Now is not a good time for a college coach to be forced to replace a key assistant but that’s the reality facing Jeremy Pruitt following Craig Fitzgerald’s recent departure to the New York Giants.

While Tennessee may not have a head strength coach at the moment, the fact that the Volunteers are dispersed across the country following the coronavirus outbreak at least make Fitzgerald’s departure not nearly as significant.

College programs cannot currently require their players to work out while they are away from campus that hasn’t stopped Fitzgerald’s former Tennessee assistants from sending out daily workouts and routines for the Volunteers to utilize during this unprecedented time.

Considering Pruitt cannot meet with any prospective strength coaches for an in-person interview, many have speculated that Tennessee will hire from within to replace Fitzgerald. During a recent teleconference, Pruitt was asked to share the latest on Tennessee’s search to replace its former strength coach.

“First of all, with Craig – Craig had an opportunity to take several jobs,” Pruitt said on Friday. “It’s something I learned a long time ago, if you embrace the job that you have, and you do a really good job at it, opportunities present themselves. The opportunity for Craig and his family to get a little closer to home was something that he wanted to take advantage of.

“We have really good support from within the guys that are on our strength staff right now. They’re doing a fantastic job. They’re very motivated. There will be a time soon that we’ll make a move with that position. Just kind of going through, talking to some folks out there, seeing what’s the best way we can make that program better moving forward, that fits my vision of where we want this program to be. But these guys are doing an outstanding job.”

Pruitt then went on to say that the players, despite being away from campus and out on their own, have continued to work hard this offseason in an effort to improve their games after finishing the season as one of the hottest in the SEC.

“Hey, our players are motivated,” Pruitt continued. “I see videos. They want to send videos every day of things that they’re doing. They definitely are being creative in ways that they can continue to sustain and improve their strength and their conditioning.”