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What Jeremy Pruitt said at SEC Media Days

Here are the highlights.

NCAA Football: SEC Media Day Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports

Tennessee head coach Jeremy Pruitt took to the podium in Birmingham on Tuesday afternoon, attending his second SEC Media Days as the head coach of the Volunteers.

Pruitt’s opening statement went for a staggering 21+ minutes, which kept the questions to a minimum. Below are the highlights of his comments.

On Jarrett Guarantano

“Jarrett is a guy that I believe in, I have confidence in. Jarrett’s a guy that has lots of arm strength. He has talent in his feet, he can extend plays. He’s a tough guy and I think everybody in this room that’s covered Tennessee football for the last three years respects the fact that he has toughness. The football game comes easy to him. He can handle a lot. He can change plays at the line of scrimmage. Most importantly, Jarrett has the respect of his coaches and teammates.”

“The thing that excites me about Jarrett is — you can stand out on the field, you can see his arm talent — you know, me being in the meeting rooms, I know that football really comes easy to him. He picks up fast, he can handle a whole lot. What I see that excites me the most is the impact that he’s having on his teammates. I think that’s a true mark of a leader — having a positive impact on the people you’re around. I see him developing and doing that.”

On meeting expectations at Tennessee...

“Well when you talk about comparing Tennessee now to like me and you know it When I was growing up, Tennessee was one of the premier programs in the country. That’s still the expectation. What comes with that has to do with who you play. In this league, it’s very competitive. We have very good coaches. Probably more competitive now than it’s ever been, so we’ve got to do our part. We’ve got to execute the plan. And our players believe in our plan. It takes a lot that goes into it and we’re continuing to execute our plan.”

On Brandon Kennedy...

“Brandon’s a guy that — he started the first game for us and unfortunately (the following) Tuesday to his ACL. Brandon is a guy that’s worked extremely hard this offseason. We held him out of spring practice — he could have went during spring practice. But I felt like for him, we needed to hold him out until he was completely ready. He’s a leader on our offensive line, our players respect him.”

On Derrick Ansley...

“Derrick’s a guy that I’ve worked with, I know what you’re getting in. He’s a guy that I believe in. He’s a great recruiter, a really good teacher. He knows exactly what I want done.”

On Jim Chaney...

“I think if you just look a Jim’s time at Georgia and his time at Tennessee, wherever he’s been he’s had a lot of success. He’s done it a bunch of different ways. I think it’s important in this league that you know who you’re going to go against. There are some really good defensive minds in this league, and it helps to have experience against them. Jim understands the University of Tennessee, he coached there before. So when its comes to hiring an offensive coordinator, I couldn’t think of nobody else I’d rather hire than Jim Chaney.”

“Jim’s a guy that we coached against when I was an assistant at Alabama. They gave us a lot of problems. You know the guys in this league that give you problems, or vice versa. So Jim, in my opinion, is one of the best guys in the country.”

On the transfer portal...

“I have a unique view because I was a transfer myself. People say ‘why did you transfer?’ I signed with Middle Tennessee, I played a few years as a starter, and I left — not because I was unhappy, just because I wanted to go fulfill a dream. These guys have tough decisions on where they’re going to go to college. Sometimes they may not get it right. To me it’s about the mental wellness of the student athlete. I think everybody that’s been involved has really sensed it, and I think that’s one of the things that we have to put to the forefront when it comes to kids that want to transfer. We need to help them find their way. As far as the rules, as far as the eligibility, I don’t have enough information to really comment about that. But as a guy that has transferred before myself, it worked out well for me.”

Pruitt didn’t have an update on Aubrey Solomon or DeAngelo Gibbs.