Tennessee Vols fans aren’t accustomed to seeing a head coach wearing orange that consistently makes correct personnel decisions.
Previous Tennessee head coach Butch Jones made a habit of either under-utilizing talented players, or not putting players in the best positions to succeed.
Prior to his time in Knoxville, Jones refused to move JJ Watt to defensive end at Central Michigan, instead opting to play him at tight and along the offensive line. While at Tennessee, Jones neglected to move Kahlil McKenzie to the offensive line, which would’ve helped alleviate the Volunteers’ decencies in that area.
Fortunately for Vol fans, Jeremy Pruitt is now in charge of the program. And he’s already showing his intelligence when it comes to putting players in the right spots.
Early during spring camp, Pruitt moved Alontae Taylor, who signed with UT as a wide receiver, to cornerback. It was a move that caught a lot of folks by surprise. Taylor was expected to give the Vols some much needed speed on offense.
But the move has clearly paid off, as Taylor is proving to be one of Tennessee’s most important defensive players.
No cornerbacks have limited receivers in coverage from the Power-5 quite like these guys – led by Michigan CB David Long pic.twitter.com/EJRRvKnHS7
— PFF College (@PFF_College) October 15, 2018
Pruitt has been vigilant about moving players around during his first ten months in Knoxville. He’s desperately trying to figure out where players can be of the most help to the Vols.
Essentially, he’s not going to let a JJ Watt type situation happen on his watch.
This week during practice, Pruitt made another bold move. He slid true freshman running back Jeremy Banks to the defensive side of the ball at linebacker.
NEWS: Vols bruising rookie RB Jeremy Banks practiced at MLB today.
We’ll see how long the experiment lasts but this is a move that’s been rumored for a bit.
Banks certainly has enticing traits that are missing in that unit. How fast can he get ready to play though? pic.twitter.com/onp2N3WaMx
— Jesse Simonton (@JesseReSimonton) October 23, 2018
I have no clue if Banks will stick at linebacker, but I love that Pruitt is trying him there.
Banks has had some success running the ball this season. He runs angry and he falls forward to pick up extra yards. The energy he brings to the field is undeniable.
But Banks has a problem holding onto the ball. Those ball security issues have kept Banks from seeing the field the last couple of weeks.
I think Pruitt is trying to find a way to get Banks’ energy on the field, while also building some depth at linebacker. Banks doesn’t shy away from contact. In fact, he looks for it.
That’s a trait that could make him successful on the defensive side of the ball.
We’ll have to see how it plays out, but Pruitt could end up looking like a genius with this move.
Not that I’d be surprised, every other move Pruitt has made has seemed to work out.
Featured image via USA Today