After a promising 2-0 start in November, the Tennessee Vols stumbled their way through two straight losses to finish the 2018 season with a 5-7 record.

There were some bright moments for the Vols in Jeremy Pruitt’s first season as the head coach on Rocky Top. The wins against Auburn and Kentucky, both ranked teams at the time, were impressive. But disastrous losses to the Missouri Tigers and Vanderbilt Commodores left a bad taste for Vol fans, essentially overshadowing any progress that was made this season.

SEC Network analyst Cole Cubelic gave his take on what happened to Tennessee at the end of the season.

I think he’s pretty much on point with his thoughts. The Vols had no depth and their strength program was a complete mess when Pruitt took over. Those are situations that aren’t remedied overnight. Conditioning and depth take time to fix.

It’s a long season. Players take a beating, mentally and physically. Pruitt wasn’t at a point where he could take it “easy” on players during the final stretch of the season. Tennessee’s head coach is still trying to change the culture in Knoxville and that means, basically, no days off.

Of course, running out of gas wasn’t the only issue for the Vols.

Not everyone bought into what Pruitt was selling. Senior defensive lineman Kyle Phillips pointed that fact out during his post-game media session on Saturday night.

Phillips, however, believes in Pruitt and the future of the Vol football program.

Senior defensive lineman Shy Tuttle also believes Pruitt has the program heading in the right direction.

Once Pruitt builds some depth, and has more of his handpicked players on the roster, we’ll finally see what the Volunteers are capable of under this coaching staff.

But it’s going to take some time to get to that point. Maybe in 2020 the Vols will finally be able to make some serious noise and compete for a SEC Championship.

Featured image via Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

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