Posted: 12:10 pm Wednesday, January 15th, 2014

Jeremy Pruitt was Bulldogs’ first and only choice, hence swift hire 

By Chip Towers

georgia bulldogs, jeremy pruitt, mark richt, defense, defensive coordinator, college football, sec, southeastern conference

Georgia head coach Mark Richt only spoke directly to two candidates, settling with Jeremy Pruitt as his defensive coordinator. (Curtis Compton / AJC)

It’s been interesting to read the some accounts of what happened during Georgia’s brief search for a defensive coordinator. Some would have you believe the Bulldogs had this intense back-and-forth negotiation with Alabama’s Kirby Smart before then turning their attention to Jeremy Pruitt.

Logic and the timeline as outlined by coach Mark Richt on Tuesday indicate that scenario could not be further from the truth. For better or worse, Jeremy Pruitt was Georgia’s first and only choice.

Think about it. At the earliest, it would have been Sunday before Mark Richt could have turned his attention to hiring a replacement for Todd Grantham. It wasn’t until after Georgia’s basketball game against Alabama that the Bulldogs were informed of Louisville’s interest by Grantham, and Grantham said he needed some time to think about it. On Sunday Grantham told Georgia of the five-year, $5 million offer and was told the Bulldogs wouldn’t match it. By Monday night, Pruitt was in Athens. He was the Bulldogs’ coach by lunchtime Tuesday.

Photos: Georgia introduces defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt

“We had a 4 o’clock meeting the day (Monday) after Coach Grantham told me (he was leaving),” Richt said. “Within 24 hours we had another 4 o’clock meeting and I introduced Coach Pruitt to the players. So it did happen fast and I’m thankful it did. But I’m most thankful we got the right man for the job.”

As for UGA floating these exorbitant salaries Smart’s way, that makes no sense on many levels. First of all, Smart already embarrassed Georgia once. He was the first to turn them down after Richt fired Willie Martinez in 2009. Bud Foster and John Chavis followed suit and each of them left with hefty raises from their respective schools. The Bulldogs weren’t about to go down that road again.

“You take a risk if you shoot for the stars, so to speak,” Richt said at Pruitt’s introductory news conference on Tuesday. “A guy might be totally sincere in his desire to be on your staff and right at the moment of truth he’s not able to do it, and for good reasons. … If you do a lot of that, it could prolong your search. Thankfully Coach Pruitt was very sincere in his interest and was sincere in following through with doing what he said he wanted to do. I’m very grateful to him because of it because we’re got here very quickly.”

Never mind the complications of bringing in Smart — a peer and close friend of offensive coordinator Mike Bobo — at $1 million more a year in salary than the next closest assistant, which happens to be Bobo. That would probably be negative. Smart was already making $1.3 million at Alabama while winning national championships and working for an older coach. He would have required at least a 10 percent raise to make a lateral move and probably more.

Finally, this hire appears to be a move based primarily on relationships. Pruitt spoke of Georgia’s Will Friend, his former roommate at Alabama, being his best friend and somebody he has talked to every week. In fact, it was Friend who brokered the whole deal, initially reaching out to his buddy. Pruitt also called Bobo and John Lilly  friends and has gotten to know Bryan McClendon well on the recruiting trail over the years.

But multiple times, Pruitt said the main reason he’s now at Georgia was, “the guy sitting next to me right here,” referring to Richt. They’d first met when Pruitt was a high school assistant and brought over a couple of prospects from Ft. Payne High.

“I said then that was somebody I wanted to work for if I ever got a chance,” Pruitt said.

As for leaving the FSU and Jimbo Fisher, for whom he worked only one year and won a national championship in that one, Pruitt was succinct in his explanation.

“Coach Fisher and me are good friends, but when I decided what I wanted to do, I let him know and that was it,” Pruitt said.

Richt did say he made “one other phone call” at the outset of his search. That may or may not have been to Smart to gauge interest. But it certainly never got to the point that anything in the way of terms or conditions would have been discussed. Very quickly the Bulldogs were laser-focused on Pruitt and vice-versa. Such things aren’t kept but it might have been a record turnaround at Georgia, certainly in the Richt.

This was a one-man show, and Richt got his man.

“It was almost like there was divine intervention,” Richt said.

http://link.brightcove.com/services/player/bcpid1496419233001?bctid=3058421246001

171 comments
FrankFraticelli
FrankFraticelli

Pruitt, first choice, last choice - who cares! He's ours and he still smells good coming off the NC at FSU. Next year will tell the tale - but with Pruitt, I don't think we will see our defense making the same dumb plays in game 13 they made in game 1.

And hey, Todd! If your defenses were the backbone of our SEC East championships I would rather be spineless! I guess that record breaking offense that bailed out your sorry defenses time and time again didn't have anything to do with that backbone, huh!

