Tennessee is entering a crucial week in the first year of Jeremy Pruitt’s program on Rocky Top as the Vols need to win two out of the final three games to reach postseason play. The Vols are hosting a Kentucky team that just lost at home to Georgia, in a game that cost the Wildcats the SEC East division.

While Kentucky has improved by leaps and bounds this season, Tennessee may be catching the Wildcats at the best time of the season. It should also be noted that the Volunteers have not lost to Kentucky since 1984, a streak that will be on the line in Neyland Stadium come Saturday.

Pruitt met the media on Monday to preview the matchup:

  • on the health of his running backs: We are just like every one else, it’s November, our guys have bumps and bruises but all our guys will be ready to play.
  • on Benny Snell: He’s a tough guy, they do a lot with him. He can handle what they ask him to do. I coached against when he was a freshman. He doesn’t take a lot of one-on-one hits. We’ll have to gang tackle him.
  • on Kentucky’s run defense: They give you different looks, they are sound. they play hard, good tacklers and they can play man to man on the backend
  • on Alontae Taylor’s targeting call on Saturday: he def was a head-to-head lick. The problem with the rule, it’s not a problem, but when Alontae is going to hit him, he’s trying to hit him in the waist. The guy slides, and he hit him in the head. It makes it tough to coach.
  • status of Trevon Flowers, Micah Abernathy: Trevon started to do some things last week, he’ll be a game-time decision, MA, we’ll just have to see how it goes
  • on the emphasis on the run game: It’s hard to win in this league if you don’t run the ball, or any league. We have to be committed to it, we have to get it down. I know as a D coach, if the opponent passes every time, the DL can really get after the QB and it makes it tough on the lien
  • on the changes on the offensive line from Saturday: To be, it’s like I said before, it’s about how you produce. If we aren’t getting production, why aren’t we? We are going to play the guys that give us the best chance to perform
  • what was the message to the offensive line after the game? The message to the team is to go out and improve every snap, take it one snap at a time. I think our guys have worked hard to do that. How you play on Saturday is how you are remembered, but to play well on Saturday, you have to practice and prepare well.
  • on Kentucky-Georgia game, what did UGA do so well to beat the Wildcats? They have a really good football team, they’ve already won the East.