One of the most important things a college football program can do is have a roster full of players that hold each other accountable.
Coaches are in place for a reason, but it’s when players hold each other accountable that a team can truly achieve something special.
That’s why it’s a great sign for the Tennessee Vols that the program’s players are holding each other accountable in Jeremy Pruitt’s second season at the helm.
Need an example of how?
In Tennessee’s win against UAB, true freshman offensive lineman Wanya Morris had a not-so-great game.
I’m thinking Wanya Morris will not enjoy film study of this first half.
Not the finest hour for the Vols freshman left tackle and Jarrett Guarantano is paying the price.
— Mike Wilson (@ByMikeWilson) November 3, 2019
It’s not all that surprising that Morris had a rough game. It’s a long season and Morris, though he’s extremely talented and has a lot of upside, is still ripe with inexperience.
Junior offensive lineman Trey Smith was quick to hold Morris accountable for his performance.
#Vols’ Trey Smith on fellow OL Wanya Morris’ struggles last weekend: Wanya knows what he did wrong, and he’s gonna correct it. His upside is limitless, and he cares. I’m not perfect, either, so I’m not gonna discuss his mistakes in public. I also made a ton of mistakes Saturday.
— Wes Rucker (@wesrucker247) November 5, 2019
Smith’s reaction is the definition of a true leader. He obviously had discussions with Morris, but he kept the content of those discussions private.
Morris, to his credit, apologized to the team for his showing against UAB.
Trey Smith said he’s been impressed with Wanya Morris’ response to his poor outing vs. UAB. Said they’ve studied tape together late the past couple nights and he had a good practice Monday. Morris also apologized to his teammates for his play vs. the Blazers.
— David Ubben (@davidubben) November 5, 2019
There’s been a lot of signs lately that Tennessee football is slowly moving in the right direction (it’s a marathon, not a sprint). But I think this might be one of the most encouraging signs yet.
This is the type of culture that nearly every head coach wants to create. This is what programs strive for. Coaches can only coach so much. Ultimately, it’s up to players to take their game to the next level. When you have players that care as much as Smith and Morris, it’s contagious.
Fortunately for the Vols, they have a lot of players (looking at you, Jauan Jennings) that care deeply about Tennessee.
Featured image via Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports