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Pruitt Winning Over Georgia In Ways Grantham Didn’T


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http://www.myajc.com....257107.735447?

By Jeff Schultz - The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

ATHENS —

There is a fundamental truth that even the most brilliant and self-absorbed of college football coaches understand: Before he can sell a player on his scheme, he has to sell himself.

This isn’t Pop Warner. This isn’t high school. The buy-in for a college player isn’t automatic. He’s older. He’s a little more self-assured and a little less likely to be intimidated by a coach’s stare. A fifth-year senior has probably seen the mad-raving-lunatic-new-coach act more than once.These kids need to be sold.

“It’s not like high school when they’re are in awe of you,” Jeremy Pruitt said as he stood in a corridor of Georgia’s Butts-Mehre Heritage Hall. “Some of these guys are 21, 22 years old. The big thing to me is, the older guys know what they want, and you have to help them get what they want. Because if they believe you can help them get what they want, then you’ve got them.”

Georgia hasn’t played a game yet this season, but I already believe one thing about Pruitt, their new defensive coordinator, that I never believed in four years about Todd Grantham, his predecessor: He’s got them.

Returning defensive players — those who haven’t already been dismissed from the program or left because their feelings were hurt — seem to speak in ways about Pruitt that they never did about Grantham. There’s reverence, respect, a belief in their coach. Before, it seemed more focused on whether their coach was their pal and played to their ego.

Defensive back Damian Swann said Pruitt brings something to Georgia that was missing under Grantham:

“The demand. He tells you what he wants, and he demands it. And I don’t mean that in a bad way — he shows you. He’s an excellent teacher.”

Linebacker Jordan Jenkins referred to Grantham, now at Louisville, as “an NFL coach.” It wasn’t meant as a compliment.

“He’s good with guys who aren’t wrong,” Jenkins said. “But young guys would get confused (at his scheme). I just feel like we all are going to understand things a lot more now. I was in a meeting today when he was going over a play, and coach Pruitt said, ‘Now, don’t not listen to me about this play just because it doesn’t relate to your position. Knowing this will help you understand the defense.’

“While he was speaking, I kept picturing myself in a similar situation last year where if I understood the principle better I could’ve made a play. I got goose bumps just thinking about it. Really, I got goose bumps.”

It has been six months since Pruitt made the surprising decision to leave Florida State, just eight days following the Seminoles’ national title win. Money and autonomy generally factor into these decisions, but there’s also a strong sense that Pruitt felt more comfortable with the idea of working for Richt in Athens than working for Jimbo Fisher in Tallahassee.

We’ll see how this goes. But it’s difficult not to believe Pruitt won’t be successful.

His task isn’t easy. Georgia’s defense has had recent a history of underperforming relative to its perceived talent level. The Dogs ranked among the SEC’s worst teams in 2013 in pass defense, total defense, points allowed and takeaways. When Grantham got a job offer at Louisville, Georgia coach Mark Richt probably was ready to drive him to the airport.

This offseason also has seen six player arrests, one suspension and three transfers, all on defense.

Pruitt doesn’t seem to care. He’s new. He doesn’t have any preconceived notions about players and therefore doesn’t count player losses as, well, losses.

“I never had them anyhow,” he said. “I’d like to focus on the players who are at Georgia, not the ones who aren’t here.”

Here’s the thing about some high-profile college players, Georgia’s included: They came with a sense of entitlement. It’s a common byproduct of recruiting. Eighteen-year-olds are treated like super heroes and get drunk on their star rankings.

“There’s been a lot of really good football players, Hall of Famers, who were redshirted in college,” Pruitt said. “But now one of the first things kids want to talk about is their opportunity to play. We don’t really care how many stars they have. We want the right guys. But in their mind I think they start believing, ‘You know, ‘I’m the fourth-best such-and-such.’ The guys who come here and just focus on getting better every day are the guys who usually have success.”

Pruitt is direct, in your face. He’s not going to pander to a player or stroke his ego.

Richt smiled when asked if that was a rude awakening for some returning players.

“I’d say maybe there was a little bit of a shock to their system,” he said.

“He doesn’t have time for a guy who’s not serious about learning what to do. He’ll get on the guy and then that guy will just move (down) the depth chart. He’s following through on what he said in the first meeting, which is, ‘I’m not going to give you what you want, I’m going to give you what you earn.’”

Are you starting to believe there might be a greater sense of accountability?

I asked Pruitt what struck him most when he first watched game film from last season.

“Inconsistency,” he said. “There’s one quarter when they don’t give up any points and the next quarter when they give up 21. What was different? Sure, the other team is going to make plays, but once they do you can’t duck your head, you have to keep fighting and make plays.”

He doesn’t terrorize his players. To the contrary, he had four dinners (each class level) for defensive backs.

“You have to create an atmosphere where they feel like it’s home,” he said.

Over burgers and hot dogs, players continued to buy what Pruitt was selling.

“I know some guys left,” Swann said, “but I want to play for this guy.”

Got him.

Edited by RedandBlack4Life!
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I like the article and all but it's more of an indictment on Richt. Why would you allow your defensive coordinator to act like that. We were all on Richt when we wanted Martinez gone and now this nonsense about Grantham, but now it's all good because Pruitt is here. And this will probably last for maybe 2 or 3 years like has been the case lately. I'm sorry but it's time for Richt to answer some serious questions.

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I love Pruitt and think you Georgia fans will as well. As opposite from Grantham as you can get, Pruitt is a high school coach at heart and a teacher. Jeremy's Dad Dale is one of the most successful high school coaches ever in the county where I am from in Alabama - a legend. Jeremy learned under his Dad, as a player at Alabama under Gene Stallings and Brother Oliver, and as a college assistant under Saban - that is a heck of a pedigree. It does not get mentioned often but he also learned as a high school assistant under Rush Propst - love him or hate him, Propst dominated Alabama High School football for a decade running the hurry-up spread - that is very important right now.

With respect to Grantham, my personal opinion is he is a clown. Georgia fans certainly did not want to hear it but his temperament was never suited for the college game. Pruitt will not embarrass you.

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I love Pruitt and think you Georgia fans will as well. As opposite from Grantham as you can get, Pruitt is a high school coach at heart and a teacher. Jeremy's Dad Dale is one of the most successful high school coaches ever in the county where I am from in Alabama - a legend. Jeremy learned under his Dad, as a player at Alabama under Gene Stallings and Brother Oliver, and as a college assistant under Saban - that is a heck of a pedigree. It does not get mentioned often but he also learned as a high school assistant under Rush Propst - love him or hate him, Propst dominated Alabama High School football for a decade running the hurry-up spread - that is very important right now.

With respect to Grantham, my personal opinion is he is a clown. Georgia fans certainly did not want to hear it but his temperament was never suited for the college game. Pruitt will not embarrass you.

I did not know that about Propst. And that's an interesting note as far as him being well versed in the spread in that fashion.

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I did not know that about Propst. And that's an interesting note as far as him being well versed in the spread in that fashion.

Here is a blurb from the Spread Offense page on Wiki - Jeremy was the D-Coordinator for Hoover:

Rush Propst using it won 5 state titles at Hoover High School in Alabama. Due to Propst's success many teams in Alabama run the spread. However, Propst's offense was created by consultant (now offensive coodinator at Cal-Berkeley) Tony Franklin.

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in one of his first interviews and articles pruitt talked about his experience with the spread at hoover and how that helped him in being able to defend it. that's one of the issues with nfl guys they struggle with defending it. monte kiffin never could figure it out. it's been such a problem that they had defensive meetings this offseason with a bunch of different nfl teams on how to defend spread offenses. regarding propst i know he did a lot of stuff that got him ran out of alabama, but the guy knows football.

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in one of his first interviews and articles pruitt talked about his experience with the spread at hoover and how that helped him in being able to defend it. that's one of the issues with nfl guys they struggle with defending it. monte kiffin never could figure it out. it's been such a problem that they had defensive meetings this offseason with a bunch of different nfl teams on how to defend spread offenses. regarding propst i know he did a lot of stuff that got him ran out of alabama, but the guy knows football.

Propst is a genius football coach. I know he has done very well reviving the program in Georgia of late. In Alabama, he was living a double life with basically two wives and two sets of kids. Pretty crazy.

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Propst is a genius football coach. I know he has done very well reviving the program in Georgia of late. In Alabama, he was living a double life with basically two wives and two sets of kids. Pretty crazy.

Well that's crazy. Its a wonder he ain't dead. How'd he keep up that schedule? Especially with the time coaching requires. Wow.

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Propst is a genius football coach. I know he has done very well reviving the program in Georgia of late. In Alabama, he was living a double life with basically two wives and two sets of kids. Pretty crazy.

he is a great football coach. But a lousy person imo. I don't know him personally but I do have a few connections to Hoover and Colquitt County.
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One other note on Pruitt. I lived basically 5 minutes from Hoover's stadium when Propst had his run. Only guy I ever saw dominate Hoover's defense under Pruitt was Joe McKnight for John Curtis (LA). Not sure what all happened at USC but McKnight was the best high school player I have ever watched in person. Kid just ran circles around a very good Hoover defense.

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Isn't McKnight the kid who had the accident in the weightroom where basically a barbell fell on his neck?

No, I can't remember that guys name though. McKnight was playing for the Jets last I heard.

I wanna say the kid with the dumbell accident tried out for the titans once upon a time, but I'm sure I'm wrong about that lol

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Isn't McKnight the kid who had the accident in the weightroom where basically a barbell fell on his neck?

That was a freaky and scary accident. My 12 year old just start dabbling with some light weight work. If I remember right there was a video of the accidenf. If I can find it I'm going to show it to him to reinforce the need for safety around the weights.

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