Georgia Bulldogs defensive back Javon Bullard (22) intercepts a pass intended for TCU Horned Frogs wide receiver Derius Davis (11) during the first half of the College Football Playoff National Championship at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles on Monday, January 9, 2023. (Hyosub Shin / Hyosub.Shin@ajc.com)

Former SEC head coach zeroes in on mismatches, back-breaking play and Georgia football glory

LOS ANGELES — Like a good movie, there were so many great scenes for Georgia in its 65-7 win over TCU, the game will be discussed and broken down for weeks.

Former SEC head coach and two-time national championship defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt, however, zeroed in on when the Bulldogs went in for the kill.

“That turnover before the half was a back breaker,” said Pruitt, who had predicted Georgia would beat the Horned Frogs by more than the 14 points they were favored by.

“It was one of the plays TCU ran on the first third down of the game, it was the deep comeback.”

Pruitt, who worked at Kirby Smart’s side for six years in Tuscaloosa under Nick Saban, recognized how Georgia expertly set up the Horned Frogs.

The Bulldogs’ defensive backs communicated before the interception, and played the coverage differently so that Javon Bullard was in position to make the interception at the TCU 22.

“Georgia had the best players last night, but they also had the best coaches, and I’m not knocking anybody at TCU,” Pruitt said.

“Just a phenomenal job building a program, over the years sustaining, and not having to use the portal, developing players, losing a very talented defensive coordinator in Dan Lanning, and having someone there like Will Muschamp and Glenn Schumann, and adding Mike Bobo to the offensive staff.”

Pruitt said he felt going in the CFP Championship Game on Monday that TCU’s only chance was to run the ball successfully, and the bigger the deficit grew, the more unlikely that became.

“I thought that TCU was going to have to protect their defense, because obviously there was a huge mismatch with Georgia’s offense and TCU’s defense, and the only way to be able to do that was run the football,” Pruitt said.

“There were a few times TCU had some gains, 4 or 5 yards on first down, but they threw on second down and it was incomplete. They needed a whole more third-and-1s and third-and-2s and more explosive pays.. .they just couldn’t find them.”

Georgia, meanwhile, was successful on the ground.

“They really got whatever they wanted running the football,” Pruitt said. “The offensive line dominated the line of scrimmage, and then there were three contested catches for touchdowns, Ladd (McConkey) made one, Mitchell made one, and then the tight end made one.”

It was a glorious win for Georgia football, to the point Pruitt took note of many other keys and performances, including Stetson Bennett’s high level of play.

“It was phenomenal year to go 15-0,” Pruitt said. “I understand the expectations, the standard that everyone wants, but what Kirby has done in these 8 years, he has raised the bar with two national championships in row.”

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