Tennessee Vols head coach Jeremy Pruitt decided earlier this year that he’s going to delegate a bit more in 2019.
Pruitt hired former Oakland Raiders defensive backs coach Derrick Ansley during the winter to coach Tennessee’s secondary and also serve as the Vols’ defensive coordinator.
Ansley will call the defensive plays Tennessee this season. Pruitt made the defensive play calls during his first season on Rocky Top.
This is a smart move by Pruitt. It frees him up to be more of a head coach over the entire program, instead of shifting his focus mostly to one area — especially on game day.
But Pruitt is still the head coach. And he’s still a defensive coach by nature.
So how will he handle another coach making the defensive calls?
Well, as you’d expect, Pruitt will still have veto power over the calls. And it’s something he won’t hesitate to use if needed.
Pruitt told reporters on Tuesday that if he hears a play call he doesn’t like, he’ll simply make another call.
Pruitt on playcalling on D: “I don’t think it’s going to be any different than it was before. I hear every call that goes out there, and if there’s one I don’t like, I’ll say call this instead. Why am I the HC at Tennessee? Probably because I was a good playcaller at one point.”
— David Ubben (@davidubben) August 20, 2019
Easy enough, right?
This means whatever happens on the field defensively will be on Pruitt. Which also means he won’t be able to yell at Ansley if the play call doesn’t work out (though I’m sure we’ll still see Pruitt getting animated on the sideline).
Love the coach drawing on the whiteboard being completely unphased by Jeremy Pruitt kicking it…..business as usual on Rocky Top. pic.twitter.com/58uA64ulAO
— Jack McGuire (@JackMacCFB) September 23, 2018
By the way, Pruitt said during the summer that he believes Ansley calling the plays will make Tennessee a better football team.
Pruitt pointed out that defensive coordinators typically look over every play from the opposing offense after a series. As a head coach, Pruitt doesn’t have that luxury.
I’m sure it wasn’t easy for Pruitt to give up some of his control over the defense, but I definitely believe it was the right move for the future of the program.
Featured image via Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports