One of the toughest things many coaches face, especially at the college level, is finding ways to truly develop the young talent on your roster.
Doing that during the season when you’re focused on game planning and getting the guys that see the field for you prepared the best is the primary focus of every staff in the country. Those that are fortunate enough to make a bowl game get the added benefit of some extra practice time that can prove to be invaluable in bringing along those younger players.
Jeremy Pruitt, in his first season as a head coach, has a tremendous resource at his disposal with former Vols head coach Phil Fulmer as his athletic director. After a recent conversation with Fulmer, Pruitt instituted some changes to the Vols practice in an effort to develop the youth on the team.
After yesterday’s practice, Pruitt shared the following not the practice changes, via 247:
“Really it was Coach Fulmer’s idea. I thought it was a great idea. We’ve never done this any at the other places I’ve been, but you’re talking about 15 or 20 minutes at the end of practice, and it’s for the guys who play on the scout team, maybe our twos. It’s a chance to get extra work.”
“We cut back a little bit with our first groups to allow practice time to be able to do that and just kind of go back and focus on fundamentals, to go back and just kind of reiterate the foundation. A lot of these guys that play on the scout team, sometimes in individual they’re servicing somebody else, so it’s a chance to go back and kind of cement a little bit of a foundation, so they have moving forward.”
Fulmer hasn’t coached since finishing out the 2008 season with the Vols at 5-7, but it goes to show that even someone like Pruitt who worked under guys like both Nick Saban and Jimbo Fisher the past decade still has things he can learn from a coaching veteran like Fulmer.
Give Pruitt even more credit for putting his ego to the side and taking Fulmer’s advice and instituting it immediately.