FrankFraticelli
FrankFraticelli

I think some posters on this blog were abused children - all you do is launch personal attacks and use the most absurd reasoning to justify your point of view. Look, everyone is entitled to an opinion, but at least be smart enough to admit you have "seen the light" if someone shows you that your latest statement was a bit off. And as for some of the endless stats some of you post - get a life. Is that all you do all day is troll the Internet sites for facts and figures? Stats can be manipulated and never tell the whole story - they are useful but are hardly the one and all some of you make them out to be so, please, stop trying to club other posters with your "facts". You really will not change anyone's mind that way.

Much of the conversation on here goes the way of most political talk - heated conversation backed by little real information or substance and when there is substance it is always held up as undeniable truth which it seldom is. Facts are like any tool - they can do the job when properly used and can be worse than useless when badly used.

And as for you posters who just post to be irritating - well, as long as there are people there will be a**Holes. Really, why don't you go play with yourselves somewhere else and let the fans talk about what we care about - hopefully, in a civil, entertaining and POSSIBLY even informative way! Wow, what an idea!

And some of you - you post to this blog, you post to the Tech blog - you are so obvious and busted. If you're a Techie - you have a blog. Go play there. Why come over here just to throw trash around. And to all of you Dawg Fans -- c'mon - show a little class and leave the Tech people alone. Tech is a good school and as I have said before, we all love our team and want them to do well. There should be a spirit that recognizes that and realizes that when our teams lose there is much anxiety and consternation. We don't need anybody coming over to our boards after a bad game or a less than stellar season and rubbing it in. We can rub it in on our OWN blogs amongst ourselves.  

These blogs REALLY could be fun and even refreshing if the fans would just act their age. It's a game - it's not life or death. Well, maybe in Alabama it is. But not here. Life is not football, folks - it's supposed to be fun and relaxing and a nice part of life - but not the center of your universe. Win or lose - the Dawgs rule! Hey, that doesn't mean I love 'em all of the time - kind of like marriage - you don't feel in love everyday - but you're still committed <G>

CaliDawg
CaliDawg

After backing out on is agreement a few years back to come "home"...Kirby Smart will never work for UGA as long as this administration is in place...and that is not Smart's decision.

TideDawg
TideDawg

Pruitt should prove to be a good hire. However, if the Dawg defense isn't much improved you won't be able to find anybody on the blogs that will admit they thought it was a good hire. Sing his praises now, but reality is only 8 months away.

TideDawg
TideDawg

I think the Buckeye and his wanna be life partner were in the islands together. Maybe I missed it, but I don't remember seeing a post by either while Bucky was gone.

ChrisShields
ChrisShields

Where is Bckeye on here?  Usually he is always trolling our blogs.  Oh thats right, Michigan State beat that a** and then 12th ranked Clemson beat you in the Orange bowl.

Dawg350
Dawg350

Bucky

The buckeyes are overrated and they proved my point....lost too the only good teams they played! Bababababababababababaa!

Dawg350
Dawg350

Pruitt needs to get on the ball already and some new guys! I'm glad they're gone because I'm not sold on any of the defensive staff! We need to find a couple of assist coaches that really love UGA!

Lambert Dawg
Lambert Dawg

I hope this turns out to be Coach Friends best recruit.  I appears Coach Pruitt  may be a "5 Star".  Welcome to Athens Coach Pruitt, best of luck  and God Bless you and your family.

Princess_Leia
Princess_Leia

Kroger is now selling UGA T-shirts 4 for $10. They were 3 for $10, but the news about all the rats leaving the sinking ship stimulated the lower price.


But just wait, next week they'll be giving them away with every $5 purchase. :-)

ThomasBrownUGA
ThomasBrownUGA

I love these Georgie tek fans talking about how great their education # 36 like they are # 1 Princeton or Harvard.


How Ted Roof is so much better a DC than our new guy. Never considered he quit Georgie tek to go to Duke same position ?


How underachieving we are at UGA because we have # 8 class in recruiting while they have # 52.  Not that Georgie tek is better, but give them a break because well no one wants to practice against that offense every day.


Boo hoo.

gtcaryd
gtcaryd

ThomAss, FSU wasnt deserving to be in the NC game with the mighty SEC, isnt that the load of crap you were spewing. Now you have your new savior from that very team, You still need to cut the head of that snake off.

wreckmaniac
wreckmaniac

Richt keeps this job forever by firing and hiring.

MaybeMaybeNot
MaybeMaybeNot

Puppy Dog fans become delusional every year about this time.  


They get a top 10 recruiting class and some young new coaches and they are already making plans to be ATL for the SEC championship game and ready to crown themselves winners of the new playoff championship.


