All things considered, Jeremy Pruitt and his coaching staff have done a tremendous job attracting talent to Rocky Top.
After landing the Tennessee coaching position, Pruitt and his staff took over a program that had seen its 2018 recruiting class essentially destroyed following the firing of Butch Jones and a coaching search that was a national laughingstock at one point.
Adding another level of difficulty, Pruitt and his staff had only a few weeks before the early signing period arrived to fix the class. That class finished rated No. 21 nationally after Tennessee failed to win a single conference game the previous season. The Volunteers improved on the field in 2018 but the team’s record only improved one game as Tennessee finished 5-7 but still, Pruitt landed the nation’s No. 12 recruiting class following his debut season.
Despite all the accomplishments of the program to date, Tennessee fans hoping for a big turnaround season in Pruitt’s second year leading the program may need to brace themselves for some tough love. If one anonymous “opposing coach” is to be believed, Tennessee will turn around under Pruitt but it may take longer than some die-hard Volunteer fans are willing to wait.
One of the more popular sections featured in the 2019 Lindy’s Sports Southeastern Conference football preview magazine is the section with comments from anonymous opposing coaches. The Tennessee page features the following comments, which call out just how long it may take Tennessee to rebuild, thoughts on last season’s disaster of an ending and ends on with some encouraging comments regarding the offseason hire of Jim Chaney.
Here are the anonymous comments regarding Tennessee from the latest 2019 Lindy’s Sports Southeastern Conference football preview magazine:
On the future of the program:
“Tennessee needs a talent upgrade. … It’s going to take five years to get it done. I think Jeremy Pruitt will get it done because he’s a good enough coach and recruiter to get it done. But it will take that long. The reason is, there’s other people in the league already getting it done. And they have no margin for error because they play Alabama, Georgia and Florida every year.”
On last season’s finish:
“The question is, why did they finish so poorly last year? They played like crap down the stretch against Missouri and Vanderbilt. They’ve lost three in a row to Vanderbilt — that’s unacceptable.”
On the hire of Jim Chaney:
“Jeremy lucked out getting rid of Tyson Helton and hiring Jim Chaney. I think he’s the best, most proven offensive coordinator in the league. I think Jim is outstanding. If Jeremy will leave him alone, Jim will be fine.”