Many Tennessee fans thought the gap was closing between the Vols and the elite Alabama Crimson Tide.

Therefore, Saturday’s 48-17 loss at the hands of Nick Saban’s squad was a tough pill to swallow. It’s not that fans expected the Vols to win, necessarily, but perhaps expectations were that the team would be much more competitive.

After Saturday’s loss, coach Jeremy Pruitt took some heat on social media. In his postgame press conference, he assured fans he’s not discouraged and believes in the direction of the program (via 247Sports):

“Nobody’s more disappointed than the people within our program, I can assure you,” Pruitt said. “It’s the reason that I wanted this job, is because I understood the passion, the energy, the expectations of Tennessee football. When I took the job, I knew exactly where it was at — exactly — which is why I wanted the job. I wanted this job because I wanted to get it where it’s supposed to be. It’s a helluva challenge, and I’m glad I took the job, I’m excited about being here.

The Vols are now 2-3, which is disappointing given the 2-0 start to the season. After an off week this coming week, the Vols travel to Arkansas before hosting No. 7 Texas A&M. Those games will be interesting for Tennessee. Pruitt now needs a win in a big way.