Tennessee Vols head coach Jeremy Pruitt is, generally, recognized by his peers as someone who possesses a tremendously bright football mind.
There’s never been a question about Pruitt’s knowledge of the game.
But how he would fare as a head coach — the personnel decisions and handling a roster — was always an unknown.
Moving into the second year of the Pruitt era, it’s becoming clear that the former Alabama defensive coordinator is a good all around head coach.
In fact, we were provided yet another example of Pruitt’s savviness as a head coach on Friday.
Sophomore Jeremy Banks has bounced back and forth between offense and defense during his first year plus on Rocky Top.
Banks started fall camp with the running backs, but this week he moved back to defense to work with the linebackers.
Pruitt thinks Banks is one of the best players on the team and he wants him on the field in some capacity.
Pruitt on Jeremy Banks working at LB: “Play your best players, right? In my opinion, Jeremy is one of our best players.”
Will work with the defense for the next couple weeks.
— David Ubben (@davidubben) August 23, 2019
There’s a chance that Banks would’ve been buried on the running back depth chart, thanks to strong fall camps from incumbent starter Ty Chandler and true freshman Eric Gray.
But at linebacker, where the Vols are a little thin right now, Banks could see plenty of playing time.
And let’s be honest — I’m sure Pruitt wants to see Banks hit some guys.
Pruitt says Jeremy Banks will play at LB for the Vols for the next 3-4 weeks. He added that Banks has a chance to play every snap on defense whereas he was going to be relegated to just playing in the rotation with 3 other players at RB.
— Rocky Top Insider (@rockytopinsider) August 23, 2019
This might not seem like a big deal, and maybe it won’t be, but Pruitt’s willingness to find a way to get Banks on the field is a positive sign for the future of Tennessee football.
Previous Vols head coach Butch Jones failed in this area (not just at Tennessee, he failed at Central Michigan as well). Jones was terrible at finding ways to get at talented players on the field (though I’ll give him credit for playing Jauan Jennings at wide receiver instead of linebacker or quarterback).
Pruitt, on the other hand, has proved to be adept at identifying talent and making the best use of the talent he has.
Moving forward, Tennessee fans won’t have to worry about players being underused (like Alvin Kamara).
That has to be a good feeling for a beleaguered fan base.
Featured image via Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports