Jeremy Pruitt knew he had an uphill battle in front of him when he replaced Butch Jones as the Tennessee Vols head football coach.
Tennessee’s roster was left in shambles by Jones and the culture was a complete disaster when Pruitt took over last December.
The former Alabama defensive coordinator has been remarkably transparent when it comes to the state of Tennessee football. Unlike his predecessor, Pruitt isn’t trying to make small progress look like big leaps.
Pruitt and his staff aren’t surprised the Vols have struggled this season. It was to be expected.
Tennessee’s players knew the struggles were coming, too. According to junior linebacker Daniel Bituli, Pruitt told the players before the season that adversity would hit this year.
Daniel Bituli: Coach Pruitt emphasized at the beginning of the season that we are going to go through adversity and we are going to face it. This is football. It is a sport as a whole and for us to be able to face adversity and stand firm to it, I think that’s the biggest defensive attribute we have as a team.
Despite the adversity, Pruitt hasn’t changed his coaching approach. He’s remained consistent in the way he coaches his players and his team as a whole.
And I think that’s incredibly important. It would be easy for Pruitt to feel the pressure, especially as a new head coach, and change what he’s doing. There are times when that’s the right move, but not when a coach is trying to implement a completely new culture/system.
Daniel Bituli: He [Pruitt] really has not changed. He is the most consistent coach that I have probably ever met. He is as tough as any coach I have ever seen. He preaches the same thing over and over again. You can tell each and every day he is staying the same. He wants tough guys out there on the field and he preaches that every day.
Pruitt’s system work. He’s an incredibly accomplished defensive coordinator who has won multiple national championships. He absolutely knows what it takes to win.
Part of what it takes to win is remaining consistent as a football program. And that starts with coaching. Eventually, everything that Pruitt is instilling in Tennessee’s players will start to show up on the field in the form of wins.
Maybe that will be this weekend against Auburn.
I’m not predicting the Vols beat the Tigers on the road this weekend, but I wouldn’t be shocked either.
Tennessee is going to have a breakout moment at some point in the near future. And it’s going to be an amazingly sweet moment for Vol fans.
Featured image via Knox News