There have been many highlights experienced during the Jeremy Pruitt era on Rocky Top but none of those have come against elite competition Tennessee annually faces.

The Volunteers have only been blown out against Alabama, Georgia and Florida and that trend continued on Saturday, with Tennessee losing to the Crimson Tide 48-17 on Saturday.

Following that disappointing showing, Pruitt faced some tough questions in his postgame press conference.

Pruitt on Jarrett Guarantano’s performance:

“It’s been a rough week (for him). Jarrett can’t control, you know, what anybody else does. All Jarrett can control is what he does, just like the rest of us in that locker room. So that’s what he needs to focus on and I think he done a really nice job this week being mature about it, and focusing on the things that he can improve.

“I thought he done a nice job managing the offense today. Had some scrambles out there, was accurate on some throws. So, it was that that was good to see.”

Pruitt on the gap between Tennessee and Alabama:

“I was on the other sideline three years ago. You think I didn’t see that? I can assure you that the gap is closing. That might not show on the scoreboard today, but the gap is closing, I can assure you that.

“And that’s one thing that’s frustrating to me and it’s frustrating to our players. Okay, is there’s times that we’ve done some really good things but as a team, whether it’s, you know, offense playing really good and the defense playing really good and special teams. We’ve not put any of that together. And that’s what the elite teams in our program, and in our conference that’s what they do.

“They don’t have any bad plays. They don’t make many mistakes. They make the other team beat them. And there’s times that we’ve done that this year but we’ve not done it for a whole game, even the games we’ve won, right? We’ve not done that so this will be a great opportunity this next week to go back and see where we’re at to see where we’ve improved. And from that will have an opportunity to kind of fix the things moving forward.”

Pruitt on why he thinks the gap between Tennessee and Alabama is closing:

“I was here three years ago when I walked in the room the first day I know the people that’s on that sideline and and other people that’s own air sideline, you know?

“So, I think I’ve got a pretty good idea and been around some pretty good football teams to know when I see one and know when one’s getting closer.”

Pruitt on disappointment Tennessee fans are feeling:

“Nobody’s more disappointed than the people within our program, I can assure. It’s the reason that I wanted this job, okay? Because I understood the passion, the energy, the expectations of Tennessee football. Okay? When I took the job, I knew exactly where it was at. Exactly. Okay? Which is why I wanted the job. I wanted this job because I wanted to get it to where it’s supposed to be. It’s a hell of a challenge, and I’m glad I took the job. I’m excited about being here. I’m not discouraged. The people in our program are not discouraged. I know where our programs headed and we’ll get there.”

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Sports betting in Tennessee officially launched on November 1, 2020, and many of the largest sportsbooks are live and operating in the volunteer state. Tennessee is only one of a handful of SEC football states with legalized sports betting.