Written by: Dylan Saylor
It’s year three of the Jeremy Pruitt era at Tennessee and I would say a breath of fresh optimism is circling the program again. After a rough 2-5 start last season, majority of the fan base was ready to put Pruitt’s head on a silver platter, and yet Tennessee finished strong with an 8-5 record.
I think we were all pretty critical of some of the coaching choices, with good reason. The obvious career low was losing to Georg- Georg- Georgia State (I couldn’t even type it.) Okay, that’s it, I ‘m over it now, I won’t mention it again, but it was a huge deal at the time. All and all, Pruitt ended up shocking us and pulling off one of the best coaching comebacks in college football.
In comparison, Butch Jones finished his second year as head coach in Knoxville with a 6-7 record and Derek Dooley before that with 5-7. Arguably, neither coach could take the leap in year three that most expected, although Jones did win a bowl game.
So for Pruitt and the team, what is the goal for year three? Obviously, most people would say an SEC title-but let's be real, that's not an easy task.
I, personally, want to win an SEC title more than anything, I think the strategy for Pruitt needs to be us beating one of the bigger rivals on our schedule. Last season, Pruitt showed that he can play with the best when the Vols took Alabama to the 4th quarter on the road. Then you have to remember that Pruitt has the players that he has been wanting after three recruiting cycles and coordinators. He could finally have the ability to help coach a winning program. I'm not going to sit here and predict we beat Alabama or Oklahoma next season, but you can't lose by three touchdowns either. Defeating Flordia would be incredible, since they’re our biggest rival. (Also, I'm not saying Pruitt and the Vols have to defeat the Gators for this upcoming season to be a success, just saying it would help. A lot.)
2020-2021, or whenever they start the college football season will be exciting for Tennessee. Obviously, the players have to win the game, but Pruitt plays a major key in how far this team goes. I would assume in his first two years, at times, he didn't trust the coaches around him so OC Jim Chaney and DC Derek Ansley coming into their second year should be a major boost on how this team performs. Pruitt had his best recruiting cycle highlighted by 5 star Harrison Bailey, but with returning players like Trey Smith, Henry To’o To’o, Cade Mays (Transfer), Bryce Thompson, Jarrett Guarantano and many more players, this team has the opportunity to perform at a high level.
It's so early to make really bold predictions, but 3 things Pruitt and the Vols have to do this next season is...
1. Can't lose easy games (Charlotte, Furman, Arkansas, Vanderbilt, Troy)
2. High performance from the QB position
3. Have to win 7 or more games ( BOLD prediction)
I think Jeremy Pruitt has done a phenomenal job, considering what cards he was dealt with the whole Butch Jones saga. I believe in this coach and his ability to coach these young men to success. How about you? GBO