Tennessee football coach Jeremy Pruitt is not happy with his Vols team after the Spring Game.
Tennessee football players are in for a rude awakening under new head coach Jeremy Pruitt. The Volunteers coach didn’t hold back with his criticism of his squad’s effort level after today’s Spring Game in Knoxville.
Given Tennessee’s struggles under Butch Jones, Vols fans should be excited about the change in the program. Pruitt was hired to usher in a new era of Tennessee football and it seems he’s taking the job very seriously. Accusing players of quitting during a Spring Game is highly unusual, even in the strange world of SEC football.
One has to wonder whether or not Pruitt’s comments will really get his squad’s attention. It’s possible he could be trying to encourage a little roster turnover. It’s not uncommon to see players elect to transfer after spring practice when they realize they’re not in a coach’s plans for the upcoming season.
Pruitt didn’t limit his criticism to his players, though. He also took aim at Tennessee fans who elected to sit out the Spring Game. When it’s rocking at capacity, Neyland Stadium can be one of the most intimidating venues in college football. Unfortunately for the Vols, the recent struggles of the program have eroded the school’s home field advantage lately.
Time will tell whether or not Pruitt’s words have a real impact on either his players or Volunteer fans. As is the case with most SEC schools, the head coach will only gain favor if he’s able to produce wins on the field. The mess Pruitt is inheriting in Knoxville may make that a difficult proposition during his first couple of seasons.
At the very least, you have to admire Pruitt’s nerve. Lesser coaches would have stuck with coach speak in the aftermath of their first Spring Game. Pruitt made the bold decision to call out both his players and fans on his first semi-important day on the job. It’s clearly a different day in Knoxville. Whether or not it’s a better day is still very much up for debate.