ATHENS — It sets up to be another busy day here after the firing of head football coach Mark Richt. As Monday begins, here are five things to know about where things stand:
1. There is a press conference scheduled for this morning. Athletics director Greg McGarity and Richt are supposed to be in attendance, though it’s not clear whether they will be speaking together or if both will take questions.
2. Georgia players, especially on defense, are making a major push for defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt to be retained. The Bulldogs currently stand first in the nation in pass defense – and Pruitt is the secondary coach as well. A Georgia freshman safety, unsolicited, walked by reporters Sunday night and said: “If the media wants to know anything tell them keep Pruitt.” While Pruitt is popular among players and the fans his relationship with others in the Butts-Mehre building is more strained. McGarity didn’t like when Pruitt went public about the lack of an indoor practice facility last year, and by all accounts their working relationship is not exactly close.
3. McGarity is scheduled to meet with Georgia players later today. There is definite anger in some quarters, as senior outside linebacker Jordan Jenkins alluded to on Sunday night. Junior outside linebacker Leonard Floyd has already declared he’s turning pro, which was widely expected anyway, but spurred on by Sunday’s news.
4. As for the next head coach, numerous sources say Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart and Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen are the candidates to watch. There is sentiment from powerful boosters and others in the administration for Smart, a former Georgia player and a Bulldogs assistant coach in the mid-2000s. But McGarity was at Florida when Mullen was the offensive coordinator there. That doesn’t mean the choice will definitely be either of those two – Houston head coach Tom Herman has also been heavily mentioned – but Smart and Mullen are easily the two most prominently mentioned.
5. Richt plans to coach Georgia in its bowl game. He has no plans to pursue any other head coaching vacancy this offseason, per numerous people close to him, and has been invited to stay on at UGA in some capacity. While Richt’s statement yesterday did not address that, he will almost certainly remain active in the Paul Oliver Network, a program to help former Georgia players transition into the real world once their football days are over. It’s long been a pet project for Richt.