Alabama’s visit to Knoxville went as expected. The top ranked Tide absolutely rolled, just as they have all season, regardless of opponent. They’re more talented than anyone in the country — especially a rebuilding Tennessee team.
If anyone knows that — from both sides of the equation — it’s Jeremy Pruitt. Many didn’t expect him to just come out and say it during the halftime break, however.
“I promise you, I will recruit 25 other guys that will play the right way so we don’t have to play in another game like this.” @JamieErdahl reports on a tough lesson Jeremy Pruitt gave his team at the half. pic.twitter.com/FbhdENvysy— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) October 20, 2018
Full quote from Pruitt: “We have a few guys that are playing the game the right way and doing all the right things. I promise you that I will recruit 25 other guys that will play the right way so we don’t have to play in another game like this.”
Pruitt doubled down on his comments when asked about them after the game.
“I’ll tell you what, we have guys in our program in 10 months that have really changed the way they think,” Pruitt said after the game. “They’ve really changed the way they go about their business every single day. They’ve worked hard. But I don’t think it takes much to look — if you look at their sideline and look at our sideline — it don’t hardly look the same. But we do have some guys on our team that are committed to the University of Tennessee and doing it the right way.”
Pruitt hasn’t minced words about the level of talent on his team. Some people love it, some people hate it and think it’s disrespectful. But I’d argue that it’s better to have a straight-shooter as opposed to the last staff Tennessee had. And to his point, Tennessee has seen a handful of players take big steps forward, but you’re still dealing with a core of players that were operating inside of a very different program. Not everyone is going to buy in. The ones that have bought in though, are a huge asset to Pruitt.
“They have to help us recruit, because we didn’t have enough guys out there today that wanted to do it the right way,” Pruitt said. “I do think we have a good core group in this bunch. A foundation moving forward. We have to recruit guys here that want to compete and play the way they play every day.”
Tennessee currently sits inside of the top 15 of the 2019 recruiting class rankings, but more importantly, Pruitt will get 25 new players that he believes will have the mindset to get the Vols where they need to go.