If the Tennessee Vols finish the season with a 2-8 or 3-7 record, it’s certainly possible that head coach Jeremy Pruitt could be fired.
While I’ve made it fairly clear that I’m out on Pruitt at this point, there’s only one scenario where I think Tennessee can actually fire him.
Look, if the Vols go through another coaching search, who knows what will happen. After the last decade, it would be unwise for fans to expect another random hire to be the “savior of the program”.
The only way Tennessee can fire Pruitt is if they know for sure they have a can’t miss coach waiting in the wings.
In other words, the Vols can only fire Pruitt if they have one of these three candidates lined up to take the job.
Bob Stoops, Urban Meyer, or Hugh Freeze.
Now, I have my doubts on whether or not any of those three coaches would actually take the job at Tennessee. I seriously doubt Stoops would. Meyer might take it just because he wants back in the SEC. Freeze, who is currently the head coach at Liberty, seems more likely because he desperately wants back in the SEC (though Auburn could end up being available and that would be a more attractive job for Freeze).
If none of those coaches are willing to come to Tennessee (and again, this has to be something the Vols are sure of before they fire Pruitt), then I’m not sure it’s wise to make a coaching switch. Those are the only three coaches that I feel like are a sure-fire bet to find major success at UT.
Even though I’m out on Pruitt, it might be better to just ride with him and hope things get better if UT can’t hire one of the three coaches I mentioned. I’m still not questioning Pruitt’s football acumen — he’s as good as it gets when it comes to X’s and O’s. It’s his ability to run a program and not meddle that concerns me.
Ed Orgeron was similar early in his career (it’s why he failed at Ole Miss). He eventually made some changes and found great success at LSU. Maybe Pruitt will follow a similar path at Tennessee.
If Pruitt finishes the season strong and manages to get the Vols to four wins, or beats Florida, maybe the conversation is different at the end of the year.
But for now, it feels like Tennessee is on the verge of another coaching search. The program needs to choose its path carefully because the wrong move could set the program back even further.
Featured image via Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports