Former Tennessee Vols head coach Butch Jones had a unique recruiting approach during his time in Knoxville.
And by unique I mean bad.
Jones recruited smaller offensive linemen for his zone blocking scheme. That strategy worked in the Big East and the MAC, but it wasn’t (obviously) successful in the SEC.
As a result of Jones’ questionable recruiting methods, new Vols head coach Jeremy Pruitt inherited a roster that was small compared to the rest of the SEC.
There’s no secret to success in the SEC. The bigger, faster, more talented teams win the most football games. It’s that simple.
Upon being hired by UT, Pruitt brough in one of the best strength coaches in the business in Craig Fitzgerald. But it’s not possible to transform a roster overnight. The Vols had to work with what they had last season. And they finished with a 5-7 record after getting pushed around late in the season by some of the weaker teams in the SEC.
Fortunately for the Vols, Tennessee’s roster will look a lot different this season.
Fitzgerald’s had more time with the team. He’s been able to put a plan in place. And it’s already paying off.
Tennessee is noticeably bigger/stronger heading into the 2019 season.
Football ain’t a beauty contest, but believe me when I tell you that this is the #Vols’ most physically impressive crop of newcomers in a while.
Can they play actual football? I don’t know yet. But Jeremy Pruitt wanted to get this program bigger and stronger, and he’s doing it.
— Wes Rucker (@wesrucker247) August 4, 2019
The Vols should also be faster this season. Wide receivers coach Tee Martin recently noted that he challenged his position group to get faster and that’s exactly what they did (via their work in the weight room).
— Trey Wallace (@TreyWallace_) August 1, 2019
We already know that Tennessee has one of the best staffs in the country (maybe the best). The players on UT’s roster are going to get “coached up” as well as anyone in the country.
Success now just comes down to talent/strength/athleticism.
Based on the Vols’ offseason work, it sounds like they should be in a much better position to compete in the SEC this season.
We’ve been working all winter.
We’ve been working all spring and summer.
— Tennessee Football (@Vol_Football) July 12, 2019
Featured image via Bryan Lynn-USA TODAY Sports