The Tennessee Vols have had a lot of bad losses over the last ten years, but the loss to the Georgia State Panthers on Saturday is easily the worst.
Tennessee entered the 2019 season hoping to improve on a five win 2018 season. Instead, it appears the program took a step back after a 38-30 loss to the Panthers in Neyland Stadium.
The shocking loss left fans dumfounded and looking for answers.
How could a team with more experience and an improved coaching staff lose to a team that didn’t exist before 2010 and won only two games last season?
And that’s not something I expected to type today.
Tennessee is way more talented than Georgia State. It’s not even close. The bulk of this Vols team beat Auburn and Kentucky last season. It’s the same players.
But if you watched even a minute of UT on Saturday, you know you watched a team that was not prepared to play.
Defensively, Tennessee looked like they were going half speed the entire game. They lacked effort. They played sloppy and undisciplined.
To put it bluntly, they were very poorly coached.
And you know what’s bad?
Jeremy Pruitt alluded to it earlier this week. He basically told us what was going to happen without us even realizing it.
Pruitt told reporters that Tennessee was going to “keep it simple” on both sides of the ball.
#Vols coach Jeremy Pruitt not being coy: It’s the first game. There are so many unknowns. We’re gonna keep it simple on both sides of the ball and let our guys play as fast as possible.
— Wes Rucker (@wesrucker247) August 26, 2019
That’s a terrible way to approach a college football game. I don’t care if it’s against Georgia State or Alabama. You approach every game the same — to win by as many points as possible. Otherwise, you end up losing to overmatched teams.
Tennessee walked into Neyland Stadium overconfident on Saturday. It was an embarrassing performance and it rests squarely on the shoulders of Pruitt. He didn’t prepare his team to win and he basically told everyone ahead of time that he didn’t.
I don’t know what the future holds for Pruitt and Tennessee. But I know that Pruitt displayed a MAJOR red flag on Saturday and it can’t be ignored.
Pruitt let Vol nation down on Saturday. He let his team down. Pruitt is still a relatively inexperienced head coach, and it would be silly to close the book on him already, but he has a lot of soul searching to do if he’s going to be the guy that turns Tennessee around.
Featured image via Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports