Tennessee football is one of the hottest teams in college football, and now, one former player belives the SEC better be ready for the rise of Jeremy Pruitt.
There were flashes last season where we saw that Jeremy Pruitt could lead the Vols to a championship, whether that’s an SEC Championship or something more.
We’ve seen some Tennessee fans have that feeling last year, but we’ve never seen a recent Tennessee coach simply outcoach some of the best coaches in the SEC. That’s something that Pruitt was pretty successful in his second season at Tennessee.
There were some hiccups in the first half of the season, but from Georgia on, it’s like we had a completely different team out there. The coaches were coaching their butts off, and the players were playing their butts off, and they fought harder than I’ve ever seen a Tennessee team fight before.
Last year’s team wasn’t great, either. They were a pretty good team, but they weren’t a team that was good enough to compete with Georgia for most of the game and Alabama for three and a half quarters, but Pruitt was able to light a fire in that team.
There wasn’t much if any of that with the last three Tennessee coaches, so it makes you think that Phillip Fulmer found something special in Jeremy Pruitt, an Alabama guy born and raised turned leader of the Tennessee football team and the Vols’ next head coach.
But before he became Tennessee’s head coach, he made the rounds around Alabama coaching for high school and colleges throughout the state, including West Alabama, where he coached defensive backs.
One of the defensive backs that Pruitt coached was George Bates. That’s a familiar last name throughout the state of Tennessee.
Bates joined Valdosta High School head coach Rush Propst on the “Tennessee Two-A-Days” podcast to discuss Pruitt and Tennessee football.
"“To me, they are a program on the rise,” Bates said about Tennessee. “It does not surprise me at all because with the COVID-19 pandemic going on, with all campuses being shut down, no official visits being handled, no spring evaluations by the coaches – deep down in this day and age kids love the flash.“He is the perfect guy for Tennessee because he has been around multiple successful programs, multiple successful head coaches,” Bates said. “Now being the guy that he is, that is a grinder, he is taking all of those experiences and I think Tennessee is something that is about to have happen (for them) that has not happened in a long time. He is a force to be reckoned with in the East and ultimately the SEC as a whole.”"
I think that Tennessee fans see something special in Pruitt. Especially right now as he’s going up and down the virtual recruiting trail and getting commit after commit while other SEC rivals are sitting on their hands subtweeting Tennessee and Pruitt.
Maybe I just have hopeful thinking, but I think that Pruitt is different. His coaching style is different, and he’s not worried about looking good on the sidelines with pants that stand out or worried about how the program looks pretty on the outside when it’s cracking on the inside.
Pruitt is a football coach, and that’s it. He wants to coach football, and more importantly, he wants to win. No gimmicks, no games, just hard-nosed football. I think that people around the country are slowly starting to realize that.