There’s a reason Arab has won 10 state championships under head coach Michael Pruitt (and maybe an 11th come Saturday evening).
Like all great coaches, Pruitt is always on the lookout for ways to make his team better, or in Arab’s case, to keep its edge. As the late, great Bo Schembechler once said, if you’re not getting better, you’re getting worse.
Pruitt does this by taking ideas from other suc-cessful pro-grams, be them college or high school. He’s had ample oppor-tunity to do so because he’s taken his wrestlers to different colleges every summer going back to 1999 (North Carolina State).
Most recently, Pruitt took an concept from the UTC-Chattanooga program called “Hot Seat.” This is a bond-building exercise the Arab wrestlers went through in their hotel’s conference room Thursday night before the North Super Sectional at Birmingham.
“We had one wrestler at a time sit in a chair in front of everybody, and all the other wrestlers say something good about him,” Pruitt said. “It can get emotional at time. It can also be humorous.
“But it builds character and I think strengthens the bonds between wresters and coaches. It’s a good thing.”
Pruitt even included the team’s primary bus driver, Leonard Haga, in Thursday’s “Hot Seat.”
“He knows the wrestlers almost as much as the coaches do,” Pruitt said.
Pruitt says the formula for winning that 11th state championship this weekend is quite simple. Executing the plan is the tricky part.
“I think it’s important for us to put five in the championship finals and have five more place in the consolation round,” he said. “If we do that and everybody scores points (win at least one match), I feel good about our chances.”
• As one might imagine, the SEC has by far the most players invited to the 2020 NFL Combine with 93. The next closest is the Big Ten with 57.
The Pac 12 has 47, the ACC has 35, the Big 12 has 29, the AAC has 20, the MWC has 12, C-USA has 11 and the Sun Belt seven,
The schools with the most players invited are led by the national champion LSU Tigers with 16. Michigan and Ohio State have 11 each while Alabama and Georgia have 10 each.
Auburn, Notre Dame and Utah have nine each, while Florida and Miami have eight apiece.
• Speaking of LSU, sources say the Bengal Tigers are hiring former Vikings, Dolphins, Lions and Cowboys offensive coordinator Scott Linehan as their new passing game coordinator, replcing Joe Brady. Linehan has coached several prolific QB/WR combinations in his NFL career.
• Jessica Mendoza has resigned as a Met adviser and will no longer be on Sunday Night Baseball. She will remain on ESPN, doing weekday games, among other things.