Ever since Tennessee chose Jeremy Pruitt to be their next head coach in December of 2017, fans and analysts have been playing connect the dots. Nick Saban, who is now 68 years old, wont’ be around forever. His replacement has always been a hot topic of discussion.
Jeremy Pruitt entered that debate from the second he took the head coaching job at Tennessee. An obvious candidate plucked right off the Saban tree, Pruitt certainly knows the landscape in Tuscaloosa, having played and coached there for a good chunk of his life.
With Clemson head coach (and former Alabama receiver) Dabo Swinney signing a record deal with the Tigers last week, way too early speculation has grown a bit on the Pruitt-to-Alabama link. Why? Because Clemson made Swinney’s buyout 50 percent higher if he left to coach at Alabama. Also, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to believe that Dabo would leave the absolute powerhouse that he’s built.
On Monday, Paul Finebaum joined ‘The Roundtable’ and said he’d bet on Jeremy Pruitt taking the Alabama job before anyone else.
Here’s the quote from Finebaum if you can’t listen.
“So you say, okay, put me ten dollars on who the next coach is going to be at Alabama,” Finebaum said. “I would put my money on Jeremy Pruitt. That’s assuming he has success at Tennessee. So I think if he has any level of success, I think he would move into that upper echelon because he’s got the ties, he’s got the understanding of the job. That’s the one thing people don’t understand about Alabama. You just can’t give more to, let’s say Chris Peterson, as good as he is, and have him land at Alabama and be able to figure it out. Nick Saban is about the only so-called outsider that’s been able to do that.”
While the logic from Finebaum makes sense, you’re assuming that Pruitt would win at a pretty substantial level at Tennessee. We don’t have a reason to believe that won’t happen yet, especially considering the talent that he’s already managed to get to Knoxville. But unlike Dabo, if Alabama came calling, Pruitt would probably have a hard time saying no to that offer.
But we’re getting way ahead of ourselves.
Saban may be 68, but he’s not exactly showing signs of slowing down. He had hip surgery this month and is already back to work, seemingly as good as he’s ever been. You can probably count on him being around for several more seasons.
And quite honestly, if Pruitt is ever even in the position to take the Alabama job, it means he’s gotten Tennessee back to where they should be in the college football world.