Posted: 1:59 pm Wednesday, January 15th, 2014

Georgia’s Pruitt: ‘I feel like this is championship staff’ 

By Jeff Schultz

Jeremy Pruitt was given an ovation when he met with Georgia players.

Jeremy Pruitt was given an ovation when he met with Georgia players.

ATHENS — Mark Richt walked into the team meeting room at the Butts-Mehre building Wednesday, scanned the crammed line of television cameras, photographers and media members filling several rows of seats in the room and said, “Wow. Must be a big day here.”

The fact the hiring of an assistant football coach could draw this kind of attention was kind of, yes, amusing. But the hiring of Jeremy Pruitt from national champion Florida State is kind of a big deal for defensively challenged Georgia. He didn’t help the Bulldogs win a game at his introduction but his words struck the right chord.

As the late, great Furman Bisher once responded when asked what he planned to write, here are some “general observations on the day’s events”:

1. What’s that? Early smack talk?

Pruitt never really answered why a coordinator would leave a national title team after one season (other than the obvious: more money). But he did say, “There’s no doubt this is the best conference in the country and I feel the University of Georgia is the best school in the conference. I wouldn’t be here today if I didn’t think that.”

Alabama on line two.

More Pruitt: “I feel like this is a championship staff. I wouldn’t be here today if I didn’t believe in coach Richt and what he stands for and where this program is going.”

He’ll do well on the booster banquet circuit.

2. It ain’t rocket science.

Georgia has talent. Anybody who believes the Bulldogs haven’t won a national title or enough SEC championships because it doesn’t have enough great players just isn’t paying attention. The problem is too often players are just doing the wrong things.

Pruitt brought this home when he was asked what the key was to coaching a successful secondary: “You have to have great eyes and the discipline to know where your eyes should be. If you’re running a 4.4 (40-yard dash) and you’re running in the wrong direction, you’re getting a long way from where you’re supposed to be in a hurry.”

The remarkable thing is he said that BEFORE looking at any Georgia game tape.

More: “A lot of people try to make football harder than what it is. It’s the details. It’s blocking. It’s tackling. It’s the fundamentals. It’s getting off blocks. To create turnovers, you have to practice creating turnovers. For interceptions, catch the ball. If the ball’s on the ground you have to secure it.”

How refreshing for a coach to not act like the smartest guy in the room.

3. Todd who?

Todd Grantham was in Athens for four years. I’m not saying anybody hated him but players seem to have quickly recovered from his departure. They broke out in applause when Pruitt walked into the room to address them Tuesday. They gave him another ovation after he spoke. Richt: “I never saw that in 30-some years of coaching. It doesn’t mean anything other than I think we got their attention and they’re excited.”

4. No more entitlement.

If you’ve ever had a sense that some Georgia players were starting because of how they’re supposed to play rather than how good they actually are, that’s about to end. Richt said Pruitt “told players, ‘I’m not going to give you what you want. I‘m going to give you what you earn.’ I think that resonated with a lot of them.”

5. And finally: Perspective people.

For too long, some people have viewed Richt’s spirituality and perspective on life as coaching weaknesses, as if those traits are the reasons he hasn’t won a national title. OK, so try this:

Pruitt spent several years in public education. He knows coaching is about far more than football. “I was at an elementary school, (kindergarten) through third grade, as a PE teacher. When you see kids and you don’t know where they lay their head at night and where they got their last meal, you realize there are a lot more important things than football.”

Richt soon interrupted him and cracked: “Some Georgia fans hate to hear that. But most of them have a grip on that.”

Most? Maybe.

The early reviews are positive. The real reviews begin next fall.

212 comments
greenedefense
greenedefense

I agree with Jeremy Pruitt now that the staff is completed. The staff rivals any of the top five staffs in the country.

RealProblem
RealProblem

Great hire, period. Sad he will get washed out the door when we get a new head coach.


Dawg350
Dawg350

Dead days on the blogs are here! I guess they're nothing to talk about. Plus the new format probably is scaring a few folks off.

BrianBraswell
BrianBraswell

I hope he does a better job at keeping his pants on at Georgia than he did at FSU... Beware ladies Jeremy is on the loose in Georgia!

Twomuch
Twomuch

Don't let Pruitt hype you guys up. He left a better job and FSU was going to match the money. FSU has better talent on defense and a easier road to another Championship. Pruitt knows that UGA is not the best team in the SEC and he knows he has his work cut out for him. The only reason he's there is because he had issues with women while being engaged. You don't leave a Championship team after one year of being a DC for 300k more. 

C-Kirk
C-Kirk

Pruitt is not a fool. He worked under Saban too long  not to realize that to have the opportunity to be a coach in the SEC is being at the top of College Football.

Yes the SEC was not as strong this year after rebuilding because the SEC teams sent more players to the Pro's in 2013 than all the other Conferences combined. We only had 4 top 10 teams and 7 top 25 team. We did get 2ND, 4TH, 5TH and  7TH. Not bad for a down year.

2014 will see the SEC much stronger. Tennessee, Georgia and Florida will all be much better if they can find Quarterback's and will be the class of the East. I don't know enough about Missouri yet to make a prediction.

