Jeremy Pruitt has been praised for his recruiting and ability to develop players since he’s been in Knoxville, but last weekend, you started to see the pure coach in him come out. Finally, his team was ready to compete for a big time SEC win. He’s clearly a huge reason why.
If you need further proof of in-game impact, the evidence has been all over social media this week. Pruitt may be the head coach, but he’s still on the sidelines calling calling the defense for the Vols. Below you can see Pruitt barking orders up until the last second as he recognizes a play. It results in a turnover.
Is @CoachJPruitt (top right) calling blitzes seconds before the ball is snapped? This pressure led to an Interception for Tennessee. pic.twitter.com/zad7Q1W1LB— Cole Cubelic (@colecubelic) October 15, 2018
Here’s an example with some audio. Pruitt literally yells at cornerback Baylen Buchanan, telling him the football is coming his way.
Tennessee head coach Jeremy Pruitt is a defensive mind, right?— Caleb Noe (@wvltCaleb) October 16, 2018
Watch this play from Auburn’s final offensive drive.
At the beginning, you can hear Pruitt yell “BAYLEN IT’S COMING TO YOUR GUY!”
Sure enough... pic.twitter.com/n0G10pTLMq
Jeremy’s younger brother commented on the last video, sharing a story of eating pizza with his older brother and watching him call out offensive plays in his living room.
Last year I happened to be in Tuscaloosa and was watching Clemson and Auburn with him after their game. He was eating pizza and drinking a Diet Coke and literally calling every offensive play for both teams from his recliner.— Luke Pruitt (@coach_lpruitt) October 17, 2018
For the first time in a long time, I personally have confidence in Tennessee’s coaching staff. Clear improvement has been made since the West Virginia game in Charlotte and now Tennessee has a legitimate chance at a bowl game, something most people had written off just two weeks back.
It’s fascinating to watch Pruitt work on this defense, maximizing this roster though it may not exactly be ready for what he wants them to do. With the schedule easing up after this week, it’s exciting to think about how much this group can develop down the stretch.
If nothing else, Tennessee has a legitimate football coach steering the ship. It’s been quite a while since we’ve been able to say that.