Late in the Tennessee Vols’ 35-13 loss to the Alabama Crimson Tide on Saturday night, Jeremy Pruitt slightly tugged on Jarrett Guarantano’s facemask after the redshirt junior quarterback fumbled on the goal line.

This happened after it appeared Guarantano went rogue and ran a sneak play when a run play was called.

After the game, Pruitt refused to throw Guarantano under the bus for his decision, instead opting to take the blame himself.

Offensive lineman Brandon Kennedy, however, told reporters that the play changed at the line.

If Guarantano changed the play, then it’s understandable why Pruitt was livid on the sideline. Instead of being within one score, the fumble, and subsequent return by Alabama for a touchdown, essentially put the game out of reach for the Vols.

Pruitt lit into Guarantano on the sideline, just as so many other SEC coaches have lit into players. He didn’t shove Guarantano, he simply tugged on his facemask. It was an emotional response in an emotional moment. When I saw it live, I didn’t think anything about it. It was a football coach coaching a football player.

The national media, however, is trying its best to make this a thing.

I can’t wrap my head around how this is actually a “situation”. It’s so silly. Are humans not suppose to act like humans anymore? Emotional situations elicit emotional responses. No one is perfect or acts perfect in every single situation. Pruitt clearly cares deeply about the kids on his roster. Sure, he’s getting paid millions to coach Tennessee, but I think it’s obvious he’s not into coaching for the money. Pruitt has a genuine passion for coaching and teaching.

And that’s not unique to Pruitt. The same can be said about a lot of coaches in college football. Just because they get paid a lot to do their job, doesn’t mean they don’t care or they aren’t passionate.

Football coaches coach. It’s that simple. That’s all Pruitt was doing on Saturday. The faux outrage over a simple facemask grab of a player who made a terrible decision at a critical moment is completely ridiculous.

There’s nothing to see here, except a team full of passionate players and coaches doing their best to win a game.

Featured image via Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports
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