Al.com gets all number-y about Jeremy Pruitt’s career in this clip. See if you can catch the hole in his resume.
Forget it, Jeremy. It’s Athens.
Alabama’s lost its defensive coordinator and its defensive backs coach, but it’s only gonna get better.
Last season, under secondary coordinator Melvin Tucker, Alabama was in a zone scheme more than we’ve seen in years past. That is not a coincidence either.
In 2014, Alabama faced an unreal 495 pass attempts, yielding over 3000 yards through the air and 24 passing touchdowns surrendered (24th S&P passing defense.) In 2013, Alabama faced nearly 30 passes per game, and gave up 13 passing touchdowns; still, opponents were very efficient, as the Tide was just 32nd in S&P passing defense.
With several young players cracking the 2015 rotation, and with Alabama’s inability to get its man-defense up to the levels the Crimson Tide is accustomed to, Tucker simplified the schemes, put an emphasis on creating turnovers, and went to much more of a zone look to protect against the deep shot that had been Alabama’s bane the previous three seasons. Alabama finished 3rd in S&P pass efficiency defense last season; really only being torched in one game against the Heisman runner-up. Alabama surrendered 13 touchdowns in 14 games, before allowing four to Deshaun Watson, half of which occurred in a wild fourth quarter.
With Tucker’s departure, Nick Saban brought in former Troy DB Derrick Ansley to compliment Jeremy Pruitt’s more aggressive scheme. And, yes, Pruitt is considered somewhat more aggressive than Kirby Smart, blitzing well over 60% of the time during FSU’s title run. Last season, a Georgia secondary that had been somewhat maligned in years past finished the nation with the No. 1 pass efficiency defense in the country, and Georgia had the No. 1 defense against explosive plays allowed. Both bode well for an improved Tide team that nevertheless finished 7th and 9th in those categories.
Bully for the Tide. What does it mean for Georgia? I’m not sure it means much, for one big reason: Georgia’s front seven in 2016 isn’t going to be anywhere near the quality of Alabama’s 2015 front seven. Tucker played a ton of zone because he knew he could get away with it, due to Alabama’s dominance up front. And Pruitt blitzed a bunch last season because he had to enhance the pressure that Georgia’s defensive front usually delivered. Given that both shoes are now on the other feet, isn’t it likely we should expect each to gravitate a bit more towards the other in their approaches?
UPDATE: Here’s some of what I’m talking about.
… The theory is that the previous defensive staff used Floyd and Jenkins’ pass-rushing prowess to “protect” the young secondary, which benefitted by being in better coverage situations.
Not surprisingly, Floyd and Jenkins agree.
“That definitely was a goal me and Jordan had set going into every game: Make the quarterback get rid of the ball as quick as possible so the DBs can cover,” Floyd said.
“We definitely wanted to take some of the stress off the younger DBs. Because we didn’t want to put them in a lot of man-on-man type situations,” Jenkins said. “We knew they were younger, and we just wanted to make it easier for the freshmen coming in.”
That doesn’t mean Jenkins thinks the secondary was overrated.
“Oh no, there are still some good athletes back there,” Jenkins said. “We just wanted to eliminate that from even being in the mindset. We wanted them to be able to go ball out and play without worry.”
Tide players just luuuve their new defensive coordinator. Sounds like a problem – for Georgia.
“I mean, he brings a different kind of energy,” outside linebacker Ryan Anderson said. “He’s definitely more of a players’ coach. A lot of the guys are more willing to sell out for the guy because he’s willing to do it for us. It’s a different style.”
PAWWWLLL! Kirby’s not enough of a players’ coach!! They’re not gonna sell out for him like they did for Pruitt!!!
It’s not exactly a shock that Georgia’s on the hook for a fair amount of change with the dismissal of Mark Richt and his staff. $6.2 million is the cost of doing business in today’s SEC.
The fun occurs when you break down that number. Particularly with one Jeremy Pruitt.
UGA’s employment agreements with assistant coaches call for them to be paid through June 30 of the current year unless they have a multiyear agreement. Georgia then agrees to make up the difference if the coaches’ new jobs pay less…
… Pruitt, who is now defensive coordinator at Alabama, had two years remaining on their three-year contracts. So their monies will be paid over the remaining term, according to Andy Platt, the athletic association’s chief financial officer. That’s … $600,000 total for Pruitt, records show.
But wait, you say. Jeremy Pruitt’s gone to work for the Rolls Royce of college football programs, in the same position he occupied at Georgia. How is it possible that Georgia owes him money?
Likewise, it appears Pruitt is scheduled to make $1 million a year as Alabama’s new defensive coordinator. He succeeds Georgia head coach Kirby Smart, who made $1.5 million last year in the same role for the Crimson Tide. Pruitt made $1.3 million as the Bulldogs’ defensive coordinator last season.
Pruitt took a pay cut to work for Saban, except it’s not really a pay cut, thanks to the generosity of Greg McGarity. I bet Pruitt smiles every time that deposit shows up in his checking account.
Hell, I’m a little surprised he didn’t agree to work for less.
Boy, I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall to watch Greg McGarity’s reaction to this:
While there were rumors of dissension on Georgia’s coaching staff in 2015 because of defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt, nothing was ever confirmed. And there’s no question Bulldogs players will miss him: One player tells me that Pruitt’s future at Georgia was one of the first things athletic director Greg McGarity was asked about when he addressed the team following Mark Richt’s dismissal.
That probably explains the sensitivity.
Well, now, this is an interesting development.
One day after Oneonta linebacker Riley Cole decommitted from Alabama, his father David called into JOX FM’s Opening Drive to clear the air.
The main points: the Cole family was most disappointed in the timing of the decision, said communication was the major issue…
“The respect I have for Coach Saban and his family, I can’t describe enough about it,” David Cole said on JOX. “I really don’t think he knew about what was trying to be presented to us.”
But after Kirby Smart and Mel Tucker – Cole’s primary recruiters – left for Georgia, communication started to drop. Last Friday – just five days before National Signing Day – the grayshirt talk came up with Cole.
“Communication was the biggest problem and when Riley asked them to give an answer, they wouldn’t give him a straight answer,” David Cole said. “We got the impression they were wanting to wait until after National Signing Day, see who they got, and then let Riley know if they wanted to grayshirt him.”
So Cole claims a miscommunication problem, one that Saban didn’t know about? Well, now, indeed.
Who’s the supposed guilty party? Hey, looky here!
Alabama discussed with the Coles that Riley might redshirt his freshman season, but the idea of grayshirting – pushing his enrollment back from this summer until next January – was never discussed.
Until Friday, when David Cole said Pruitt, Alabama’s new defensive coordinator, mentioned grayshirting as a possibility in a conversation with Riley. David Cole said it appeared Alabama wanted to wait until after Signing Day – until other linebacker prospects announced their school choices – to decide whether Riley should grayshirt.
Okay, to be fair, we only have one side of the story, as coaches can’t comment on recruits until they sign with the school, but if Pruitt’s going off half-cocked without supervision, well, I can’t say that comes as much of a surprise. And so much for those of you who suggested that Saban would have Pruitt flying right, because he’s Nick Saban.
To this day, Coker’s mother speaks candidly about how upset she was with Alabama’s recruitment. Spires said Alabama assistant coach Jeremy Pruitt recruited Coker behind the family’s back after he committed to Florida State, causing her to give an “ass chewing” to Pruitt.
“I called Jeremy and said, ‘Quit sneaking in the back door. Do you understand the word ‘commitment’?” Spires recalled. “Jeremy got a little uppity with me but it didn’t last very long. From a mother’s standpoint, he was wrong. I still think he was wrong. I called him on it. He kept calling me back and I said, ‘What are you a sucker for punishment because I’m not going to cut you any slack? I don’t like what you did.’ Football is such a big business. It’s really not fun. These are kids and sometimes they get distorted by people who really just want a commitment and you never know why.”
Spires said she had a few sessions with Saban — “Come to Jesus meetings,” as she described them — to discuss how Pruitt recruited Coker.
“I meant business because it got to be really traumatic,” Spires said. “Jake started wondering, ‘Did I make the right decision? What if, what if, what if?’ Jake made the decision to commit to Florida State and was totally comfortable with that. I put in my two bits with Jeremy, and by God, he goes to Florida State (to become defensive coordinator). I’m like, damn. So now he’s back at Alabama. It’s really kind of funny.”
That’s one word for it.