Tennessee head coach Jeremy Pruitt made an appearance on the Paul Finebaum Show on the SEC Network on Wednesday, which took place live from the annual SEC Spring Meetings in Destin, Fla.
The two discussed a variety of topics, including recruiting, the fanbase and how he feels heading into his second season at Tennessee.
Here’s what Pruitt had to say:
On seeming more relaxed heading into year two
“Well, you know, the longer you do something, the better you should be at it. So I probably made plenty of mistakes in Year 1, just as I did as a position coach, a coordinator. So you get better at something the longer you do it. When you have good people around you and everyone in the program is familiar with what you’re trying to get done, it does make it easier the second time.”
On what fans should expect from Tennessee in second season
“To me, the most important thing is playing the right way. Everybody wants to measure it on wins and losses, but to me there’s a certain way that you’re supposed to play. And we did that a few times last year, so we’ve actually seen it, felt it, experienced it. Now the goal is is to do it every week. It starts in preparation in the offseason. I think we’ve had a really good offseason, and a lot of it had to do with the fact that the players played the same positions throughout the entire spring.
The spring before, there was lots of moving folks around and stuff. The guys we recruited, we know where we kind of want to fit them in the piece of the puzzle. I thought we had 14 really good days of spring practice. We had one I’d like to have back. We had a good May. We had 55 guys that stayed for May mini-term, and now we’ve got a chance in June and July and August to kind of create the identity of this football team for the newcomers, and that’s the great thing about sports is building a team, and we’ve got an opportunity to do that with a good summer or working out and conditioning.”
On selling Tennessee to recruits
“Probably the most important people in your program during the recruiting process is your current players. I think as our players have built relationships with the men on our staff, they’re the best recruiters in our building. It says a lot about those guys and the relationship that have been formed, in the success that we had on the recruiting trail. And I think it will be even better in the years to come.”
On Tennessee fans
“Our fanbase has been phenomenal. The passion, the effort, the intensity. When you get off that bus for a Vol Walk, you look down there and there’s somewhere between 65,000 to 80,000 folks lined up on the streets, for a spring game. The passion is there. We have to give them a product that they can be proud of again.”
On this Vol team’s talent compared to previous stops at Alabama, Georgia and Florida State
“I think we have a lot of really good players on our football team. I think some of the guys were younger. I think our strength and conditioning has done a really good job with our nutrition staff of getting them bigger and stronger. We look different. There’s several offensive linemen that’s gained 40 pounds in the last year.
Talking about a guy that goes from 270 to 310, now he’s ready to play in this league. You can see it with our team, and we’ve got to do a good job in recruiting in evaluating and getting the right guys in there, and I think we’ve done that. We’ve got to continue to do that.”