The Tennessee Vols were unable to come away with a win against the Georgia Bulldogs in Athens on Saturday.
But despite the loss, I’ve never been more confident that Jeremy Pruitt is the right head coach for Tennessee.
I, along with Pruitt, don’t believe in moral victories. Nothing can take the sting out of a loss.
However, I’m also a realist. And I know the Vols aren’t playing with a full deck. I also know it’ll be a while before they will be. Until then, progress and a continued desire to get better is what I’m hoping to see from Tennessee.
On Saturday against Georgia, I saw all of those things and more.
I saw a team that looked better than they did a week ago against Florida. I saw a team that made some mistakes, but continued to fight. I saw a coaching staff that adjusted their game plan and tried to put their players in a great position to succeed.
More than anything, I saw a head coach that was literally moved to tears by the fight he saw in his team.
There’s no doubt in my mind that Pruitt is all in at Tennessee. He showed how much he cared by letting his emotions flow for the first time as the Vols’ head coach. When a coach cares about his players like Pruitt does, it’s going to translate to success. Pruitt as a head coach is the definition of tough love. And that’s what Tennessee needs.
The Vols are moving in the right direction under Pruitt. They’re getting a little better each week. While you can’t say Tennessee’s loss against Georgia was “close” (they still lost by 26), they managed to get the game into the fourth quarter. Had the ball bounced Tennessee’s way a couple of times, the final score (maybe even the outcome) could’ve been much different.
Tennessee proved that when they execute, they can play with some of the nation’s top talent. That means Pruitt’s system works. It also means, despite some early season criticisms, that offensive coordinator Tyson Helton’s system works.
The Vols are going to continue to get better as the season progresses. After watching their performance against the Bulldogs, I think Tennessee is capable of beating South Carolina, Missouri and Vanderbilt (I think Kentucky is for real, so I’m not feeling confident about that game). I also think they’re capable of giving Auburn some problems after the upcoming bye week.
UT fans should be extremely optimistic after the first month of the season.
September revealed that Tennessee still has a lot of flaws, but it also revealed that Jeremy Pruitt is the right man to fix those flaws.
Featured image via USA Today