NEW ORLEANS — Georgia coach Kirby Smart will be the former Nick Saban assistant drawing most of the buzz this weekend, which likely will be just fine with Jeremy Pruitt.
Tennessee’s new coach quietly got the job done last week for Alabama, devising a game plan and staying a step ahead of Clemson’s play calls in the Tide’s convincing 24-6 win over the Tigers in the College Football Playoff semifinals at the Sugar Bowl.
ESPN analyst and SEC football legend Tim Tebow said that while many have compared Pruitt to Saban, he believes the Vols’ new boss will carve out his own identity.
“I think he’s been under some great coaches, Jimbo [Fisher] and Saban … but he’s a little different,” Tebow said. “He goes to the beat of his own drum. I don’t think he’s gonna try to be like Nick Saban. That’s where a lot of people fail, is where they try to do everything Nick did.”
Tebow is certainly right in the sense that Saban is 11-0 against his former assistants, with the title game Monday night against Smart and Georgia in Atlanta pending.
Tebow agrees with the advice that Clemson coach Dabo Swinney gave Pruitt in the days leading up to the Sugar Bowl.
“You’ve gotta be your own guy,” Tebow said. “You can learn from other people, but you gotta have your own beliefs, your own philosophies. Take good things other people do, but know who you are as a person and as a coach.
“I think that’s something that he’s gonna try to do.”
Tebow’s interview was made possible by Allstate, which sponsored the refurbishment of a New Orleans youth center on New Year’s Eve. Fans across the country can learn more here. Alex Martin Smith contributed to this story.
More SEC Country exclusive stories about Jeremy Pruitt
- WATCH: Alabama players say there’s more to Jeremy Pruitt than Xs and Os
- WATCH: Pruitt shares Tennessee early signing class strategy
- WATCH: Alabama star defensive lineman says Pruitt pushes right buttons
- WATCH: Clemson coordinators reveal Pruitt defensive characteristics
- WATCH: Pruitt’s Tennessee talk limited, but meaningful
- WATCH: Super Bowl assistant, Tide OC has high praise for Jeremy Pruitt
- WATCH: Can Pruitt’s defense finally slow down Clemson?
- Pruitt’s reasons for coaching Alabama go beyond title chase
- WATCH: Nick Saban shares rise of Tennessee coach Pruitt
- PODCAST: Jeremy Pruitt’s understated nature is unmistakable
- WATCH: Jeremy Pruitt: no interest in talking about dominant defense
- Jeremy Pruitt’s defense smothered Clemson, keyed Alabama win
- Alabama stock report shows Jeremy Pruitt rising after Sugar Bowl win
- Tennessee a sleeping giant with Jeremy Pruitt as coach