Then of course, as always, reality sets in September when they play Clemson and South Carolina.....


By the way Puppy Doggies, what became of the recruiting class called the Dream Team.....shouldn't you have won the last 3 National Championships with that class?

NCDawg
NCDawg

Looks like Coach Wison and Coach Olivadotti are gone as well.  So Coach Pruitt will be starting from scratch.  I wonder if he will poach any of FSU's staff?  The guy they eventually hire may want to bring in his own guys so at least someone that he has worked with will be available.

Furrdaddy
Furrdaddy

He also mentioned that D line coach Wilson is considering the same position at USC. (Cali)

Furrdaddy
Furrdaddy

Seth Emerson of The Telegraph just broke the news that linebackers coach Olivadotti is leaving to go back with the Washington Redskins.

One more vacancy to fill. probably had to do with the fact that Richt mentioned at the news conference that they would be hiring an outside linebacker coach.

UGA/85'

PigIron
PigIron

"First and only choice", huh?


So then, had Pruitt said "no thanks", then Georgia would have gotten by without a DC?


Hmmm...

Dewnsav
Dewnsav

nice..."Mark Richt is someone I always wanted to work for if I ever got the chance"...gag on that haters...shows how much you football wizards know...squat...go dogs

keendaddy
keendaddy

UGAMark

You come to this blog like once, and try to act Phonetically Superior to these pitiful sports journalist, who are just trying to feed their starving families? What an @$$ hat you are! Carefully come down from that high-horse you rode in on and take a hike...

wreckmaniac
wreckmaniac

Old Man:  Don't tell this crowd that UGA doesn't have talent.  This crowd is convinced that UGA has the talent to win the next three SuperBowls.   And they're probably right but the fact remains that they can't the SEC.

JimODawg
JimODawg

I'm thinkin that call went 2 Brian Van Gorder

Truthmoses
Truthmoses

UGAMark, you're gonna have to reach deep within yourself and find a way to let it go......

UGAMark
UGAMark

So much for proofreading an article before publishing it.  Do any of these AJC sports writers have any professionalism to notice half the typos they make??

JimODawg
JimODawg

Welcome Mr. Pruitt!

He won a National Championship at Bama last year as an assistant. Bama's defense was not as good this year. He was at FSU for one year. FSU won the NC. He just might the man we've been hoping for to take UGA to the NC game, and WIN it.

 GO DAWGS!!!!!!! 

DawgNole
DawgNole

@FrankFraticelli 

Good gracious! What a puffed-up "preachuh" you are. Quit wasting your time--and ours--with sermons. The blogs are a public forum--and mostly free. As such, they'll bring out all the riff-raff. If you don't like it, get off--or address the idiots personally--but leave the rest of us out of your pompous lectures. 

Dawg350
Dawg350

Princess

I heard tech is giving away free season tickets next year?? You feel good about that? Lmao!

SimpleDawg
SimpleDawg

@Princess_Leia Hey Leia, that's not even anywhere close to being a witty needle, especially considering the UGA Athletic Dept. is among the most profitable in College Sports.


Now, had you directed your attempt at humor towards GIT, it may have been funny. 

AnybodyButUGA
AnybodyButUGA

@ThomasBrown Does it bother anyone else that he can't spell "Tech" ??? That pretty much sums up my opinion of most UGA fans... You can 't even spell the name of your in state rival........ Chirp Chirp. Where my dawwwwwwgs at?

ThomasBrownUGA
ThomasBrownUGA

@wreckmaniac


Paul Johnson keeps his job forever by losing to Mark Richt because well Georgie tek doesn't care.

ThomasBrownUGA
ThomasBrownUGA

@MaybeMaybeNot 


"Puppy Dog fans become delusional every year about this time.  Then of course, as always, reality sets in when they play Clemson and South Carolina."


38-16-4 UGA over Clemson

44-17-2 UGA over South Carolina

But, hey don't let facts get in your way, when you're on a delusional roll.  Who is your team ?  Clemson  who has lost to us 22 more times than they've beat us, or South Carolina who has lost to us 27 more times than they've beat us ?


Or, someone else we beat like a damn drum ?

ThomasBrownUGA
ThomasBrownUGA

@NCDawg


Excuse me NCDawg sir, but for 2 days now you've repeatedly been saying how great it is that Jeremy Pruitt will keep these 2 guys, while every time I replied to you that they go.  Now, you post yet another B.S. post NCDawg, that now proclaims he may want to bring in his own guys so at least someone that he has worked with will be with him.


I guess I am confused ?

NCDawg
NCDawg

@PigIronI sure hope that you know better than that.  Damn dude...there was nothing in that statement that needed to be spun like that.

Dawg350
Dawg350

Pig iron

What's in a pig? Lmao!

