him. Pruitt doesn’t win, Phil takes over as “interim” coach, his ultimate goal in my opinion. I would like to see a post-game melt-down between those two at the parking lot of the local Krispy Kreme.

    One thing that I am sure of would be the outcome of the rumored “almost came to blows” confrontation between Pruitt and Thomas Brown in 2015.
    Pruitt would still be in recovery.

    Like

    • Russ

      I agree on both counts. This is exactly what Fulmer wants. And TB would have whipped that ass.

      Like

    • lakedawg

      From what I was told by someone that was there that day, Bryan McClendon and Brown both were going
      to whip his butt.

      Like

  6. Bright Idea

    Ill bet Pruitt wasn’t the only frustrated soul at UGA during that time but the others had enough class to keep their mouths shut to the media.

    Like

    • W Cobb Dawg

      When did Pruitt go to the media, other than stating the obvious need for an IPF?

      Like

      • Bright Idea

        That’s it. When he opined on the IPF you could read the guy like a book….if Richt won’t fight for it, I will….trying to take charge when Richt wouldn’t. He had to know that was not his place but didn’t care. He was a star coordinator and could have left for another place instead of undermining Richt. He was trying to appeal to the Georgia fans.

        Like

        • W Cobb Dawg

          I’m sure Greg Mediocrity would’ve liked Pruitt muzzled. I think that says a lot.

          Like

        • I hated Pruitt at the time for doing that and he pissed me off a lot in 2015 but we are better off that he fought like that on the IPF. That was the day we finally woke up to the facilities arms race reality that we are still catching up on. Who knows what would have become if Pruitt hadn’t done that.

          Like

  7. Otto

    I am not so sure that Pruit needed Saban and Fisher to rein in his more obnoxious tendencies as his obnoxious tendencies were brought out by a lackadaisical Richt who didn’t know how to fight for an IPF and kept a terrible OC which greatly frustrated a coach that above all wants to win.

    Like

    • Otto

      If Pruitt is so terrible how was he rehired by Saban, and has hired former UGA coworker to coach under him in Knoxville?

      Like

    • DoubleDawg1318

      This is exactly what I am thinking. Pruitt worked well under coaches he had confidence in and worked poorly under CMR when he lost confidence. That doesn’t excuse disrespect but it does explain why Saban thinks highly of him, while others don’t.

      Like

  8. UGA '97

    Not exact analogies here with AD/HC relationship vs HC/DCs, but maybe Pruitt respects a boss with championship rings more than those that dont. Now Jeremy has a chance to call most of his own shots. DCs also should be firey, because most of their players need motivation and discipline. Sometime’s oil and water don’t mix, but Richt had his chances and couldn’t do it. Winning a Natty at Tennessee will be far tougher task than winning at UGA, so if Pruitt accomplishes that sometime in the next 16 years, then he can tell Murray and Richt disciples to eat crow.

    Like

  9. 3rdandGrantham

    “I think part of it was the kind of lackadaisical, laissez-faire-type of environment (at Georgia),” Mason said. “Pruitt came from Florida State and Alabama, where everything was planned-out in detail and he won championships.”

    This is by far the most telling quote for me and is what many of us were screaming about going back to 2008 or so. Look, Pruitt was totally insufferable and had/has a low EQ, but I can absolutely get his frustration as well. Problem is he handled things rather poorly, and towards the end many felt he was simply trying to get CMR’s job.

    Like

    • ATL Dawg

      Agree 100%. That quote says it all.

      Personally, I will never be able to thank Pruitt enough for what he did for our program. He got the IPF built and helped get Richt out of here.

      Like

  10. DoubleDawg1318

    I thought Mason’s perspective was very telling for both Pruitt and Richt. The story is not as simple as Pruitt is an ass who is unsuited for the head position. I think he is a boom/bust hire in contrast to Mullen who is a low ceiling but high floor hire.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. W Cobb Dawg

    Count me as thankful for the effort and intensity Pruitt brought to the program during his 2 short years. The defense was in tatters when Pruitt took the job.
    He recruited the #1 D players in GA both years. He left some fine young players and an IPF in his wake.

    Unfortunately, IF he can recruit players to utk I have little doubt he’ll be successful, considering his proven coaching abilities. The guy’s coached in every championship game for several years now, with the exception of his time working under CMR. That fact does not reflect well on CMR or UGA..

    Like

  12. Get Smarter

    Mason “coached some high school ball before getting into radio.”

