It wouldn’t be a Tennessee football season if there wasn’t some talk about whether or not the Vols have the right head coach in place.
I tend to think UT has a pretty good head coach in place with Jeremy Pruitt, though he certainly has a lot of growing to do.
But I also understand that after losing to Kentucky at home — with losses to Georgia State and BYU also on the resume — that there might be some folks who aren’t sure about Pruitt anymore.
And honestly, after losing to Kentucky at home, this is a conversation that needs to happen. Pruitt brought this on himself by not having his team better prepared against the Wildcats.
Ultimately, though, the Vols have to stick with Pruitt for now. Moving on from Pruitt, a coach with a wealth of football knowdlege, would only set the program further back.
There’s no doubt there are some red flags with Pruitt right now that shouldn’t be ignored (losing to Kentucky, firing a position coach who was just hired before the season). But there’s one move Pruitt could make that could make doubting Tennessee fans feel a bit better.
Firing offensive line coach Will Friend.
Now, I’m not suggesting that Friend absolutely needs to be fired. I’m not in the meeting rooms and I have no idea what the issues are with the offensive line (though I think we all agree there are major issues with the offenisve line, which is loaded with five-star talent).
But if Friend needs to be fired — and it’s not out of the question based on the poor offensive line play in recent weeks — then it is what it is.
The problem is that Friend and Pruitt are close friends. They’ve been friends since their college days (Pruitt was even in Friend’s wedding).
Does Pruitt have it him to fire his buddy?
If he does, then I think it shows that Pruitt is going to do whatever it takes to lead Tennessee to success.
But if he doesn’t, then it could be another Butch Jones type situation where friends are kept on staff when they shouldn’t be. And that will eventually be the downfall of the program.
If the offensive line doesn’t improve and a move isn’t made, it will be very telling. But at the same time, if Pruitt decides Friend isn’t getting the job done and he fires him, it will tell us a lot about Pruitt as a head coach and his determination to make Tennessee great.
Featured image via Tennessee Athletic Communications