According to Jeremy Pruitt, his biggest challenge right now is remembering all the names in Tennessee’s athletic department.
After all, this — being a head coach — is new to him. His first offseason and regular season will be more of an experiment than anything else.
This is where I caution the fans the most. Pruitt doesn’t have head coaching experience, but he has championship pedigree — five of them to be exact.
However, Pruitt is now 214 miles away from the confetti, and 314 miles away from college football’s ultimate security blanket in Nick Saban.
Now, it’s Pruitt’s turn to answer these tough questions as the head man in charge.
Can he out-recruit Georgia?
Pruitt and his coaching staff managed to save a 2018 Tennessee recruiting class that was on life support, taking them from a group outside the top 40 into the top 20.
However, the potency of Pruitt’s future recruiting will depend largely on how Tennessee performs on the field. In that aspect, he’s competing with Georgia, who was close to capturing a National Championship in Kirby Smart’s second season.
As a result, Georgia dominated recruiting this past cycle, and shows no signs of slowing down. Can Pruitt take his tentacles and infiltrate the elite high school football states and keep up with Georgia, or will he always be a step behind in the talent department?
What’s the offense?
The quarterback situation in Knoxville isn’t ideal.
Quinten Dormady can’t run a spread offense, Will McBride doesn’t have the size or arm talent to survive the shark-infested waters of SEC defenses, and despite his talent, Jarrett Guarantano’s lack of natural feel for the position is concerning.
To take down the Giants of the SEC (Alabama, Auburn, Georgia), Tennessee needs an offense spear-headed by a dynamic quarterback who can push the ball downfield.
Will Pruitt be like Saban and adapt to the College game, or will he opt for a pro-style system?
How will he handle the media?
Whether Pruitt likes it or not, how he handles the media is significant, especially after all the scars left behind by Butch Jones.
At his press conference on Wednesday, Pruitt didn’t say anything all that interesting, which is fine, as long as he can maintain the same style when the going gets tough, something Jones couldn’t do.
I’m not sure Pruitt is a fan of the media, but as a Saban disciple, it wouldn’t be shocking to hear him lash out at times.
Can Pruitt handle the media scrutiny?
We’ll see, but so far, so good.
(Featured image courtesy of Saturday Down South)