In its “Road to the Championship” series, ESPN included a short interview coach Jeremy Pruitt in the Tennessee preview.

With the tumultuous offseason on Rocky Top, it was inevitable Pruitt would be asked something about the Volunteers coaching search. But before receiving that difficult question, Chris Low of ESPN also mentioned to Pruitt he “obviously wasn’t Tennessee’s first choice.”

Pruitt took it all in stride and had a near perfect response.

“If you look at my background, I was probably not a lot of people’s first choice over the years,” Pruitt said. “Twelve years ago, I was coaching high school ball, and 20 years ago, I was plumbing a house.

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“To me, I was Philip Fulmer’s first choice, and that’s what matters to me.”

Pruitt also went on to explain how he wants his peers and recruits to view the Volunteers football program.

“We want people, when they watch Tennessee play, to say, ‘Hey, we respect how this team plays. they play together, they play with toughness.’ That’s how football is supposed to be played.”

Pruitt will coach his first game at Tennessee on Saturday when the Volunteers face West Virginia at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte.