During spring practice, and well into fall camp, Tennessee Vols head coach Jeremy Pruitt refused to praise specific players.
Pruitt was asked directly about individual players on multiple occasions and consistently offered generic answers describing the whole team instead of singling anyone out.
The first reporter this spring who gets Jeremy Pruitt to mention an individual Tennessee player should get a big trophy or plaque for the office wall. JMO.
— Wes Rucker (@wesrucker247) March 28, 2018
The refusal of Pruitt to praise individual players came across to me as another example of his honesty. The former Alabama defensive coordinator was still learning his players and he wasn’t going to throw out a name just to satisfy the gathered media.
Those actions during the spring and early fall, however, are what makes Pruitt’s words NOW so believable. When Pruitt praises a specific player, it means more.
Defensive back Nigel Warrior and outside linebacker Darrell Taylor are two players who were recently pointed out by Pruitt as team leaders.
Jeremy Pruitt singles out Darrell Taylor and Nigel Warrior as two guys who have emerged as leaders on the team. “There are others,” he said.
— David Ubben (@davidubben) October 11, 2018
That’s a far cry from what Pruitt was saying during the spring, when he was insistent that the coaches were the leaders the of the team.
Pruitt says Will Friend, the offensive line coach, has “emerged” as the leader of the offensive line
— Rocky Top Insider (@rockytopinsider) March 31, 2018
I think it’s pretty obvious that Pruitt wasn’t going to single out anyone as a team leader until someone stepped up in a way that met his standards.
That’s why it’s great news for the Volunteers that players like Warrior and Taylor are emerging as team leaders.
Pruitt has been around a lot of elite players and elite leaders. He undoubtedly has high standards in that area. The fact that Warrior and Taylor, and maybe “others”, are meeting those high standards is another great sign for the future of Tennessee football.
Featured image via Knox News