Sense of urgency on the practice field
Jeremy Pruitt is a big believer of the principle that you play how you practice. You could hear him explain that philosophy after Tennessee’s underwhelming performance against UTEP. Last week, he saw that performance coming. This week, he’s seeing a different approach from his team with a game against the Florida Gators up next.
“Last Wednesday when I came in here, our guys hadn’t practiced very well,” Pruitt said. “I think this week I can see a little more sense of urgency. Our guys are taking things a little better from the meetings to the practice field from period to period. I think there’s a lot of excitement. I know our guys are excited about an opportunity to play in this game.”
When asked what exactly a sense of urgency looked like, Pruitt said it goes beyond the practice field.
“I think it starts with the meetings,” Pruitt explained. “Everybody has long meetings. You have to go through install, you have to watch tape. You know, most of the guys who are the best players that I’ve been around, they’re usually the ones sitting on the edge of their seat, asking the questions.
Same way when you go on the practice field. Can you take what you learned in the meeting — do you have a fire in your stomach to be the best that you can possibly be at whatever you’re going to do? If we’re going to do a drill, why not do it the best we can possibly do it? A walk-though? Same thing. That’s just kind of how I was raised. That’s what you’re supposed to do. I think our guys are learning how to do that.”
Kingston Harris flips to the offensive line
Tennessee made another position change this week, moving freshman defensive lineman Kingston Harris to the offensive side of the ball. The 6-3, 316 pound Harris will add depth to a group that has already lost center Brandon Kennedy for the season.
“We really thought Kingston was doing well at defensive line, but when you look at our defensive linemen he’s probably the one guy that could make a transition and be able to help us, just to create some depth,” Pruitt said. “We just felt like it was something that we needed to do.”
Running back rotation
If you thought Tennessee was going to feature one main back this season, you were wrong. The Vols have four guys that have seen significant work so far this season in Tim Jordan, Ty Chandler, Madre London and Jeremy Banks. According to Pruitt, this position is no different from the others. The guy that earns his opportunities on Saturday is going to get the ball on Saturday, no matter how many backs that includes.
“I think it’ll take all four backs to finish the season,” Pruitt said. “You figure out who is performing at the highest level and if they’re close and deserve to play, you give them an opportunity to play. If we have four guys that are deserving to play, we’ll play four guys. If we don’t, we won’t. It’s up to the players to practice and prepare the right way.”