After a disastrous 0-2 start to the season, the Tennessee Vols finally looked like a legitimate SEC team on Saturday in their 45-0 win against the Chattanooga Mocs.
It would be easy to believe that Vols head coach Jeremy Pruitt made some changes after a less-than-ideal start to the season, but that wasn’t the case.
Pruitt and his staff didn’t alter their approach after the slow start, telling reporters on Saturday “We’ve not really changed the way we coach”.
That’s a great sign for Tennessee moving forward, because it means Pruitt is confident in his coaching approach. Unlike his predecessor, Butch Jones.
In Jones’ first season at Tennessee, Jones caved to the media pressure and made a starting quarterback change prior to the Vols’ matchup against Florida.
Nathan Peterman received the start over Justin Worley (who had UT off to a 2-1 start with the one loss coming to a Marcus Mariota led Oregon Ducks squad).
The first half was an unmitigated disaster. Peterman passed for five yards with two interceptions and a fumble and was benched at halftime. The decision to start Peterman over Worley likely cost Tennessee the game.
Jones made that decision because he wasn’t confident in himself as a coach. He paid too much attention to what the media was saying.
Pruitt, however, isn’t going to make that same mistake, because he’s extremely confident in himself as a coach (even if he’s made some bad decisions at times).
The second year Vols head coach told reporters after the win against Chattanooga that he never considered benching quarterback Jarrett Guarantano because of the noise from the media, saying “we’re not really worried about what you say when it comes to our quarterbacks”. Pruitt added “we just went business as usual”.
Pruitt may or may not be the head coach who returns Tennessee to relevancy. No one knows. Not even Pruitt.
But if Pruitt can’t bring the Vols “back”, it won’t be because he was a thin skinned coach who didn’t believe in himself.
Pruitt’s the alpha male of Tennessee’s football program. And I think he’s proved that with his actions this season.
Featured image via Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports