Tag Archives: Jeremy Pruitt

Alex, I’ll take SEC coaching analogies for $200.

Is this year’s “Georgia hired Kirby Smart to be the next Nick Saban” going to be “Tennessee hired Jeremy Pruitt to be the next Kirby Smart”?  Barrett Sallee takes off down that path.

But Pruitt is still a first-time coach who’s going to make rookie coach mistakes. He’ll forget to call for the punt team, mismanage the clock, unnecessarily use timeouts and do all of the other things that first-timers might plan for, but struggle with when it comes down to execution.

It even happened with Kirby Smart at Georgia in his first year in 2016, and he was with Nick Saban at Alabama and the NFL‘s Miami Dolphins for a full decade. One year later, those two were squaring off for all the marbles.

Easy peasy.  Although he goes on to qualify, “That’s not to say that Pruitt will follow in Smart’s footsteps.”

Sallee sees a rockier (topped?) road for Pruitt than Smart had because the talent base he inherits in Knoxville is at a lower level than what Smart started with — amazing how Georgia’s incredible disappearing class of 2013 is already a faded memory — and because UT’s S&C program needs a complete rebuild.  I’m skeptical on both fronts about the comparisons, but I do think starting out Pruitt has a harder row to hoe than Smart did in one important aspect:  the SEC East in 2018 is a tougher neighborhood than the one Smart moved into a couple of seasons ago.

That being said, if the Vols aren’t playing in the 2019 SECCG, expect the Smart comparisons to crop up in Knoxville.  And not in a good way.


Filed under Because Nothing Sucks Like A Big Orange

The most interesting SEC coaching story of the offseason

… may be unfolding at Mississippi State, which has reportedly offered its head coaching job to Jeremy Pruitt.

I have no idea if he’s ready to become a head coach, but it’ll sure be fascinating to watch and find out.


Filed under SEC Football

It’s all relative.

Honestly, having watched Alabama and Georgia football for a while, this strikes me as kind of a strange perspective:

Pruitt inherited a talented bunch to work with, but it’s his personality that has earned him the most respect from the players.

“I think he’s just brought us all more together,” Alabama defensive back Marlon Humphrey said. “I feel like he cares more about us that previous coordinators we’ve had. I think that’s always a good thing when you feel you can go up to your defensive coordinator and talk with him about whatever, other than just football.”

Humphrey’s words are strong considering Smart was Alabama’s defensive coordinator for nearly a decade.

It’s only one kid, so take that for what it’s worth.  I would bet that Maurice Smith has a different opinion on Smart’s level of care.

Then again, maybe it’s about being around Nick Saban longer.


Filed under Alabama, Georgia Football

“Coach Pruitt has simplified a lot of stuff and it allows you to go play fast.”

Here’s an interesting piece on what Georgia’s former defensive coordinator has done as Alabama’s defensive coordinator since replacing Georgia’s current head coach.  Per the Sabanator,

“Well, I think that we’re playing the same system,” Saban said. “I think the one thing that we’ve done is we’ve repped the things that we’re going to play in the games, sort of pared it down a little bit. I think our players are a little bit more confident in what they’re supposed to do, the adjustments they need to make. I think they’ve played well because of that. It’s interesting to hear that the players think that, as well. It’s good to know.”

A little comparing, too:

Since taking over for Kirby Smart this year, Pruitt has created controlled chaos. After all, he hasn’t sacrificed aggressive tactics by condensing the playbook. The Tide is blitzing at a much higher rate than last year. During a three-game stretch earlier this season against Kent State, Kentucky and Arkansas, Alabama sent an extra rusher 49.5 percent of the time.

“Coach Pruitt, he does a great job at simplifying things for us to make sure that when we go out there on Saturday there’s not much confusion on the field and making sure everybody’s on the same page,” linebacker Shaun Dion Hamilton said.

Maybe Georgia’s defense could have used some simplifying in the fourth quarter last Saturday.


Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

Nick Saban and “immediate self-gratification”

You may have heard that another highly-rated defensive back just left the Alabama program.

