It’s that time of year again. It’s time for our annual look at opposing coaches anonymously trashing other football programs. These quotes are always interesting to read from Lindy’s SEC Preview magazine. It gives coaches an outlet to tell us how they really feel, without any of the consequences.
Of course, Butch Jones is an easy target here. Tennessee fired Jones in early November after a total collapse in 2017. That didn’t stop other coaches from criticizing how he ran his program.
“I just think Butch Jones did a complete horse**** job and I don’t think they had very good players. Tennessee is supposed to have talent. I think South Carolina has better talent than Tennessee and that should never happen. To say Tennessee has had top 15 classes under Butch Jones, that’s fake news. I think it was a combination of the classes being overrated and the coaches not developing the talent.” — Anonymous coach
It’s hard to argue with the man. Tennessee had a couple of talented teams in 2015 and 2016, but most people would tell you that those teams underachieved. Once guys like Joshua Dobbs and Derek Barnett left, Jones saw his program hit a historic low. Those high-ranked recruiting classes were decimated by departures and injuries.
As for Pruitt, coaches see a challenging road ahead, to nobody’s surprise.
“I think Jeremy Pruitt has to change the culture, but he can’t produce until he’s got the horses than can produce. You gotta change the culture first with not-very-good players, then you get your players in and develop them.”
“It’s a tough situation. It’ll take awhile. That’s a three- to four-year job. And I’m not sold on their quarterback (Jarrett Guarantano). He holds the ball too long, is too indecisive.”
There’s nothing really all that groundbreaking here.
As we’ve seen over the past month, Pruitt and his staff are working hard to get those horses than can produce. But at least for this year, things could be rough on the field. He inherits a roster with plenty of holes in the secondary and up front on the offensive line. I don’t think anyone expects those issues to be ironed out by the fall. Vegas has set the Vols’ win total at 5.5 or 6.5, depending on where you look.
It’s going to be interesting to read this section from Lindy’s a year from now. Pruitt seems to be respected around the conference, but how much headway can he make in just one season?
You can find Lindy’s SEC Preview on newsstands now.