Tennessee Vols head coach Jeremy Pruitt isn’t on the hot seat yet, but he could be by the end of the season if things don’t turn around soon.
Pruitt’s Vols entered the season on a six game winning streak. Tennessee looked good in the first two games of the season, taking down South Carolina on the road and easily handling Missouri at home.
The Vols then had a lead against Georgia at halftime.
And then everything went south.
Tennessee has been downright terrible the last 10 quarters. Georgia onwed the Vols in the second half. UT then lost to Kentucky by 27.
And the Alabama game?
It was over by the end of the first quarter.
We’ve seen this type of valley before from Pruitt. Last season, the Vols were 1-4 before winning seven of their final eight games. It was an outcome to the season that seemed unlikely after Tennessee dropped back to back games against Georgia State and BYU.
Could we see a similar turnaround in 2020?
Pruitt better hope so, if he wants this offseason to be quiet.
I think there’s one specific way the season could play out that would completely erase the Kentucky loss from the minds of fans. And there’s another way it could play out that would at least have most fans willing to give Pruitt the 2021 season to show what he can with a normal offseason.
The first scenario is to finish 6-4 and beat Florida. That means a loss to either Auburn or Texas A&M.
If that happens, I think fans will live with the Kentucky loss (since beating Florida is so rare). It would allow the season to end on a high note and would give the Vols a lot of momentum during the early signing period in December.
Winning four of the final five games and beating Florida? Most fans would sign up for that.
The other scenario is beating Auburn and Texas A&M but losing to Florida and finishing 6-4. Still a winning record, but still can’t beat Tennessee’s top three rivals.
Either scenario is better than 4-6 or 5-5. And based on what we’ve seen the last few weeks, I wouldn’t count on either scenario actually happening.
But it pretty much has to happen if Pruitt wants to enjoy some peace and quiet this offseason. Otherwise the message boards will be lit up all winter with potential replacements if Pruitt gets off to a slow start in 2021.
We’ve seen this before. Once doubt about a coach arises, it’s usually not long before a coaching search is on deck.
Pruitt needs to end any speculation before it gets too out of hand. And that means putting some wins in the win column.
Featured image via Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports