Tennessee head coach Jeremy Pruitt wasn’t happy as he came off the field on Tuesday afternoon. The first year head man wasn’t pleased with the effort he saw from his team after just his 4th practice session.
“I’m coming off the field and I’m ticked off,” Pruitt opened. “I don’t know if it’s because of the way way the whole team practiced, or because the offense kicked our tail. I ain’t figured it out yet. We had two days off and didn’t respond the right way. We gotta fix that — we only get 15 spring practices and I’m not sure everybody took advantage of their opportunities today. We’re not good enough to go backwards in a day.”
Pruitt has been pretty pleased — at least when he’s been with the media to this point. This was the first sign of frustration that he’s shown at the podium this spring. It certainly won’t be his last.
“When the other team beats us because they’re better than us, that’s one thing. But when you make mental errors — we weren’t very focus today in the meeting rooms. We didn’t take what we talked about in the meetings to the field.”
Pruitt did shift gears though, speaking about the importance of holding scrimmages and the Orange and White game to conclude the spring. It’s all a part of his evaluation process.
“Every day we evaluate all four groups,” Pruitt said. “We don’t have any starters, 2nd team guys or 3rd team guys. We have a rep chart. When you go to a scrimmage, you know, they may practice really well. Then you go from the practice field to the stadium — then maybe they have anxiety. Then maybe you have a guy who has practiced fine, then you go to the stadium in front of 102,000 people and you find guys that rise to the occasion. To create a game-like situation, that tells me who the competitors are. The only way to figure that out is to put them in a game situation.”
Getting that gameday rhythm and routine down is important for any new coaching staff. As Pruitt points out, his will be different from that of Butch Jones.
“What we’re doing is absolutely new to what they’re accustomed to. So I don’t want our first time doing it to be in Charlotte. I want to do it as many times as we can so we can try and get it the way it’s going to be the night before the game.”
Tennessee will be back on the practice field on Thursday afternoon.