NCDawg
NCDawg

@Dewnsav- there are a bunch of idiots on these boards that assume that Coach Richt is not well respected in college football because THEIR assessemnt of him is the only right way to view him.  We saw in this process that Coach Richt is highly respected... and in in Coach Pruitt's case almost revered.

MaybeMaybeNot
MaybeMaybeNot

@DewnsavWhat do you expect him to say at his news conference announcing his hiring?


"Coach Richt is someone I will reluctantly work for because I know he will never win a Championship as long as he is a coach here and I am just taking this job as a stepping stone for the first decent head coaching opportunity that comes along."

keendaddy
keendaddy

Doesn't say much for Tech, lol...

NCDawg
NCDawg

@JimODawghe is the new DC at Notre Dame.  Your thinking is ill informed.

NCDawg
NCDawg

@AnybodyButUGA@ThomasBrown- I can spell Tech... and I can spell what they really are: LOSERS.  I can stop there or slap you around some more... which will it be Garbage Can Scavenger?

LMAO!

AnybodyButUGA
AnybodyButUGA

@ThomasBrown@MaybeMaybeNot


Wait you want to use facts?? You lost to Clemson this year? and I recent years lost a lot to USC...

September 11, 2010 South Carolina 17–6

September 10, 2011 South Carolina 45–42

October 6, 2012        South Carolina 35–7

September 7, 2013   Georgia  41–30


Unless college football has changed, I'm pretty sure they don't hand out the victory to the team that as the better historical record.. Just refer to the game on Oct. 19th 2013.

UGA lost to Vanderbilt. VANDERBILT. Yes, so did UT and UF... But they were never once considered a "legitimate national championship contender" like UGA.


Give me a break Thomas. You are just a sore loser. My pet dog I rescued from the pound has better reasoning skills than you.





NCDawg
NCDawg

@ThomasBrown- when did you ever reply to a post about that?  Dude, you have serious problems.  I truly think your psychosis rearranges words on a screen to fit your current state of mind.


Did you read what I posted?  I was merely pointing out that they were leaving.  As of this time yesterday they were free to stay if they wanted to.  



Get help.  You have serious issues sir.

ThomasBrownUGA
ThomasBrownUGA

@NCDawg


Excuse me again NCDawg, that is what Chip Towers said Mark Richt said.  And, then in the last paragraph Chip Towers says Mark Richt made one other phone call, contradicting it.

ThomasBrownUGA
ThomasBrownUGA

@NCDawg


I think we all know Mark Richt is not even in the Top 25 for the current 4-year period at # 27 only 36-18, and # 22 for current 6-year period only 54-26.  I say we all know, but is that true NCDawg, sir ?  And, that while long ago 2001-2007 he was 16-13 vs ranked teams that season, he has also dropped off to but 7-22 for the current 6-year period.  You do know that too right NCDawg ?


What is this assessment of Mark Richt the current 4-year and current 6-year periods that you allude to here NCDawg, as how you view him in the right way sir ?


I like Mark Richt.  He is great for my alma mater.  How do you view him current 4-year and current 6-year period NCDawg since you state you have some aversion for something you read someone say about Mark Richt recently ?

ThomasBrownUGA
ThomasBrownUGA

@MaybeMaybeNot


Well, I expect him to tell the truth, unlike you MaybeMaybeNot.


Mark Richt is a very likable guy who was doing great until he hired Todd Grantham or maybe just before that, but certainly gas on the fire with Todd Grantham.  He has some Special Teams to shore up.  He recruits the hell out of most coaches, not all but many and that is what this man Jeremy Pruitt is most known for - recruiting.


Georgia does have more there for his hiring than FSU had at national championship interviews.


It is a far better school # 60 vs # 91.


It is The SEC.  Do I need to explain this one to you too MaybeMaybeNot ?


So, no, I expect Jeremy Pruitt to tell the truth.


Which clearly is what he has continued to do for 2 days' now.


Then, we come in here and according to you, he just lies about wanting this job.


He is a former Alabama guy, who certainly knows what it is like to be at a school where Football is what the world revolves around.


Georgia is a very good job.  He says it is better than FSU job.


I am not sure I disagree with that.


You certainly have made no point to the contrary to contradict Jeremy Pruitt, or I would be sitting here typing to you off the top of my head where UGA is a great job, rather than stating that Jeremy Pruitt has been truthful about why he took this job.


You might not like what he said.


But, you have no point to contradict him that I see.


Want to go down that road MaybeMaybeNot ?


I didn't think so wimp.

AnybodyButUGA
AnybodyButUGA

@NCDawg @ThomasBrown  I am not a tech fan. I am a fan of the game. Yes, Tech is a "Loser". And so was UGA when they lost to Vandy. Get back to me when you actually get to a real bowl game.

Dumb dumb dumb..