One of the main reasons why the Tennessee Vols have a 1-3 record to start the season is because of the youth movement on Rocky Top.
For the most part, Tennessee’s most talented players are also their youngest players. As a result, Vols head coach Jeremy Pruitt has been forced to play more freshmen than what he’d probably consider ideal.
While that doesn’t bode well for this season, it’s a good thing for the future of Tennessee football.
All of these young players, like dynamic running back Eric Gray and future stud linebacker Henry To’o To’o, are gaining invaluable inexperience that will help them in 2020 and beyond.
The young players are also learning how to work hard, which is something that senior linebacker Daniel Bituli, who spoke to reporters on Tuesday, has been quick to notice.
“I was actually at home yesterday and I FaceTimed the young guys and they were still at the facility at 9:00, 10:00 last night. It felt really good to know that these young guys are working so hard.”
Bituli also noted that To’o To’o and “a whole bunch of the younger guys” are “doing a great job of coming in and watching film”.
Tennessee has made a lot of mistakes this season. And that’s likely a byproduct of playing a lot of young players.
But moving forward, I think it’s clear that UT has a solid foundation of talent in place.
Pruitt basically had to tear down everything that previous Vols head coach Butch Jones built. He’s now in the process of rebuilding the program with better materials (players and coaches). It’s a process that takes time, but based on the actions of Tennessee’s freshmen, he’s on the right track.
I don’t think we’ll truly be able to judge Pruitt until this year’s crop of freshmen are upperclassmen.
At that point, then we’ll know who Pruitt actually is as a head coach.
Featured image via Randy Sartin/USA Today