It may be summer vacation time for some but in Jeremy Pruitt’s eyes, his team has had more than enough breaks in recent weeks and months.
During his Tuesday morning appearance on Knoxville-based radio program “The Swain Event,” which is hosted by former Tennessee receiver Jayson Swain, Pruitt was asked about the current mini-term break in Knoxville and his stance on whether his players should stay close to campus and continue to work or get away from the football complex and relax during the summer break.
“We have, I think the number is 55 (players), that are here for mini-term and we have got several guys that are here doing rehab,” Pruitt said on the show. “I think our guys are excited about getting going this summer, you know? I mean, me personally, when I look at it, I don’t know why you’d want to go home. Nothing against going home, but heck, we went home for the bowl season. We went home during spring break.
“We’ve had plenty, we’ve had enough breaks. We need to go to work.”
With so many returning players on offense this season on Rocky Top and the return of veteran offensive coordinator Jim Chaney to Knoxville, many are expecting Tennessee’s offense to take significant strides this fall. Whether that actually happens or not may rest on the progression of redshirt junior Jarrett Guarantano, who played the best football of his career last season but was often limited at times with injuries and an offensive line that rarely provided a clean pocket.
During his appearance on the show, Pruitt was asked how Guarantano can take the next step in his game heading into the 2019 season.
“I think when you start with the quarterback position, the first thing is managing the offense,” he continued. “Making sure we are in the right plays, making sure we got the right protection, you know? Making sure we are lined up the right way, you know, so all of these things Jarrett is plenty capable of doing and Jarrett had a tremendous spring, he continues to work hard and improve and with the addition of Jim and Chris Weinke coaching quarterbacks, we’ve seen plenty of positive steps this spring. I’m looking forward to seeing him continue to grow this summer and fall and having a really good junior year.”