Jeremy Pruitt says Bryce Thompson has to 'earn' his playing time
Last week, Bryce Thompson was reinstated to the Tennessee football team. While he’s back with the Volunteers, Thompson did not play in Week 3 against Chattanooga. Beat reporters noted that Thompson was not with the team on the sideline during the game.
With Thompson’s playing status uncertain, it has become a storyline heading into Saturday’s game at Florida. UT coach Jeremy Pruitt has been asked throughout the week about Thompson’s status and has yet to state whether the defensive back will play Saturday.
At his Monday press conference, Pruitt said he had not yet decided if Thompson would be part of the travel roster. During Wednesday’s SEC media teleconference, Pruitt was again asked about Thompson’s status.
“Bryce has practiced with us for the last two weeks,” he said. “We’re going to continue to stay on that path. He’s going to practice with us and we’ll make that decision when the time comes.”
Surprise, surprise – at Wednesday’s post-practice press conference, Pruitt was again asked for the latest on Thompson. He announced Thompson will make the trip, but hasn’t guaranteed he will play in Saturday’s game.
“He’s got to earn his way back out there,” Pruitt told reporters.
With Florida starting a new quarterback, Kyle Trask, there is even more attention on the Tennessee secondary heading into Saturday. Thompson was named an FWAA Freshman All-American after appearing in 12 games, including 10 starts, in 2018. Thompson led the Vols in interceptions and pass breakups as a true freshman. He was suspended from the team earlier this year following a verbal altercation with his girlfriend in his dorm room.
The story has been updated to clarify that Pruitt said Thompson will travel.