When Butch Jones was the head coach of the Tennessee Vols, there were usually plenty of excuses before and after a loss.
Jones was always quick to point out what kind of adversity the Vols were facing in a given week.
Whether it was three games in 13 days, or over half the team traveling to an away game for the first time in their career, Jones always had a stack of excuses ready to go.
Current Vols head coach Jeremy Pruitt, however, doesn’t have time for excuses. When Tennessee loses, he doesn’t offer up a list of excuses explaining why a win didn’t happen. Pruitt simply tells reporters what went wrong and where the team needs to improve.
A great example of this happened after the Vols’ recent loss to Georgia. Pruitt could’ve pointed to the lack of practices during the pandemic as a reason for Tennessee’s undisciplined play against Georgia (the Vols had 10 penalties for 84 yards). One reporter even tried to set Pruitt up to use the pandemic as an excuse for the Georgia loss by asking the third-year head coach if the lack of practices was the reason for UT’s 10 penalties.
But Pruitt was having none of it.
“We lost the game Saturday because Georgia outplayed us in the second half, that’s the bottom line,” explained Pruitt on Monday during a virtual media session with reporters. “There’s been circumstances within our fall camp that we had no control over, but we’ve known that all along. We have to find a way to adapt and improve. Our kids will find a way to get better.”
“With the mental mistakes that we made on a couple of plays. We couldn’t overcome that. Then you throw in the turnovers in the second half, it was too much for us to overcome against a really good football team. It’s not what we want to be offensively.”
Pruitt’s refusal to make excuses should make Vol fans feel confident in the direction of the program. He knows what’s wrong and he’s going to continue to work hard to fix it.
And most importantly, Pruitt is certain that Tennessee will get better.
“We’ll come back and go to work this week. We’ve got a lot of character on our football team and they’ll work hard to improve.”
Featured image via Tennessee Athletic Communications