It’s no secret that first-year Tennessee head coach Jeremy Pruitt butted heads with Mark Richt during his time under Richt as Georgia defensive coordinator, a fact that led former Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray to criticize Pruitt and whether he has the personality to be a head coach.
Pruitt responded to Murray’s criticisms before taking the podium Wednesday at SEC Media Days, but after his appearance on the big stage, another former Georgia player turned broadcaster, David Pollack of ESPN, backed up Murray’s comments on SEC Network program SEC Now and saying Pruitt was “disrespectful” of Richt. However, Pollack was more restrained than Murray in his comments and didn’t question Pruitt’s fitness to be a head coach.
“The stories that I have heard and some of y’all have heard that came out of Athens – that are true, (from) coaches that were on the staff, some of the things Jeremy Pruitt did to Mark Richt, some coaches would tell you are the most disrespectful, most crazy things they heard,” Pollack said on SEC Now, according to Saturday Down South.
“So, I’ll be curious to watch Jeremy Pruitt as he evolves with this relationship with Phillip Fulmer because Jeremy Pruitt did a good job when he was with Nick Saban — because he knew where he stood. He did a good job with Jimbo Fisher — they let you know where you stand. The hierarchy was very clear. How does he evolve as a head coach?”
In his televised press conference, Pruitt was effusive in his praise for Richt when asked what he learned from the former Georgia coach during their time together in Athens.
“You know, Coach Richt, you know, the things he taught you, one thing, probably the biggest thing to me is there’s more to life than football. I know that sounds — but there is,” Pruitt said. “And, you know, one of these days, that — you don’t care how many championships you win and all that. So I’m thankful for the opportunity. My time in Athens, I loved it, built a lot of great relationships. And now obviously we play on the fourth week and Kirby’s there. And I’m sure I’ll want to beat him. He’ll want to beat me.”