Tennessee Vols head coach Jeremy Pruitt has been coy when discussing his team’s improvement this spring.
Pruitt has mostly refused to single out players or pinpoint position groups that have performed well.
On Thursday, however, Pruitt gave Vol fans some breadcrumbs.
Appearing on 104.5 The Zone in Nashville, Pruitt said the offensive line was the position group that made significant progress during the spring.
Pruitt said the offensive line stood out to him as a group that made positive advancement in the spring.
— 3HL (@3HL1045) May 17, 2018
This might be the best news Vol fans have heard all year.
Tennessee’s offensive line play was one of the primary reasons the Vols failed to win more than four games in 2017.
Good offensive line play is what wins games in the SEC. If a team’s offensive line is below average, or even average, then win totals aren’t going to be very high. I don’t care how good the skill players or defensive unit is — winning in the trenches on offense is paramount to a team’s success.
The Vols’ offensive line definitely still has a ways to go. But It’s a great sign that there’s been a lot of improvement during the spring. Though I’m sure they’re still pretty far from where Pruitt and UT offensive line coach Will Friend wants them to be.
But here’s the good news — some of the Vols’ best offensive linemen didn’t participate in spring practice.
Trey Smith, who is perhaps the Volunteers’ best overall player, is expected back this fall after dealing with some undisclosed health issues.
Chance Hall, who missed spring practice because of a knee injury, could also be back this fall. He’s an automatic starter when healthy.
Tennessee will also have junior college transfer Jahmir Johnson, a projected offensive tackle, this fall.
Expectations should obviously be tempered for the Vols in 2018. This is still a program coming off a 4-8 season with a first time head coach at the helm.
But at the same time, there’s reason for cautious optimism because of the work Pruitt and his staff have put in this spring.
Featured image via Knox News