Former Tennessee Vols defensive lineman Jonathan Kongbo doesn’t have anything bad to say about former UT head coach Butch Jones, but he knows the program is heading in the right direction under Jeremy Pruitt.
In a recent interview with The Athletic, Kongbo said that Jones’ staff was “straight”, but the folks around the program weren’t necessarily there for the right reasons.
But under Pruitt, Kongbo says the program, from the top to the bottom, is trending the right way. The former Vol defender told The Athletic “I see how Pruitt is doing it. And what he’s doing is elite.”
Kongbo, who played two seasons under Jones and one season under Pruitt, added “You’re getting football every day. It wasn’t like that before.”
The entire interview with Konbgo is definitely worth checking out. He gets quite candid with The Athletic is regards to the Butch Jones era.
Elite from top to bottom
Kongbo’s description of Pruitt as “elite” in every detail of the program is an extremely positive thing to hear coming from someone who saw Tennessee fall to its lowest point in program history.
One of the big questions surrounding Pruitt when he was hired at UT was whether or not he could be the “CEO” of a football program.
Former Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray infamously questioned Pruitt’s ability to lead a program prior to the 2018 season. But I think Pruitt has more than proved he’s capable of leading every aspect of a program — including having to make tough decisions.
One example of Pruitt’s ability to make tough decisions was his choice to hand over defensive play calling duties to new assistant coach Derrick Ansley. I think a lot of fans/media analysts thought Pruitt would want complete control over every assistant — especially the defensive assistants. But Pruitt has displayed an acute ability to navigate the ever growing responsibilities of a head coach. He’s not going to stretch himself too thin.
I don’t know if Pruitt will get elite results as a head coach. It’s way too early to make that kind of prediction. But I think Kongbo’s recognition of Pruitt as elite is a good sign for the future of Vol football.
Kongbo is a smart guy. He didn’t make hasty conclusions about Butch Jones (which is easy to do), which is why I think it’s worth listening to his thoughts on Pruitt.
Perhaps Tennessee is finally on their way to being relevant again.
Featured image via Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports/Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports