It’s no secret that I think the Tennessee Vols should move on from Jeremy Pruitt.

There have just been too many red flags for Pruitt so far. If I learned anything from the Butch Jones era at UT it’s to not ignore the red flags.

But just because I don’t think Pruitt is the guy that’s going to lead Tennessee to success, doesn’t mean I think he’s a bad guy.

I like Pruitt as a coach. I like his personality. And I like his approach to coaching football. He may end up failing at UT, but he isn’t another Butch. Far from it.

One major reason to respect Pruitt — despite his refusal to take the starting quarterback job away from Jarrett Guarantano — is the way he’s handling himself in the midst of the Vols’ struggles this season.

It would be really easy for Pruitt to blame COVID-19 and this strange season for Tennessee’s failures this year. It certainly hasn’t made things easy on the Volunteers.

But that’s not what Pruitt is doing. He understands that everyone is dealing with the same challenges.

“Nobody’s got a playbook for this pandemic,” said Pruitt during his appearance on Vol Calls on Wednesday night. “Just trying to be proactive and trying to find a way, figure out a plan.”

If Butch Jones were the head coach during this pandemic, you’d be hearing a much different message from Tennessee’s head coach. And there would be a lot of excuses.

Pruitt, however, understands that folks don’t want to hear excuses. And he’s confident enough in himself as a coach to not recklessly throw excuses out there.

There have been plenty of things that Pruitt’s done this season that I don’t like. But he’s also done plenty of things that I do like.

His refusal to use the pandemic as a crutch is something that should absolutely be respected by fans.

Featured image via Knoxville News-Sentinel-USA TODAY NETWORK
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