It seems like it’s becoming routine at Alabama nowadays: take a head coaching job, stick around for the College Football Playoff.
Speaking to reporters at the College Football Hall of Fame on Thursday evening ahead of ESPN’s annual awards show, Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban confirmed new Tennessee head coach Jeremy Pruitt will remain with the team as defensive coordinator throughout the team’s playoff run.
“Yes, Jeremy is going to finish the season with us,” said Saban. “He’s going to go do some things to get his program started at Tennessee. When we’re ready to practice, he’ll be back with us, be a part of the Playoff.
“I really appreciate the fact that Kirby did a great job of doing that a couple years ago when he had an opportunity. I think it shows a lot of respect for the players on our team who worked hard to help us all have success this season.”
Kirby Smart accepted the head-coaching job at Georgia but remained on staff through the team’s title run. Lane Kiffin infamously coached as the Tide’s offensive coordinator during last year’s Peach Bowl semifinal after taking the Florida Atlantic job but missed out on the national title game.
While he will be wearing crimson the next few weeks, Pruitt will still be recruiting and assembling his staff with Tennessee while in Tuscaloosa and, eventually, New Orleans for the Sugar Bowl. That makes things slightly more interesting than the time Smart did the same given that the Vols’ biggest annual rival is, you guessed it, Alabama and the two will meet at Neyland Stadium on the third Saturday in October.
The move will also make life a little easier for semifinal opponent Clemson when it comes to game planning too, as the Tigers won the national title in January against Saban and Pruitt down in Tampa.