Jeremy Pruitt’s Tennessee teams won’t ever pass up an opportunity to improve.
That’s the message the Volunteer coach delivered on Thursday during his appearance on Knoxville-based radio program The Swain Event, hosted by former Tennessee receiver Jayson Swain. While Tennessee teams of the past have often shied away from participating in summer 7-on-7 work, Pruitt won’t let the fear of potential injury stop his players from continuing to progress during the offseason.
Here’s what Pruitt had to say regarding his approach to 7-on-7 summer work and balancing the risk of injury that can occur when asked by Swain on the show.
“Well, we aren’t concerned about getting hurt. Everybody that I think that wants to develop as a football player, there’s only one way you can do it, and that’s to go out there and work the skill set that it takes for you to have success,” Pruitt answered. “If you are going to be a dominant wide receiver in this league, you have to be able to finish on the ball, separate from man coverage, you have to have an understanding of what you are trying to do and what the other team is trying to do.
“Same thing for defensive back — you want to guard the best players every day. You want to compete, you want to play the ball deep part of the field. Our guys are doing a great job in the weight room, and they are doing lots of things on their own this summer.”
Speaking of defensive backs, Pruitt was also asked about the type of prospect he wants to bring to Knoxville to play in his defensive secondary. Having recruited, coached and developed so many college defensive backs to the NFL over the last decade, Tennessee’s coach knows exactly what traits are necessary for prospects to compete at the highest level of college football.
“Well, we need guys that can play man-to-man. There’s got to be some point in time if you are going to deny the ball, you gotta play man-to-man,” Pruitt continued. “We need to find guys that can play the deep ball in the middle of the field, and we gotta find guys that can tackle in space, you know?
“Great football players come in all shapes and sizes but this is a physical league and the wide receivers that play on the outside nowadays, you better have guys that can go up and highpoint the football because there are a lot of basketball players playing on the perimeter. We need guys with length.”
The full Swain Event interview with Pruitt here can be found here.