Tennessee, just like many Southeastern Conference teams, did not have the opportunity to suit up in pads and practice this spring thanks to the coronavirus pandemic.

That lost practice time is unlikely to be made up before the season has a chance to start in the fall and that’s something Jeremy Pruitt was asked to discuss during a recent appearance on Knoxville-based WNML radio program “The Erik Ainge Show” on Thursday.

Before getting to the questions that remain on Rocky Top, the Tennessee coach opened with an optimistic thought on his current football team.

“Well, we have a lot of returning guys, so we definitely have some experience returning,” Pruitt said.

Even the best college teams are going to have questions in the offseason and while Pruitt expressed his excitement regarding the Volunteer team returning on Rocky Top, the Tennessee coach opened up on the aspects of his team he was hoping to learn more about this spring in Knoxville.

“Offensively, just depth at wide receiver. We lost a lot, you know, three senior wide receivers,” Pruitt continued. “Getting a chance to develop some depth in that position. We have lots of competition on the offensive line, getting a chance for these guys to compete and figuring out who, you know, who the best seven or eight guys are. That’s totally different from the first spring when we only had seven or eight guys.

“So, but that was the big thing, taking care of the football, developing the quarterback position. We got some young guys in the room that, you know, they got to learn the speed of the game at the college level. On defense, creating depth, creating some pass rush. I’m really excited about our D-line. We got everybody returning at that position just those guys elevating their game.”

Based on his response, the offense is the side of the ball that keeps Pruitt up at night this offseason. That shouldn’t be much of a surprise as the defensive-minded coach has already managed to turn around the defense on Rocky Top and has young talent ready to emerge at every level on that side of the ball.

If Tennessee finds some answers on offense before the season arrives, there’s a chance the Vols prove to be one of the biggest surprises in the SEC next season.