Jeremy Pruitt is all-in when it comes to being the head coach of the Tennessee Vols.

I don’t know if he bleeds orange, but he’s cleary a Tennessean at this point.

But while Pruitt might be all-in at UT, there’s still a part of his heart that’s always going to be at Alabama. It’s where Pruitt is from, it’s where he played high school football, where he played college football, and where he got his first shot as a college assistant.

Alabama is obviously special to Pruitt. Which means this weekend’s matchup against the Crimson Tide is a big game for the third-year Tennessee head coach.

Typically, coaches don’t get candid when talking about specific opponents. Every game is equally important is the refrain we’re accustomed to hearing from head coaches.

But that’s not the case with Pruitt when it comes to the Vols’ game against Alabama on Saturday.

Pruitt knows this game is more important than other games — for personal reasons and historical reasons.

And he’s not afraid to admit it.

“This one really is kind of special to me, participating in this rivalry as a player and a coach, on both sides,” said Pruitt during Vol Calls on Wednesday evening.

“I know how important this rivalry is to all the kind of old folks that have been involved in this for many, many years. It’s a very special event, and it’s something that, to me, I’ve kept marked on my calendar ever since I’ve taken this job.”

Tennessee won’t be “back” until they can compete with Alabama

After the Vols’ loss to Kentucky last week, it’s obvious that Tennessee has a lot of work to do to be “back”.

I’ve said for years that UT won’t be officially “back” until the game against Alabama can be considered a “toss up” game.

Entering the 2020 season, I thought that might happen this year. I wasn’t expecting a Vols win against Bama this season, but I thought the game might be close.

I no longer think that after what I’ve witnessed the last six quarters.

Tennessee’s offensive line is underperforming. The quarterback situation is a mess. The defensive line coach was fired after just four games on the sidelines. And the Vols still have no clue how to cover a pass in the middle of the field.

Saturday has the potential to be a massacre. The Vols aren’t anywhere close to Alabama right now.

Maybe that will change in the coming years. But for it to change, Pruitt is going to have to make a lot of progress in a short amount of time if he’s going to make this rivarly “special” again for fans.

Featured image via Randy Sartin/USA Today


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