Any time a program can accomplish a feat for the first time in school history, it’s probably a good sign that the program on the right track.

Which is why I guess it’s safe to say that Jeremy Pruitt has the Tennessee Vols heading in the right direction.

Last week, linebacker Daniel Bituli was named the SEC defensive player of the week. It was the third straight week that a Vol had been named the SEC defensive player of the week (it was Bituli’s second honor, defensive back Bryce Thompson was the other Vol).

Vols defensive coordinator Derrick Ansley noted on Monday that this is the first time in program history that Tennessee’s had the SEC defensive player of the week three weeks in a row.

That’s pretty impressive considering some of the all-time great defensive players that have called Rocky Top home over the years (Reggie White, Al Wilson, Eric Berry, Derek Barnett, just to name a few).

This just goes to show the job that Pruitt, Ansley and the rest of the defensive staff are doing. The Vols don’t have a lot of depth, and they don’t have the same talent level as the upper echelon of the SEC, but they’re clearly getting the most out of their roster. The sky truly is the limit for Tennessee.

Another interesting stat that Ansley pointed out, by the way, is where the Vols stand in the nation in forcing turnovers.

Tennessee has 14 interceptions this year. That’s No. 2 in the SEC and No. 3 in the nation.

It might have been a rocky start to the season for the Vols’ defense, but they never wavered — they stayed the course. As a result, Tennessee’s defense has been downright dominant in recent weeks.

If that trend continues, the Vols will almost certainly finish the season with their first trip to a bowl game since 2016.

Featured image via Bryan Lynn/USA Today

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