Pruitt Shows Major Red Flag, Vol Fans Outraged
KNOXVILLE, TN– Tennessee has done the absolutely unthinkable, lost to Georgia State. Jeremy Pruitt’s Volunteers were unprepared, disoriented, and straight up embarrassing on Saturday night as Vol fans were forced to watch yet another game filled with mental errors and flabbergasting mistakes. On Saturday morning, when Tennessee fans awoke with excitement there was no consideration that the Panthers could upset the Volunteers. Instead most of the talk was if Tennessee would cover the games 26 point spread. When the ball flew into the air for the kickoff, Tennessee fans, players, and coaches all expected the same thing: a 20ish point tuneup game before BYU came to Knoxville. However, Shawn Eliott’s team had a different result in mind. The Panthers outplayed, out-toughed, and outcoached the Volunteers for 60 minutes in their 38-30 upset. It was by far the biggest win in the program’s 9 year history and is already considered by many to be the worst loss in Tennessee’s entire 128 year history. With this heartbreaking loss, like it or not, there is now a major red flag being shown by Head Coach Jeremy Pruitt. Now to start off, in no way are we saying Coach Pruitt should be fired. We are simply stating the obvious, when a team losses to a 2-10 opponent that’s in the Sun Belt, you can’t deny that a red flag is on the horizon.
Among the biggest concerns that were showcased in Knoxville was the defensive line. Tennessee’s pass rush was unable to get to Georgia State’s quarterback, and when a team can’t put heat on a team like the Panthers, you have a huge red flag sailing in the air. If Tennessee can’t have a good performance at the defensive line position against them, how can you expect them to compete against SEC Rivals like Florida, Georgia, and Alabama. The answer is simple: you can’t. The fact that Tennessee’s defensive line would struggle this year was a tough pill to swallow in the offseason, but at this point there is no denying it. Georgia State’s dual threat QB, Dan Ellington, humiliated Tennessee and ripped their hearts and souls out of
their chests all day long. Any defensive football player will tell you there is nothing worse than having a 3rd down, defending everything perfectly and then giving up a QB scramble for the 1st down and having to start all over again. While Tennessee got close to stopping Georgia State on third down countless possessions, it seemed like most of the time Ellington found a way to rip Tennessee’s defense either through the air or with his legs.
As for the cause of this loss, we can think of two big possibilities and neither of them are that Georgia State was the better team. The first is the Pruitt’s team was simply exhausted after a week of practice. Is it a possibility that Pruitt overworked his team headed into this game so they had nothing left to put out on the field, some fans and media personalities alike are already using this theory as the explanation for the Volunteers unprecedented loss. However, we at Volunteer Roadshow think that this theory is more plausible. It is simple; Jeremy Pruitt overlooked Georgia State and did not treat them as a legitimate opponent, Georgia State saw this and treated it as they should have; a golden opportunity. If this theory is accurate and this contributed to why Tennessee lost to the worst team in the Sun Belt, it is an even bigger red flag for Pruitt and his staff.
Now the morning after the game, Pruitt is starting to feel the heat. Fans of the Volunteers have expressed their outrage and frustration with the Tennessee head coach on media outlets such as Twitter. “Friends… Tennessee Football is dead,” one tweet read. “Pruitt will not be here long. He’s got to build a fire in these boys or get out,” said another. One fan went far enough to call for both Pruitt and Fulmer’s heads saying, “Fire Pruitt AND Fulmer since it was Fulmer’s guy,” It’s hard to say this is an overreaction following a loss to the worst team in the Sun Belt, but in no way do we at Volunteer Roadshow blame Phillip Fulmer. “Pruitt isn’t on the hot seat. That thing (the seat) is on literal fire at this point,” said another angry fan. “Now we have to pay another buyout, and get a new head coach,” said another upset Tennessee fan on Facebook. “Fire Pruitt. Horrible display of coaching; wait, there was no coaching,” said another member of VolTwitter. So yeah, there is a lot of pressure on Pruitt at this point to say the least.
We’ll end on this, Jeremy Pruitt now has pressure on his back. It will be how Pruitt
handles that pressure that will determine if he will be the head coach at the end of the season. If Jeremy Pruitt lets the pressure get to him and Tennessee ends up missing out on a bowl game, it’s hard to imagine Coach Fulmer keeping his patience. However, if Tennessee can put this behind them and find a way to get to 6 or 7 wins, it will easily be enough to save his job. One thing is clear, it’s all up to Pruitt and we’re all hoping for the best.