Jeremy Pruitt is on a quest to return the Tennessee Vols football program to glory.
The biggest obstacle in his way, aside from a roster lacking depth, is the culture that Butch Jones left behind at Tennessee.
Pruitt did a lot to change the Vols’ wayward culture in his first year on Rocky Top. But it was obvious after the season opening lost against Georgia State that some of the stink that Jones left behind is still lingering at UT.
It’s apparently worse than we thought, at least judging by some comments Pruitt made this week.
The Vols have lost a couple of games this season they undoubtedly should’ve won. On Wednesday, Pruitt was asked what he’s doing to help his team find ways to win.
Pruitt responded to the question by saying “It starts with having really competitive practices and having winners and losers”. The Alabama native added “If you win, you get something for it and if you lose, there is a loss of pride there.”
Those comments seem innocent enough. In fact, I kind of glossed over them at first. But when I actually read the words, in the form of Pruitt’s press conference transcript, they struck me as…..not good.
The fact that Pruitt is still having to instill a culture of competitiveness is exactly why Tennessee is 1-2 right now. It shows that UT doesn’t have nearly enough players who play with an “edge” (you know, like wide receiver Jauan Jennings).
And look, there isn’t much Pruitt can do in this area. It all goes back to the types of players that Jones recruited. I think everyone knows Pruitt is a fiery, competitive coach who wants to win badly. And I think those are the types of players he’s recruiting to Tennessee.
Unfortunately for the Vols, it’s going to take a roster full of “Pruitt players” before we truly see what Jeremy Pruitt is capable of as a head coach.
Until then, it’s going to be an uphill battle for the second year UT head coach.
Featured image via Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports