After the Tennessee Vols lost to Georgia State this past Saturday, I expected UT head coach Jeremy Pruitt to be in rare form.
Pruitt has a reputation as an intense coach who demands perfection. And what Tennessee did on Saturday was about as far from perfection as a team can get.
But instead of a ranting and raving Pruitt, we saw a calm and measured head coach who took the loss in stride.
I’ve spent most of the week trying to figure out if Pruitt’s reaction was good or bad.
I can’t figure out if Jeremy Pruitt’s calm demeanor is good or bad
— zach ragan (@zachTNT) September 2, 2019
After five days of thinking about Pruitt’s reaction, I’ve arrived at the conclusion that it’s not necessarily a bad thing.
I think what we’re seeing from Pruitt is a calculated move. We have no idea how he’s behaved behind closed doors and during the closed portions of practice.
Publicly, I think Pruitt wants to give off the vibe that he’s in control. He doesn’t want anyone panicking.
It’s not like Pruitt suddenly became a docile head coach who breezes through life with a laissez-faire attitude. He’s the still the same passionate head coach who showed off his fiery approach when he angrily kicked a white board on the sideline during the 2018 season.
— SEC Football Vids (@SECFootballVids) July 24, 2019
Pruitt’s anger didn’t lead the Vols to a comeback against Florida, there’s no reason to expect that publicly shaming his players would help Tennessee beat BYU this weekend.
By the way, Butch Jones took the impassioned approach after UT lost to Oregon in 2013. And we all know how things worked out for Jones.
Butch Jones: “Losing will never be accepted here. Not in Tennessee football.”
— @GrantRamey (@GrantRamey) September 14, 2014
I don’t think Pruitt needs to remind anyone, publicly, that losing shouldn’t be accepted. It’s redundant at this point for a fan base that’s been through plenty of losing over the last decade. The more important thing isn’t the words that are said at a media session, but fixing the underlying issues that caused the loss.
Jones was worried more about perception, Pruitt is more worried about fixing the football team.
We’ll see in the coming weeks/months if Pruitt’s calm approach is wise, but for now I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt.
Featured image via Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports