Jeremy Pruitt is a controversial figure in Athens, Georgia. He served as the defensive coordinator for the Georgia Bulldogs in 2014 and 2015. During his time leading UGA’s defense, the team went 20-6 and won two bowl games. But, Pruitt’s time there has been called into question because of clashes that he reportedly had with then-head coach Mark Richt.
At SEC Media Days earlier this year, these alleged altercations with Richt got blown up by former Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray (who never played at UGA while Pruitt was on staff). He said he wasn’t sure if Pruitt was “fit to be a head coach” because of the way he sometimes butted heads with Richt.
But not every former UGA athlete feels like Murray.
Brandon Kublanow was an offensive lineman for the Bulldogs from 2013 to 2016. He was at Georgia during both of Pruitt’s seasons with the program. Kublanow was interviewed this week by Athens Online and he had a much different take on Pruitt than Murray did.
Here’s what Kublanow had to say about Tennessee’s first-year coach…
“I think people were a little bit different on him, but I loved Coach Pruitt. … I think Coach Pruitt really started the change at Georgia. Things weren’t right culturally. There were a lot of things that needed to be switched. He might have not had the best way of going about them, but he meant well. He wanted what was best for the players. … I really respect that from him. Above all that, he’s an incredible coach.”
If you’re a Tennessee fan, there’s no doubt that Pruitt having a positive effect on a team’s culture is something you would like to hear. So far in the 2018 season, it has appeared (and Pruitt has indicated it himself in interviews) that the Vols have a bit of a culture problem.
Thankfully this time around, Pruitt is the head coach and has no one to argue with about how to go about changing his team’s culture. So perhaps in time, Pruitt will be able to kick-start a true shift in the right direction in Knoxville just like he apparently did at Georgia, because there’s no denying that the Vols could benefit from being more like the Bulldogs at the moment.