Redshirt freshman cornerback Kendall Sheffield is transferring from Alabama.

Sheffield, a five-star prospect in the class of 2015, became a topic of conversation early in the week after he did not attend Crimson Tide practices Monday and Tuesday.

A Sheffield family member told ESPN that Sheffield was informed on Wednesday by Alabama football coach Nick Saban that he would receive his release from the school. The release has the stipulation that Sheffield cannot transfer to another SEC school.

Sheffield, the nation’s No. 3-ranked cornerback in 2015, has returned to his family home in the Houston area. He was running second team at cornerback prior to his decision to transfer.

Naturally, this has generated a great deal of introspection amongst the Tide faithful about what Saban might have done to lead to the rash of departures… okay, I keed, I keed.  Over at Roll Bama Roll, the lede is “Another CB prospect from Texas sulks over the depth chart.”

Meanwhile, Michael Casagrande has a piece that claims to make sense about the kids leaving the program.  And surprise — it’s not you, Nick, it’s those damned youngsters.

What’s behind that? Each transfer is unique while still fitting into a shifting culture among athletes one year after leaving high school. Barton Simmons, the director of scouting at 247Sports, said the proliferation of transfers among players while in high school is a factor.

“It becomes much more less taboo, much more of a standard operating procedure,” Simmons said. “I think that’s been a steady evolution towards this. But I think that’s just a challenge that a school like Alabama has to face on an annual basis due to the fact that they recruit at such a high level.”

Yeah, cry me a river… except Saban’s been recruiting at the same high level for years, but it’s 2016 that’s off the chart in the departures department, as even Casagrande acknowledges:

A total of 26 Alabama signees from the classes of 2010-16 have transferred before exhausting their eligibility. The 2015 class’s five departures already equals the 2013 group’s total three years later.[Emphasis added.]

The funny thing here is the dog that’s not barking.  Nobody’s mentioned the change at defensive coordinator.  Think Jeremy Pruitt might have had an effect here?  If you’re not sure, you might want to check out Georgia’s 2013 recruiting class, peeps.  The man has a way with kids he didn’t recruit.  He’ll also do just fine with the kids he does pull in.  It was, um… gratifying to watch him work the recruiting trail hard while he was in Athens.


Filed under Nick Saban Rules

“This is Coach Saban’s defense.”

Saban let his coordinators speak to the press this weekend, too.  If you’re interested, Jeremy Pruitt had some things to say related to his time at Georgia:

— Pruitt said he learned more about being a man coaching at Georgia under Mark Richt.

But what about learning more about coaching being a man at Georgia?

— At Georgia, they had to make up for having young players on back end of defense. It was different from Alabama and Florida State.

Good thing he was better at that than Todd Grantham was.

— Facing Alabama’s offense last year at Georgia, Pruitt said he was impressed with the size of the Tide players.

Weren’t we all…


Filed under Georgia Football

Nick Saban locks in the Greg McGarity discount.

Jeremy Pruitt is signed, sealed and delivered… at less than the going rate.

New Alabama defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt will save the program a little cash.

Though he’ll be one of the highest paid defensive coordinators in the country, his salary will be considerably less than his predecessor. The deal approved Tuesday will pay Pruitt $1 million a year and spans the next three seasons.

Former Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart made $1.5 million last season as the highest-paid assistant in the nation.

Not just a cut from what Kirby was making, either.  It’s also a cut from what Pruitt was getting paid in Athens last year.  Of course, once you add back in what Georgia still owes him, it’s all good.

Honestly, given the warm feelings between Pruitt and McGarity, I’m surprised he’s making as much as he is in Tuscaloosa.  Thanks, Nick.



Filed under It's Just Bidness, Nick Saban Rules

Very pretty, Coordinator. Very pretty. But, can they win?

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.



Filed under Georgia Football

Addition by subtraction, or subtraction by addition?

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.”


Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

I haz a sad over Alabama happy talk.

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!!!


Filed under Georgia Football