Back in the spring, the unwillingness of Tennessee Vols head coach Jeremy Pruitt to speak about individual players became somewhat of a running joke among UT beat writers.
Pruitt asked specifically about Drew Richmond. Pruitt answers by discussing the entire O-line group.
He’s not gonna mention any individual’s name. He’s just not.
— Wes Rucker (@wesrucker247) April 7, 2018
Pruitt pretty much deflected every question tossed his way about individual players, opting instead to talk about position groups as a whole (albeit very vaguely).
Most folks assumed this was just Pruitt exhibiting the “Saban way”, which itself is a form of the “Belichick way”. While there’s probably some truth to that, Pruitt is going to be himself as a coach. He’s obviously going to do a lot of things the same way as Nick Saban, but that’s because Saban’s methods work.
With fall camp now underway, Pruitt is opening up a bit about individual players. He spoke at length on Friday about the intelligence of linebacker Darrin Kirkland Jr (he called him a fast learner and said he has “instincts”).
Pruitt says Darrin Kirkland Jr. “is a fast learner.”
“I think the guy has instincts. You don’t play in this league as a true freshman unless you got something about you.”
— Rocky Top Insider (@rockytopinsider) August 3, 2018
Pruitt also talked specifically about Bryce Thompson, Kenneth George and Austin Pope.
So why the change in Pruitt’s approach to media sessions?
I think it boils down to the fact that Pruitt isn’t the type to “BS” anyone.
At several points during the winter and spring, Pruitt alluded to the fact that he didn’t know the team all that well yet. Obviously it takes time to learn 80-100 different personalities and tendencies. Pruitt wasn’t willing to just carelessly throw out accolades after just arriving on campus a few months prior.
I think it’s clear that Pruitt knows his words, especially as the only coach at Tennessee who speaks to the media on a regular basis, carry a lot of weight.
The previous head coach of the Vols, Butch Jones, spouted all kinds of non-sense on a regular basis. A lot of what he said turned out to be false, or incredibly inaccurate (especially when it came to evaluating players).
Pruitt is careful with his words. And those are the type of coaches you can trust.
It’s incredibly refreshing to have trust back on Rocky Top, isn’t it?
Featured image via 247Sports