Jeremy Pruitt cherishes opportunity to coach with Mark Richt - WRBL

Jeremy Pruitt cherishes opportunity to coach with Mark Richt

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ATHENS, Ga. - “Well it looks like Georgia football is alive and well,” said Georgia coach Mark Richt.

That is how Mark Richt characterizes the UGA program just two weeks after a five loss season came to a close with a loss in the Gator Bowl.

The program appears energized with the arrival of new defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt.  The former Florida State defensive coordinator recalls his first meeting with Coach Richt when he brought a couple of recruits to Athens in 2003.

“When I walked out of that room, 30 minutes later, I was wowed,” Pruitt said. “My father looked at me and said ‘that’s what college football is all about.’  I said right then and there that if I ever had an opportunity to work for him that I wanted to be a part of his staff. I’m just thankful I’ve gotten the opportunity to come to the University of Georgia.”

Even though he just won a national championship at Florida State, Jeremy Pruitt considers his move to Georgia a step up in his career.

“There is no doubt that this is the best conference in the country,” Pruitt said. “I feel like the University of Georgia is the best school in the conference. I wouldn't’t be here today if I didn't’t think that.”

Richt says the defensive players were thrilled when they heard about Pruitt coming to Athens. They gave him a standing ovation.

“They were very thankful that in some, way, shape, or form that he believed in those guys in the room already before he even met them,” Richt said. “When he got done talking, they broke out in applause again. I’ve never seen that happen in a meeting since I’ve been coaching 30 some years.”

“It made me feel good, it really did,” said Pruitt. “Just seeing the group, some of them were old faces. Some of the guys I remember in recruiting, I recruited some of them. I think that will help in the room, some of the relationships I’ve built when I recruited some of these guys.”

Pruitt coached the last three national champions. Georgia fans hope that streak can continue next season.

Todd Grantham’s departure and Jeremy Pruitt’s arrival happened within a span of three days. Richt credits a higher power for the quick hire.

“If you can get the right person in the timeframe that we got like we did, I’m not sure there wasn't’t some divine intervention in the whole thing. It worked out great,” said Richt.

Pruitt said he made up his mind and informed Florida State. He made no mention of any negotiation with FSU.

“This is the University of Georgia. Who wouldn’t be interested in this job? It is absolutely one of the premier jobs in college football. The opportunity to work with Coach Richt, it is just something I couldn’t turn down,” said Pruitt.

Scheme wise, Pruitt says Georgia will stay in a base 3-4 defense, but, he says every defense has to be versatile and match up with the players on the opponent’s offense. He says having good eyes and good instincts is what matters.

“We want to be sound. We want to be aggressive. But, we want to make the other team earn it. There is a fine line between being aggressive and giving up plays. We want to be as aggressive as we can possibly be, but at the same time, make the other team earn it. Make them drive the distance,” said Pruitt.

The new Dawgs’ defensive coordinator says he wants to keep his defense simple and easy for his players to execute.

You can read the story on Pruitt's initial hiring at: http://www.wrbl.com/story/24450918/pruitt-hired-as-uga-defensive-coordinator

Dayne Young

Dayne is a sports anchor and reporter for WRBL. He started covering the Chattahoochee Valley in September 2012. More>>

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