UGA and UF: Coaching ties that bind

ATHENS - Georgia DC Jeremy Pruitt and UF HC Jim McElwain share past and memories.

It’s round two for several Georgia coaches Saturday against Florida going up against others on the opposing side that they know well from their days at Alabama.

This time, Bulldogs defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt will match wits with two former Crimson Tide offensive assistant coaches. He went up against Alabama coach Nick Saban and defensive coordinator Kirby Smart in a 38-10 Bulldogs loss on Oct. 3.

Florida head coach Jim McElwain was offensive coordinator with the Crimson Tide from 2008-11. Gators offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier held the same position at Alabama in 2012 and 2013.

So McElwain and Nussmeier worked with the many Alabama connections on the Georgia staff.

Pruitt was director of player development and then secondary coach.

“One heck of a ball coach,” McElwain said.

He called Pruitt “a good friend,” and Pruitt returned the favor.

“Man, he’s a great coach, but a better guy,” Pruitt said. “He’s got a great imagination on the field and great imagination off the field.”

Florida defensive line coach Chris Rumph and defensive coordinator Geoff Collins also were on staff with Pruitt at Alabama.

Georgia offensive line coach Rob Sale was a coaching intern and offensive analyst when McElwain was at Alabama.

“One of the finest young offensive line coaches in the country and the guy that I was kind of angry they picked up to be honest with you,” McElwain said.

Georgia outside linebackers coach Kevin Sherrer was director of player development at Alabama from 2010-12 and director of strength and conditioning Mark Hocke was a strength assistant.

“Guys that know us well,” McElwain said. “We had to spend a week changing all of our signals because they know them all. Probably invented some of them in Rob’s case. Offensively, we worked hand-in-hand for a lot of years there. You know, there’s some things that we needed to do that they know, but that’s what makes the chess match so much fun.”

Said Pruitt: “I think we’ve got too much information, you know? You’re looking going through all the playbooks back in ’09, ’10, ’11 and ’12. We’ve been chasing a lot of ghosts here the last two weeks. That’s for sure.”

 


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