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Pruitt’s Presence Gives Hope

By David Butler
SouthernPigskin.com
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New Georgia defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt has a strong reputation for developing elite defensive production.

Jeremy Pruitt has been a breath of fresh air for the University of Georgia football program and its fan base.

The ever-faithful "Dawg Nation" was blindsided at the end of the 2013 campaign when UGA defensive coordinator Todd Grantham abruptly resigned — leading to an unexpected step forward for the Dawgs both on the field of play and for their future recruiting.

That step forward was able to come about thanks to the entrance of Jeremy Pruitt.

UGA held a press conference on January 13 announcing Pruitt’s hire to command the defense. Pruitt has produced quite a resume during his time in the college football ranks. Most notably, he was the defensive coordinator for a Florida State team that won the 2013 national championship. Just a few short weeks later, Pruitt was moving his family to take the same position with UGA.

Pruitt has worked under a handful of successful coaches while honing his craft. While getting an earlier taste of coaching in the SEC, Pruitt served as the Director of Player Development at the University of Alabama from 2007-09. Pruitt produced at a high level during that time, which led to a promotion at the beginning of the 2010 season when he took the perch above the Crimson Tide secondary. His time with the Tide would produce two national championships at the close of the 2011 and 2012 seasons.

After winning his second national title, Pruitt took his talents to Florida State University for yet another promotion on the college football coaching ladder. Pruitt took the reins as defensive coordinator and coached a defense which only gave up 10.7 points per game and capped off the season holding down the potent Auburn Tigers in the BCS National Championship Game.

What Pruitt brings to UGA is a quality that has sorely been lacking over the past couple of seasons: leadership. Not to put all of the blame on Grantham, but as the defense continued to struggle through the season, it became clear many of the defensive players were confused as to what their assignments were — some seemingly confused about the whole defensive scheme altogether. Pruitt plans to employ the same 3-4 defensive scheme Grantham used while he was the defensive coordinator for the Dawgs, which should be an advantage going into the 2014 season. Along with the flow and continuity of using the same defensive scheme, he brings something to the table that is unquestioned: three national championship rings.

It should not be too difficult for a defense returning ten starters to stand behind its new leader and get to work on making a strong impression on the new coordinator.

Pruitt is a coach who holds the keys to helping players perform their best and play successfully, which may seem more obvious now than ever being a part of the coaching staff for the last three national champions. Pruitt’s presence alone should improve the morale of the team and a defense with low rankings in the SEC standings from last season.

David Butler - David Butler, of Watkinsville, Georgia, is a recent graduate of Georgia Southern University with a Bachelors in Journalism. During college, David spent time on staff as his university newspaper's sports editor. Growing up just outside of UGA territory, David has been constantly surrounded by the love of football. He loves cheering on his Dawgs, and has a passion for the Philadelphia Eagles. When he is not tailgating, he is perfectly content cheering on his favorite teams from the comfort of his couch with his family, friends, pets, and extremely beautiful lady friend.