A few years ago in Hoover, AL, then-South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier took to the podium and coined SEC Media Days as the beginning of ‘talking season.’
It’s important for fans to look at the annual event where coaches and players across the conference meet with the media to discuss the upcoming season in that way. Talking season.
There’s always going to be someone who throws a jab at a rival that makes headlines and plenty of offseason fodder, and in this case, it was former Georgia quarterback-turned-CBS Sports Analyst Aaron Murray who let his criticism of first-year Tennessee head coach Jeremy Pruitt be known on the airwaves of Nashville’s 102.5 The Game on Tuesday.
The full quote can be seen below.
“I don’t know if his personality is fit to be a head coach. I don’t. As a head coach, there’s so many things that go into it. It’s not just going out there and coaching. You have to deal with front office. You’ve got to go talk with the president of the university. You have to deal with boosters. You have to deal with the offense, the defense. It’s not just going in there and dealing with the kids and scheming up. There’s a lot that goes into it.
I don’t think he’s the right guy to kind of be the CEO of a corporation. He’s really good managing just a defense and being a defensive coordinator. He needs to prove to me that he can handle the whole ship. For right now, I don’t think he can. We’ll see what happens this year. I don’t think it helps that he doesn’t have a lot of talent at Tennessee.”
The comments are certainly interesting considering that Murray had already graduated by the time Jeremy Pruitt was hired away from Florida State to serve as defensive coordinator under Mark Richt at Georgia in 2014.
Expanding on his thoughts of why he believed Pruitt was not, at this point in his career, SEC head coach material, Murray pointed out that he took issue with the way Pruitt ‘treated’ Richt in their final season in Athens in 2015.
“When he was at Georgia, the way he acted, the way he treated Coach Richt I thought was poor. He wasn’t as respectful as I thought a defensive coordinator should be to a head coach. That’s my thing, with authority.
When he’s dealing with the athletic director, when he’s dealing with the president, when he’s dealing with a booster who has given millions of dollars, you can’t go tell him to screw off. You have to take the meeting. You have to sit with them. Yeah, I know you want to be game planning and getting ready for the game, but you’re a head coach now. You have to do these other things.”
Based on these comments, it looks Murray won’t be making friends with people in Knoxville anytime soon.
Coaches, former players and colleagues in and around the conference have given favorable reviews of Pruitt, including his old boss, former Florida State and current Texas A&M head coach Jimbo Fisher, as well as Georgia head coach Kirby Smart, both citing Pruitt’s abilities as a coach when they took to the podium in Atlanta earlier this week.