After going 3-7 in 2020, it’s understandable that a significant portion of the Tennessee Vols fan base is unhappy with UT head coach Jeremy Pruitt.
Throw an internal investigation into the mix and you have a complete mess on Rocky Top.
The Tennessee fan base is split at this point. Some fans want Pruitt fired. Others think he needs more time.
But regardless of where you stand on Pruitt, there’s one thing that everyone should agree on.
Pruitt isn’t mailing it in.
And I think he deserves a lot of respect for that.
There have been all kinds of rumors over the last month. There’s been speculation that Pruitt doesn’t have any interest in being the head coach at Tennessee any longer and would prefer to just go back to Alabama to be Nick Saban’s defensive coordinator.
I’m not sure I buy that rumor.
Over the last several weeks, we’ve seen reports from folks like ESPN’s Chris Low that suggest it will be hard for Pruitt to keep his job at Tennessee.
If that’s true, then I think it’s incredible what Pruitt has done this past week with his job status unclear.
Pruitt brought Kevin Steele back to Tennessee (a move that makes a lot of sense for the Vols regardless of who the head coach happens to be). He’s also fiercely recruiting the current players on the roster, trying to keep key guys from hitting the transfer portal.
Just this month, Pruitt has traveled to Charlotte to convince linebacker Quavaris Crouch to return to Tennessee. He also flew to California to have the same conversation with linebacker Henry To’o To’o.
On top of recruiting the current players on the roster, Pruitt also secured Auburn defensive end transfer Big Kat Bryant this weekend, a former four-star recruit who will provide an instant boost to the Vols’ pass rush in 2021.
There aren’t the actions of a man who doesn’t care. And he’s certainly not “giving up”.
Pruitt knows his job is in jeopardy (due to the investigation). But that isn’t impacting the way he’s approaching his job. He’s still working hard every day to make Tennessee better.
Folks can debate all day long whether or not Pruitt is the guy that’s going to return Tennessee to the top of the college football world, but I don’t think there’s any way his desire to make the Vols better can be questioned.
Pruitt deserves a lot of respect for the way he’s handling things in the face of adversity. It’s clear he cares a lot about the kids on his roster and the university that’s signing his paychecks.
Featured image via Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports