Story Links

After being away from college football for four years, former Marshall head coach Bob Pruett was hired by Al Groh as his defensive coordinator this spring. Pruett brings a wealth of knowledge gained from 40 years of coaching experience to Charlottesville. He was the head coach at Marshall for nine seasons where he led the Thundering Herd to an NCAA FCS national championship and five conference titles. No stranger to Groh, he served on Groh’s staff at Wake Forest for four years in the 1980s.

Building on his past relationship with Groh and having been a head coach, Pruett knows what it takes to be part of the Cavalier staff.

“I think that the advantage of having been a head coach,” Pruett said, “is you understand how you want you want your coaches to fit under the umbrella of the way the head coach wants the … team to unfold.

“I was very fortunate at Marshall to have outstanding assistant coaches with outstanding ability that had been at a lot of places. But the biggest challenge was to make sure that we focused and stayed under the umbrella and with the scheme.”

Staying under the umbrella and getting familiar with Groh’s defensive scheme and the team’s personnel was job No. 1 for him prior to the spring practice period.

“When I got the job I looked at the tape,” he said. “I looked at the tape to more familiarize myself with the scheme than to do an in-depth evaluation of the players because I wanted to go into spring practice with a completely open mind and (have) everything start off equal. That having been said, outstanding players jump out at you and you notice it.”

While he might not have known many of the Cavaliers, one he did know was senior outside linebacker Clint Sintim, who played his high school ball at Gar-Field HS in Woodbridge, where Pruett was head coach before moving into the collegiate coaching ranks. With the loss of the entire line from last year, the defense will have to rely on Sintim’s experience.

“Being a veteran that he is, what I see is with the great leadership, is a great knowledge of the game,” said Pruett. “In other words, just fielding his questions, his questions are more advanced than a younger player. He understands completely when you give the answer.”

After two-and-a-half weeks of training camp, Pruett is ready to start the season so he can more accurately gauge where the defense stands.

“Basically right now when you go against yourself, which we’ve been doing, it’s really pretty hard to determine how good or how bad, how strong or how weak (you are),” he said.

“I think what Coach Groh has done an excellent job of is putting us in different situations to see how we handle them. I think we’ve been put in a lot of situations where we’re getting better.

“I don’t know of any defensive coach in the country that’s two weeks away from his first ballgame that’s not concerned about different parts of the game because we’re worrywarts … or you wouldn’t be in the coaching profession.

“I think we’re making progress on all fronts and hopefully we’ll continue to do so.”

Print Friendly Version