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The new year is here — and Tennessee football remains completely directionless

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December 31 has come and gone and Jeremy Pruitt is still the head coach of the Tennessee Volunteers football program. That’s enough to make for an unpleasant development — or lack of development — for many fans of the program. While it’s not signed, sealed, and delivered that Pruitt will continue to be the shot-caller in 2021, it’s apparently a good indication that he’ll continue to be on the Volunteer sideline come autumn.

Perhaps this is simply because there needs to be time for any potential recruiting violations to be determined before a move is made, but like many writers have predicted, it appears Pruitt will be retained for another year. In a year inundated with financial constraints, it’s unlikely the athletic department will be willing to eat so much salary.

We know other teams are willing to part ways with coaches they deem unfit — look at the other UT and their near immediate firing of Tom Herman. On top of that, Texas had a coaching solution seemingly within minutes. In other words, they knew the precise direction they wanted to go. The same can’t be said on Rocky Top.

It might not even be time to think much about this, given the success of the basketball team. But with the college football semifinals just having wrapped up and the national championship looming, it’s natural for football fans to look longingly towards the future and wonder what could be in Knoxville if only the right moves were made. Indeed, it’s hard to watch Alabama reach the same heights year-in and year-out. Meanwhile, Tennessee can’t decide on a direction, much less personnel decisions.

As the Taxslayer Gator Bowl is played in the background, I find myself thinking back to last year and the hopes that came along with a win over Indiana. But now, directionless and seemingly in peril, we all continue to wonder what exactly is going on with the football program.