Former Tennessee running back Jabari Davis earned 278 carries, 1,266 yards, and 22 touchdowns during his career with the Volunteers from 2001-2004 under head coach Phillip Fulmer. As a result, Davis knows what it takes to be successful in the Southeastern Conference and he told Volunteer Roadshow that he sees a lot of what it takes in current Tennessee head coach Jeremy Pruitt — who is entering his third season in Knoxville.
Volunteer Roadshow was able to catch up with Davis to get his thoughts on the current state of affairs in Knoxville and Davis told us that he viewed Pruitt as an old fashioned, tough, throwback football coach.
During the exclusive interview, we asked Davis for his thoughts on Pruitt after his 2nd season at Tennessee. It was a season of highs and lows, featuring heartbreaking losses to Georgia State and BYU, but also ending the season on a high note, with a 6 game winning streak and a win over Indiana in the Taxslayer Gator Bowl. “Pruitt is an old school football guy, no gimmicks, he’s tough, and hard-nosed fundamentally,” said Davis. “He’s an Alabama, Nick Saban, type of coach. That’s who he learned a lot from. He’s a physical coach.” Davis continued, “He’s just old school, that’s what I like about him.”
Davis went on to state his admiration for how Pruitt focused only on football and avoided the use of gimmicks, “No cliches, no gimmicks, he’s not going to sell you in a press conference. He’s not going to blow you away with some great post-game speech, or pre-game speech, none of that stuff.” Davis continued, “When the game’s over he’ll just look at the scoreboard and that’ll tell you what happened on the field.”
Davis also touched on the similarities between his situation at Tennessee as a running back and the current situation in Knoxville. Davis played with fellow running backs Gerald Riggs and Cedric Houston, which provided depth at the position similar to what the Vols have now with Ty Chandler, Tim Jordan, and Eric Gray. “To be successful in this conference, you have to have two or three good backs. Backs wear down by that fourth or fifth if they’re constantly getting to rock twenty or thirty pairs a game. You need two or three guys that can help change the pace.”
Davis’ praise of Pruitt is certainly intriguing as he played for one of Tennessee’s best coaches of all time, Phillip Fulmer. To watch our full interview with former Tennessee running back Jabari Davis, in addition to many other interviews, click here.