South Carolina will have a good Defense but I don't think a good enough Quarterback to compete for the EAST.

The West will be Auburn, Alabama and LSU. Can't wait until September.

PalmBeachFalcon
PalmBeachFalcon

What's the REAL skinny on why Pruitt left FSU for UGA?  His much younger fiancee' caught him philandering and made him leave Talahassee for athens???

RickinWarnerRobins
RickinWarnerRobins

He calls UGA the best in the SEC...he'd delusional and is there only because his defense at FSU was porous and he was most likely going to be replaced anyway.  If not, why would anyone leave the number one team in the country?  There's more to this story than meets the eye...to leave #1 and go to a team known for choking...something is rotten in Denmark.

SvenOttke
SvenOttke

That is choice for Thomas Brown to call posters cowards.  This coming from a guy who posts under about 5 different handles.  You can't be serious.

Globeflyer
Globeflyer

Well, give him credit. He's saying all the "right stuff". How long it takes him to get the Dawg D up to speed will be interesting to watch.

SEP-AU
SEP-AU

Of course it is.  Georgia has had a 'championship' staff for the last 14 years. 

Redfin
Redfin

Careful "Shootz",  you left the coolaid setting out and now it"s fermented .   Sure,  Pruit is supposed to be the real deal,  but you haven't accounted for Mark Richt...........the #1 problem with this program all along.   Stop and think for a minute why Richts" name never comes up for coach hirings.

wreckmaniac
wreckmaniac

All this does is deflect the attention from the real problem.  CMR.   And  dwag fans fall for it every time.

Its getting old.  But what is entertaining is that it works every single time.  The thinkers know what I'm talking about. This maneuver always shuts up the naysayers.

TideDawg
TideDawg

markstouffer......when you are crystal balling you can have it any way you want until the truth arrives.


Ga, was in need of a defensive fix. After Grantham, a homeless person would have been welcome.


FSU didn't stop Auburn, but they did beat them. That's what counts.


3-4 months from now nobody will remember how FSU won it or why. All the focus will switch to the approaching kickoff in Sept. Put that crystal ball in the trophy case and forget it. Time to move on.


Bucky........how is it that none of the OSU faithful are talking about next year?

markstouffer
markstouffer

As an FSU alum I can say that I thought Pruitt did a great job.  That said, the UGA faithful seem to be fawning pretty hard over a guy that was a DC for 1 year in the ACC.  Seems like a lot of SEC people claimed our D was only good because we didn't face anyone.  So, which is it?  Were we just decent and facing decrepit ACC O's or was Pruitt a genius in 1 yr?  You can't have it both ways.

TideDawg
TideDawg

Don't despair about losing defensive coaches. Pruitt probably already had coaches in mind when he took the job.

TideDawg
TideDawg

What's so great about beating GT 12 out of 13 times. When you brag about it, all you do is enhance their status. Let them rest. They are a W in the won/ loss column as long as PJ is there.


Bucky....dogs bark....Dawgs talk!! What sound does a Buckeye make. I heard a squishing sound when Clemson and MSU finished with them.

THEBuckeye
THEBuckeye

Talk is cheap. 


dogs like to talk this time of year.

SvenOttke
SvenOttke

Jeff, it sounds like it's starting to come to light why he would leave the BCA champ to come to UGa.  And not for the right reasons.  Sounds like a Lil' Petino is the reason and to get out of dodge.  Rose already off!

MesaDawg
MesaDawg

Will wait and see how all these hires perform come next season.  Right now a lot of hype and promise but it has to translate on the field.  I'll believe it when the D doesn't give up anymore 3rd and forever, long TD passes to wide open receivers, knocks the ball down (you know what that refers too), defend the perimeter, TACKLES, more pressure on the QB, and vastly improved ST.  Won't take long to find out w/Clemson and SC early on. Hope all the hype is more than a flash in the pan.   

Surelyyoujest
Surelyyoujest

Were these comments made before or after he fired the 2 other defenses coaches?

TheOldGuy
TheOldGuy

And Bama got Lane Kiffin. Hahahaha!!!!  Bad boyz  bad boyz !!!!!


And Tech got Ted Roof from Duke last year. Hahahahaha !!!!!!!!!


Steve Spurrier won at Duke.  David Cutcliffe wins at Duke.   Ted Roof not so much.


The world is a wonderful place.  We got a new DC and tech still has Paul Johnson.

bulldogsteve
bulldogsteve

How come there is NO mention of Grantham or his brother on the Louisville website?

RedandBlackDAWG
RedandBlackDAWG

Red and Black DAWG Ignores Troll's Comments

Starting from scratch really puts the pressure on the D coach's backs early, but it appears that the new DC, has got the players attention already, and once he assembles the rest of the staff, I think UGA will be a lot better off than they have been for the last couple of years on defense.

The athletes are here so they just need to be taught properly  learn how to win. 

