Tennessee Volunteers Athletic Director Phillip Fulmer joined Nashville’s 104.5 The Zone and talked about his thoughts on the 2019 season.
Phillip Fulmer might have had a stressful 2019 after Tennessee football’s tough start to the season, but Jeremy Pruitt bailed him out and made his job a bit easier going into December.
When you look back on the 2019 season, you might have mixed emotions about how the season turned out. Obviously, in the end, everything worked out, but the beginning of the season was the complete opposite.
"“It’s obvious we came out of it in a good place, where we did,” Phillip Fulmer said. “But it’s really a tale of two seasons, honestly. We look at the beginning of the season, just to learn from it. How do we not ever get there again. What do we have to do differently in our preparation and our recruiting not to have that. Because it’s not like Oklahoma and Georgia beat you. It was two teams that, at least one of the two at the time, we should’ve beaten handily probably.”"
Yeah, Tennessee probably should have beaten Georgia State and BYU in Neyland, I can agree with that. Handily? Yeah, Tennessee should have beaten both teams handily.
It looked like early in the season that Pruitt had already lost the locker room, and he was only a couple more bad losses away before being unemployed after only a year and a half as Tennessee’s head coach.
"“So you fight through that. And it was the most incredible journey from that point on, watching Coach Pruitt hold that group of kids and staff — the staff did a great job helping hold that team together,” Fulmer continued. “Fighting to get to the place that we got to. I think we had six in a row, something like that. Six out of seven or seven out of eight, I guess. It was fun. That was fun. They were all fights. There weren’t any of them that were just gimmes. And then to go and win the bowl game, just to put the cherry on top.”"
The final run that Tennessee went on to cap off the football season made the struggles early in the season all worth it. Pruitt turned the program around on a dime, and if he didn’t, he would have been in trouble.
You could tell that the players were having fun on that run and the coaches too. It sounds like Fulmer was having just as much fun as the AD.
After a great early signing period, Pruitt needs to cap the class off with a solid National Signing Day and parlay that into a great start into the 2020 season, which will be needed based on Tennessee’s schedule.