ATHENS — Completing a whirlwind three-day stretch that saw him move from his position as defensive coordinator at recently crowned national champion Florida State to the same job at Georgia, Jeremy Pruitt was in the Bulldogs’ team meeting room Wednesday morning for his introductory press conference.
“First thing is, you know that you’re at the right school where football is important when you’ve got as many folks here as you did at the national championship game for interviews,” Pruitt said as he surveyed a room full of reporters and cameras.
Highlights from the press conference, where Pruitt was joined by UGA coach Mark Richt:
- Pruitt said Georgia will continue to be a 3-4 base defense but will line up in multiple alignments and “get the best players on the field.”
- Pruitt said he was interested in the job as soon as he heard from his close friend, UGA offensive line coach Will Friend, that it was open. “When I decided this is what I wanted to do, I let (FSU coach Jimbo Fisher) know and that was it.”
- Richt said a big factor in Grantham’s decision to leave for Louisville was that he can hire his brother, Tony, as an assistant there. Nepotism rules prevent that at Georgia, Richt said.
- Pruitt has won BCS national championship rings each of the past three seasons, the first two as secondary coach at Alabama and the most recent at FSU. But he doesn’t wear them. “I don’t look in the rear-view mirror,” he said. “I’m looking straight ahead. Hopefully there will be more to get.”
- Richt said Georgia’s defensive players applauded when Pruitt walked into a room to meet them on Tuesday — and applauded again after their new coach spoke.
- Richt indicated Georgia’s remaining coaching opening will be filled by hiring an outside-linebackers coach. He said defensive line coach Chris Wilson and inside-linebackers coach Kirk Olivadotti will remain on the staff “if they want to be.” He added, “My belief if they want to be.”
- Without being specific, he indicated he has a plan to address the special-teams shortcomings. “I’ve got some things in mind for that that I think are going to be helpful,” he said. Richt added that Pruitt wants to help coach special teams.