Jeremy Pruitt failed as the Tennessee Vols head coach for a litany of reasons.
One of the biggest reasons Pruitt failed, however, was the program’s inability to score points under his guidance.
In Pruitt’s three seasons as Tennessee’s head coach, the program finished with the No. 109, No. 98, and No. 109 scoring offenses in the nation.
That’s obviously not going to get it done in the SEC (or any Power-5 conference).
Tennessee had some extremely talented players under Pruitt. There was no reason the program should’ve struggled offensively.
Vols senior wide receiver Velus Jones recently gave some insight as to why the program wasn’t able to score points consistently under Pruitt.
Jones (and other UT players) didn’t feel like players were properly utilized during the Pruitt era.
“A lot of players just felt like they weren’t utilized the way they should have,” said Jones in a recent interview with ESPN. “Everybody wanted to line up and play, to show the college football world who they are.”
Jones’ comments certainly don’t come as a surprise. The offense was stagnant under Pruitt and Jim Chaney. There was no creativity. No playing to players’ strengths. Instead, it felt like Tennessee was playing “safe” football while focusing on no turnovers.
Taking care of the football is important, but offenses in the SEC have to take risks if they’re going to be successful.
Pruitt was a very risk-averse coach, which robbed Tennessee’s best athletes of using their skills.
Fortunately for Jones, Heupel is giving UT’s players the freedom to be themselves.
“We wanted a coach that allowed us to be ourselves and play how we feel comfortable,” explained Jones. “The culture is changing fast. I can’t wait for everybody else to see what we can do.”
The Vols’ offense is going to look a lot different in 2021. I don’t know how many points per game Tennessee will score this season, but I feel very confident it will be a vast improvement over what we saw during the Pruitt era.
Featured image via Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports/Knoxville News Sentinel-USA TODAY NETWORK