Tennessee Vols head coach Jeremy Pruitt has a simple philosophy when it comes to playing time.
Be consistent in practice, or don’t play.
In defensive back Shawn Shamburger’s case, not being consistent meant not even being on the travel roster for the game against Georgia last weekend.
Shamburger, who played in 11 games last season, was left behind as the Volunteers traveled to Athens. On Wednesday, during the weekly SEC coaches teleconference, Pruitt offered a vague explanation for the decision to not bring Shamburger along to Georgia, saying “We went with the guys that we felt like gave us the best opportunity that week”.
Shawn Shamburger is a physical dude. pic.twitter.com/tp8odoLVfF
— Rainey (@RaineyVoI) August 26, 2018
Earlier this off-season, Pruitt told reporters that Shamburger has a chance to be a “good one”.
I think Pruitt sees a lot of potential in Shamburger. And I think he expects a little more from him because of that potential.
Pruitt is likely trying to send Shamburger a message by not bringing him along to Athens.
There’s no way that redshirt freshman Terrell Bailey, who made the trip despite not playing in any games yet this season, gave the Volunteers a better chance to win than bringing Shamburger.
I’m sure the hope is that staying behind in Knoxville will force Shamburger to get his act together and approach practice with more consistency.
For what it’s worth, I think Pruitt is taking the right approach with Shamburger. Pruitt obviously isn’t going to settle for a player wasting his talent and being “just good enough” to get on the field. He wants to see that talent maximized. And that starts with daily and weekly preparation.
Pruitt is right that Shamburger has a chance to be a “good one”. Now he just has to put it all together.
Featured image via The Athletic