Hired after the first 0-8 SEC season in school history, Jeremy Pruitt was hired to break things. He’s the bull, and Tennessee is the china shop. A no-nonsense disciple of Nick Saban’s Temple of the Process, Pruitt was hired to do what Kirby Smart is currently doing at Georgia — turn the ship around, and do it quickly.
After his first 15 practices, Pruitt is pleased with some aspects of what he inherited and disgusted with others.
Here’s how he opened his press conference following Saturday’s spring game:
“You know the big thing out there today, I mean, you see some guys competing pretty hard. They may not be doing things perfect, but they’re heading in the right direction, something you can build off of. And then I saw a couple guys out there today that just flat-out quit. Call it what you want to, I’m gonna say they quit. That’s what I saw,” he said.
“After 15 days, to me, that’s disappointing. Very disappointing. That probably tells you who they are. Probably is a good indication of they are. You put 14 days into it, some guys are not going to compete, some guys kind of rose to the occasion today, so that’s a good thing. We’ve got to figure out where we’re at with some of these guys. The good thing is in a couple of weeks we’ll have a bunch of guys that aren’t on the injury report anymore, we’ll have 14 new guys here and maybe more, so some of these guys that don’t want to do it and do it right all the time, they’ll just be watching.”
Pruitt’s disappointment extended to a portion of the Big Orange fan base.
“It’s kind of like our football team, for the fans,” he said. “The ones that were here, I’m proud they were here. They’re fired up. They’re ready to get going. OK? And then there were some people that weren’t who that had legitimate reasons. They couldn’t be here. And there were some people that weren’t here, that … why weren’t they here? It’s kind of like our football team. I think we all need to look in the mirror and see who we want to be.”