    For like a season? The guy graduated in 2015.

    Like

  13. Thorn Dawg

    Has anyone ever had a boss who would not fight for the team? This is what Pruitt was working with at UGA.
    The best managers/bosses will do almost anything for their workers. Why? Because when the crew knows that the boss is fighting for you, production increases.
    Lackadaisical and/or non-confrontational bosses are awful to be around. GATA

    Like

    • Has anyone ever had a boss who would not fight for the team? This is what Pruitt was working with at UGA.

      You know this how, exactly?

      Like

      • Pruitt said himself that he had negatively recruited against UGA because of their lack of investment in facilities (in general) and the IPF (specifically). I suppose he could be lying about that but I doubt it since Pruitt’s own media comments (once employed by UGA) would undoubtedly be used by others had UGA not been brought kicking and screaming to the facilities arms race table.

        Like

      • Thorn Dawg

        Because CMRs own player said his Richt’s style is lackadaisical and non-confrontational.

        Like

        • So, you think “CMRs own player” witnessed first-hand his dealings with B-M? Boy, that would be lackadaisical.

          Richt fought hard over matters such as assistant coach compensation and recruiting budget for years. He requested an IPF back in the oughts.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Got Cowdog

            You are correct Senator and what he got was that halfassed waste of money that was the first expansion. I was involved with that project and got to meet CMR a couple of times. Nice guy.

            Like

    • Bright Idea

      Richt saw Adams and the ADs as immovable objects on spending so he obviously gave up. It even took everybody else 5 years after Adams’ retirement to realize he was gone. Richt should have fought or switched.

      Like

    • Red Cup

      yeah, like when CMR gave part of his salary to his assistants who did not get raises.

      Like

  14. 69Dawg

    There should be no question that Mark was competitive. He was also too nice for his ultimate own good. Like pointed out above, he asked for an IPF and was denied under everybody’s favorite Michael Adams. He asked, he did not demand. Had he demanded it and caused a stink early on he would have, I think, got one. As it was he got a third of one. After the 2008 season Mark was not in a position of asking, that ship had sailed. I think Pruitt was the ultimate boat rocker. The Assistants love MR and the new guy was not a go along to get along type. He took a mediocre defense and made them as good as they could be. He recruited his butt off, even though he knew he was at a disadvantage in the SEC arms race. It just became a perfect storm.

    Of all the hires this year I think Pruitt was the best, UT could do. We will have to wait and see if he can overcome the usual tendency of a former DC to screw up the offense. Unfortunately Phat Phil is from the Offensive side, so I think he will have some influence on that. If he can regain a foot hold in Georgia recruiting, even if we are getting the cream of the crop, he can coach them up. The SEC East is on the way to having four teams competing for the division again, maybe not this year or 2019 but I am a Larry Munson kind of guy and this could get real interesting. as for Mark I hope he recruits well enough to keep UF out of south Florida. Willie Taggart at FSU and all the other Florida DI schools, UF is not going to get the players they once had under SOS. The enemy of my enemy is my friend.

    Like

  15. PTC DAWG

    Pruitt is gone, CMR is gone…not sure what the fuss is about.

    Like

  16. ugadawgguy

    I need Miami to play Tennessee, stat.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. HiAltDawg

    The best part: all this spins the lil hillbillies in a tizzie, lol. While they raise up on their piss soaked hind legs to defend Pruitt (yet to coach or even make it to his first game), cry about (how many recruits did we take from TN?); and boycott Walmart for trolling them–we get to worry about important things like: they want to charge how much to tailgate at Reed Quad? Haha. It’s not his nature but I’d love to see Nick Chubb fanning his knee with hunerd dolla bills while chuckling at their message board.

    Like

  18. anon

    If it took hiring Pruitt to have richt fired I wish he would’ve been hired 3 years before that.

    Like

  19. No Axe to Grind

    ” I think that part of it was the kind of lackadaisical-laissez-fair-type of environment (at Georgia)”. DO YA REALLY THINK???!!!

    Like

  20. Same old, same old from the same old folks. Will be glad when the season starts and folks forget about Richt. Whether one hates him or really loves him-he is gone. However, the haters still got to hate.

    Like

  21. kckd

    I’m still amazed that JimBo planned out in detail that disastrous season last year. Anyone think Bammer would’ve had to qualify for a bowl had they had start one of their walkon QBs?

    Like