I like his comments about football, basically not being rocket science and should not be that difficult or complicated to play. I think Coach Grantham's 3-4 with the numerous schemes for each play and position movement, may have been too much to absorb and pull off successfully. I think we may also see some improvement in our secondary, because I don't think the new coach  would have any qualms about shuffling out some folks that didn't do too well, and inserting lesser known folks, that are really able to do the job. He doesn't have the  disadvantage of trying to get a kid, who is under performing at his position,to live up to the rep. he has, but doesn't show now on the field. His prove it on the field and earn the position attitude, I think will create a healthy spirit of competition for the team. 

This years recruiting class may lose a couple of folks previously committed, but I think in the future, the new coach will more than make up for it, in that area. For those without patience, as a lot of UGA fans are, it will make no difference, since they expect no matter what, that the problems that have cropped up the last couple of years on defense to be instantly fixed, but it will take the new coach a few games to get everybody on the same page. He does appear though to be enthusiastic , knowledgeable and very football savvy, so I think he will turn it around for UGA's defense.

FreddieBlassie
FreddieBlassie

As a Georgia Tech alumnus, all I have to say is: "Damn!".

MoistDawg
MoistDawg

looks like moist isnt the only one who thinks this is a champion staff!  it looks like pruitt has the attitude we need in athens.  ive said before we need to be more nwo/ric flair and less rock n roll express that will put us over the top in our quest for the cristal.  mabey we could go get ray lewis for that vacant def coaching job?  whatever the choice it is clear that this year we are SERIOUS about taking this confrence over!!!

Dawg350
Dawg350

Y'all just jealous because Pruitt is getting more than the whole tech fan base! Lmao!

Armydawg
Armydawg

@Twomuch "You don't leave a Championship team after one year of being a DC for 300k more."    Pruitt left for that reason and to get out of the SEC's bit@h conference.

Andy123
Andy123

@Twomuch Having been on both campuses, you might be right because UGA is loaded with 3.9 GPA HOPE Scholarship fatties who need to drop the freshman 25.


FSU is loaded with chicks in short skirts and even shorter shorts but then again they have the weather and the bodies to wear them. 

Dawg350
Dawg350

Two much

So he came just to get away from the women huh? Yeah their is no women in Athens....it's a catholic ground of sacred women and nuns! Lmao! Yeah the money had nothing to do with the move huh?? Because money doesn't talk huh?? Pruitt will be a good one and you tech fans will just have to accept it. We don't even need a DC to be tech! Lmao! Pruitt came to UGA simply because he wanted to be here!

FireSomebody
FireSomebody

@Twomuch First, according to the article he didn't say Georgia was the best team in the SEC. He said it was the best school in the conference.  When environment, academics, athletics, and geogrpahy are taken into account, his statement is easily supported. Second, I suppose you are much closer to the reason he left than FSU's own AD, who refuted the allegations and called all fans like yourself nothing but butt-hurt.

YupUGA
YupUGA

@Twomuch He left the pansy ACC to coach in the best football conference. Anybody would do the same. FlaSt won by playing in a weak conference and because the SEC had their weakest season in years.

ThomasBrown
ThomasBrown

@SvenOttke


Name any of the about 5 different handles I post here as ?


You cannot because you are a coward.  "Louisville is a better job than UGA."  Good Lord.

Tallcarl
Tallcarl

Careful Redfin your rabid ranting is getting saliva on you keyboard. CMR has a life-time job at one of the best Universities in the South, more pay than he ever needed and a stable life on a beautiful campus. He is loved and respected by everyone in the coaching community, professional and college and has only to continue as his current success rate

during the long term and will be a Hall of Fame member. By your measurement Joe Paterno was also worthless. You should have informed Penn State and saved them from over 300 victories.

keendaddy
keendaddy

Wreck

We've beat your team about 27 times in a row ! Come back when tech becomes relevant...

FalconUGAFan
FalconUGAFan

@markstouffer These things typically fall somewhat in the middle. Seems like he is an good coach. Thank you for not retaining him, but time will tell if he is a great coach.

WDE
WDE

@THEBuckeye I would be willing to bet that if you ever found time to go to a OSU blog ....that they are talking at this time of year too....but you would have to take a few minutes away from a UGA blog to confirm that....

Classof98
Classof98

@THEBuckeye You've done nothing but talk while Ohio State fell flat on their face.


You're a GT fan, anyway.  Twelve out of thirteen, nerd.

SilentCal
SilentCal

@Tallcarl I call BS. All the Richtophiles love to compare him to Osborne and Paterno, but there is one HUGE difference...those coaches were winning conference championships every other year (in Osborne's case) and had their teams playing for national championships often. Richt does neither. If you compare your hero to anyone, John Cooper fits him perfectly. However, unlike our alumns and fans, Ohio State was not content with Citrus Bowl births and 10 win seasons. They are winners.

Armydawg
Armydawg

@Andy123 @YupUGA @Twomuch Yeah? read the article about Tech's departure from the SEC.  Their football program has never recovered.  The ACC is nothing more than a gaggle of SEC rejects and wannabees, always on the outside looking in at football.  Of course, adding Louisville, Syracuse and Weak Sisters U may help raise the talent level for sure.