After a 30-7 win against UAB on Saturday night, the Tennessee Vols are officially on a winning streak.
And because of that two game winning streak, the Vols, who are now 4-5 this season, have a legitimate chance to reach a bowl game. In fact, an eight win season (if they were to win out and win their bowl game) is not out of the question.
That’s a far cry from where the team was in early September. A lot of folks, including myself, questioned whether or not Tennessee could even win four games this season.
There are plenty of reasons for the Vols’ recent success — improved coaching, players gaining experience, etc.
But perhaps the most important ingredient to Tennessee’s turnaround this season?
At its core, football is suppose to be fun. It’s why most football players first started playing the game — because they fell in love with competing and having fun while doing it.
However, it’s easy to lose sight of that at times. It’s especially difficult when a program starts 1-4 and the outside noise starts to creep in.
But Pruitt and his staff managed to keep the mood loose around Tennessee’s facilities during the rough stretch.
That’s because Pruitt has compiled a coaching staff that has incredible chemistry together, something the second year UT head coach referenced on Saturday night after the Vols’ win.
“We don’t have any secrets in our room. We say what we think to each other, which is the way I like to work. It’s fun being around them, and they do a really nice job, and I think the kids like being around them, too.”
The vibe from the coaching staff has extended to the team, with Pruitt telling reporters on Saturday that his team is “a fun group to be around.”
Pruitt: We have had to
execute at a little higher level in all three phases of our team, but you can see some of the guys are gaining confidence, with the fact they have been around and have been in the system a
little longer. The younger guys are gaining confidence and some of the guys that have been
here. It just comes from doing the same stuff over and over again.
I know the Vols still have a losing record at the moment. And there’s no guarantee they’ll finish the season with a winning record. But I think the job Pruitt has done this fall has been remarkable. From the way he was able to keep the locker room from imploding after a tough start, to the way he’s handled Jarrett Guarantano’s trials and tribulations this season, it’s all been positive.
Tennessee obviously still has a long way to go in their rebuild, but they’re certainly moving in the right direction.
Featured image via Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports