Mornin’ Grits: Alabama football DC Jeremy Pruitt has serious chew skills

TOLEDO, OH - SEPTEMBER 17: Quarterback Chason Virgil
TOLEDO, OH - SEPTEMBER 17: Quarterback Chason Virgil /

Alabama football may have won the game against the Fresno State Bulldogs yesterday, but defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt needed to chew out his players.

The game was never in doubt for the Crimson Tide, but a tuneup game against the Bulldogs revealed some serious concerns on defense. Enough to make Coach Pruitt turn into the Incredible Hulk in front of his players:

You wouldn’t like Coach Pruitt when he’s angry. That is unless you are Alabama football head coach Nick Saban. Someone on the defense, maybe all of them, were going to get Sabaned but the head coach took one look at Pruitt beginning his rant and must have liked what he heard spewing from his defensive coordinator’s mouth.

Saban saw the excellent chewing skills taking place and immediately backed away. When was the last time anyone saw Saban change his mind once he had a taste for butt-chewing come over him?

Michael Casagrande of noticed it as well: “Oh yeah, Jeremy Pruitt was ticked. His Alabama defense just allowed a 70-yard drive to Fresno State early in Saturday’s 41-10 Alabama win. Penalties rescued it from the dead and a 30-yard pass put the overmatched visitors in scoring position.”

Jamey Mosley, making his first start at outside linebacker, was a first-hand witness to Pruitt’s verbal assault on the entire defense. A number of starting defensive players were out with injury, but don’t expect the players to ask for excuses. Mosley said after the game, “We had to get a little fire on us […] Sometimes you need to have your attention redirected and [Pruitt] was doing that in a positive way.”

Saban was reported saying that the pass rush was affected by the injuries, causing new faces to misread the opposing quarterback’s intentions: “That’s part of being a good pass rusher is knowing when he’s setting up for a screen and when he’s setting for a draw. When is he pass setting?”

However, there was even more to it than that:

With the corners staying back, after being burned by deep darts, Fresno State quarterback Chason Virgil was able to dump to the slant route repeatedly for eight or nine yards at a time. Fresno State was able to continuously pick up first downs and march down the field for 216 passing yards.

That aerial assault was capped off with an easy pass to Derrion Grim for a touchdown late in the fourth quarter, the time that Alabama’s defense is always supposed to be sucking the life out of their opponents. In Bama Hammer’s report card of the game, it states that “Grim easily shook off his cornerback with a shimmy shake to the outside, running a go route that was not picked up by the rest of the secondary for a relatively easy score.”

The touchdown came well after Pruitt had launched into his chewing rant. As much as Mosley may have felt that the players banded behind Pruitt to start the second quarter, the touchdown showed there would require a lot more work to be done.

No disrespect to Fresno State, but Alabama football fans were expecting a feeding frenzy against the sub-par program’s offensive line. Instead, Virgil was able to stay in the pocket comfortably and often, allowing his receivers to get behind the Bama secondary and stretch out the field. The D-Line was able to stop the Bulldogs running game for four quarters, but the lack of a serious rush against the QB opened holes in their iron curtain.

Next: How did 10 young players perform against Fresno State?

If anyone doubts that the next few practices before the Colorado State game will be filled with Pruitt chew, just go back to the video replay and see for yourselves. Does that look like a man who will be settled down after his squad allowed more passing yards than they did against Florida State the week before? Forget a fire needing to be lit under their butts, the defensive players may not even have butts when they get to practice after Pruitt gets through with them.