One of the big mistakes that Butch Jones made as the Tennessee Vols’ head coach was trying to force the issue when it came to team leadership.
I don’t think anyone, at the time, knew he was making a mistake. Looking for players to step up and be leaders isn’t a new concept in any way. I think most folks, including myself, thought Jones was doing the right thing.
But in hindsight, Jones might have been trying to force something that wasn’t there.
That’s why I think new Vols head coach Jeremy Pruitt is taking the right approach when it comes to team leadership. It’s either going to happen organically or it isn’t going to happen at all.
And if it doesn’t happen, then that’s alright with Pruitt. He’s been in that position before and things worked out just fine.
Pruitt, speaking after Tennessee’s scrimmage on Saturday, told the media “I can tell you that there’s been two teams that I have coached that the coaching staff were the leaders of the team. And we won national championships with those teams. The coaching staff had to say ‘let’s go’.”
It doesn’t sound like Pruitt is very concerned about whether or not “leaders” step up on either side of the ball. And you know what, he shouldn’t be. At least not if he (and the rest of the staff) is doing his job right.
It’s the job of the coaching staff to motivate, correct and instill the right habits.
If a couple of players step and hold their teammates accountable, then that’s great. But at the end of the day it’s still on the coaching staff.
Pruitt’s attitude toward team leadership is just another example of how his championship experience with Florida State and Alabama will help him as Tennessee’s head coach.
Featured image via Yahoo