Jeremy Pruitt praised Georgia head coach Kirby Smart for the edge he gives the Bulldogs.

Pruitt, who replaced Smart as Alabama’s defensive coordinator in 2016, recognized Smart’s past experience with being part of several national championship coaching staffs at Alabama. In 2022, Smart will defend his national championship with Georgia. That was Smart’s first championship as a head coach, but Smart is used to focusing on the next season following a championship, Pruitt said.

In an appearance on the On The Beat podcast, Pruitt explained how Smart set Georgia up for success (via DawgNation):

“After you win a national championship it’s so hard, everybody has relief syndrome,” Pruitt said. “It’s a new year, so the guys that made All-SEC or All-American the past year, nobody cares, it’s time to do it all over again and Kirby has been through that a couple of times as an assistant coach. He has seen what has happened and knows the pitfalls and the mistakes that can happen the following year, and I think that’s going be key for Georgia this year.

“The fact they have a coach that’s been there and done that, so I look for Georgia to avoid some of those pitfalls this year because of Kirby’s experience.”

As Alabama’s defensive coordinator, Smart played an important role on 4 national championship teams from 2008 to 2015.

Pruitt worked with Smart for six seasons on Alabama’s coaching staff. Pruitt had first-hand experience on Smart’s preparation for games.

“People don’t realize the advantage Georgia has by having Kirby,” Pruitt said.

Pruitt’s observations of Smart go far beyond his time working with Smart on Alabama’s coaching staff. Pruitt coached against Smart’s Georgia teams as Alabama’s defensive coordinator in 2016 and 2017, as well as during his time as Tennessee’s head coach from 2018 to 2020.

“I think one thing that Kirby has done an outstanding job with is getting his staff to buy into complementary football,” Pruitt said. “You look at this past year, they had one of the best defenses in the history of college football, and then you look at the offensive staff and they were very efficient.”

In three years at Tennessee, Pruitt went 0-3 against Smart in head-to-head contests. Pruitt believes Smart will have Georgia ready for a successful championship defense in 2022.