Tuesday, January 14, 2014
Jeremy Pruitt instantly made his mark at Florida State by being the mastermind behind one of the most prolific defenses in NCAA history.
Armed with veteran leaders such as defensive back Lamarcus Joyner and linebacker Christian Jones, a deep and talented defensive line, a fiery and experienced staff, and loads of gifted athletes across the board, Pruitt's defense ranked No. 2 in total defense, No. 1 in scoring defense, and No. 3 in turnover margin, all of which contributed to the Seminoles' perfect season.
News broke earlier today that Pruitt has left FSU after one season and has joined Mark Richt as the new defensive coordinator at Georgia. The story came as a shock to Seminole fans who expected Pruitt to stay in Tallahassee for at least another season.
Pruitt was making $500,000 a year at FSU, and was expecting a raise this upcoming summer. His new salary at UGA will be $850,000 per year. It's unsure whether Florida State tried to match the offer. Considering the job is a lateral move, Pruitt's actions speak volumes – "cash grab" comes to mind.
The Seminoles return an abundance of talent on the defensive side of the ball, most of which saw plenty of playing time due to blowouts. Pruitt leaves a team prime to make another national title run for a defense that ranked 45th in total defense and 10th in the SEC in scoring defense.
Recruiting ought to be a concern for FSU Head Coach Jimbo Fisher. Pruitt, a former National Recruiter of the Year, may try to sway some of the current Florida State commitments to Georgia, almost certainly leaving FSU's staff scrambling to remedy the situation.
The departure leaves the 'Noles without a defensive coordinator, but the popular replacement may already be on FSU's staff. Sal Sunseri, the Seminoles defensive end's coach, should be the favorite to replace Pruitt. Sunseri has experience as a defensive coordinator while at Tennessee in 2012, although that was the worst year defensively in Volunteer history.
FSU linebacker's coach and special team's coordinator Charles Kelly will get a look by Fisher, as well.
Seeing as Pruitt has the arduous task of transforming a porous defense, this move reeks of Richt desperately attempting to save his job after the 2014 season, and Pruitt appreciating the money over success.
Sunday, January 12, 2014
Lovie Smith has nearly completed his search for assistant coaches, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers new head coach has the tall order of reviving a once respectable franchise from the current gutters of derision into a unified team willing to battle for victories.
The former Chicago Bears head coach was fired at the end of the 2012 season after starting 7-1, then finishing 10-6 while narrowly missing the playoffs. Smith finished 84-66 in nine seasons with the Bears, claiming the NFC North three times, and earning a Super Bowl berth once, in 2006, losing to Tony Dungy's Indianapolis Colts.
Smith, a pupil under former Bucs coach Dungy, has assembled a group of teachers rather than drill sergeants to aid in rejuvenating a club that finished 11-21 the past two seasons. Will this strategy benefit a group of players who have been entrenched in the losing culture for the past two seasons?
Jeff Tedford, the former Cal head coach, has been brought on as offensive coordinator. The interesting yet controversial hire has Bucs' fans scratching their heads, and it begs to ask the question, "What does Lovie know that no one else in the NFL knows?"
While Tedford has successfully placed many college quarterbacks in the first round, none of them, except Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, has panned out. Can Tedford work his magic and turn Mike Glennon into first-round type talent? Probably not, and the train of thought is the Bucs may look quarterback in the upcoming draft.
Can Tedford's innovative, offensive mind be successful in the NFL? He doesn't have pro experience, which ought to be alarming to fans.
Former Minnesota Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier has been hired as the Bucs defensive coordinator. Frazier, another one of Dungy's students, has had success in the NFL as a coordinator. In Frazier's first year with the Vikings, he finished with the 20th ranked defense - first in rushing, and last in passing. In 2008, Frazier's second year, the numbers drastically change, going from 6th overall, first in rushing, and 18th passing.
Except for his first season, Frazier's defenses didn't fall out of the top 10 while as coordinator.
Guys like Hardy Nickerson, who is responsible for making the Tampa-2 defense a power in the late 1990's and early 2000's, as the new linebackers coach, is an energy guy that has 15 years worth of experience to teach.
Tim Spencer, Tampa's new running back's coach, helped propel Thomas Jones into new heights as a premier running back. Jones was nearly a first-round bust before exploding onto the scene in Chicago.
Smith has done this before. He has been a success at every level. He knows what he's doing. Bucs fans need to trust in Smith's staff because the mistakes he made in Chicago are almost guaranteed not to be repeated.