Tennessee Fans Shouldn’t Give Up on Pruitt Just Yet
So what in the world happened Saturday Night? Tennessee outplayed BYU for the entire game… except for the last minute of the matchup. In a shocking turn of events, BYU QB Zach Wilson threw a bomb down the sideline to send the Cougs into the red zone with 5 seconds left on the clock. BYU kicked a field goal to send it to overtime as you could hear a pin drop in my section of Neyland stadium with the faint sound of celebration from the shocked BYU faithful. As BYU pushed its way into the end zone to win the game, the Cougar faithful went crazy in Neyland Stadium. As Tennessee fans filed out of the stadium, the BYU fans were celebrating as the visiting team’s sideline poured onto the field in astonishment. As soon as the game ended Jeremy Pruitt started getting heat, Pruitt also received heat after the Vols 38-30 loss to Georgia State but not to this extent. In addition, some of the Volunteer faithful have already started making their hot boards for the coaching search under the circumstance that Pruitt is fired. Let’s face it, that is very premature and almost laughable but for what it’s worth the 3 most common names we’ve been hearing from Big Orange fans are former Ohio State HC Urban Meyer, Washington State HC Mike Leach, and Syracuse HC Dino Babers.
Tennessee fans’ reactions are mixed following the heartbreaking loss. I overheard many complaints leaving Neyland Stadium on Saturday Night. “Great game coach” one fan screamed sarcastically as I was leaving my seat. “Go back to Bama,” said another. However, some were quick to rush to the defense of the 2nd year Tennessee head coach. “Give him time, he’s our guy.” one Facebook post read. “Pruitt showed the right kind of emotion tonight.” one tweet read. One fan went as far as to say, “Pruitt will manage to bring this program back to its glory if we give him time.” Here’s our take on this whole ordeal. Losing to Georgia State and BYU is never acceptable and if you’re just going by the eye test then Tennessee’s coaching staff failed miserably. But here is the simple truth, Tennessee has one of the best coaching staffs in the nation. They have 3 national recruiters of the year, and they’ve proven that they have what it takes to recruit against top tier schools. In the loss to BYU, Jeremy Pruitt and his staff did most things right. Quite frankly most of these outcomes just don’t make any sense. However one of the biggest things we noticed about the game is that players Jeremy Pruitt recruited such as Henry To’oto’o and Eric Gray showed lots of potential during these games while the recruits that were brought in by Butch Jones simply did not. Obviously, there are some exceptions most noticeably Jauan Jennings, who showed the best passion on the team. However, for the most part, this was very much the case. We at Volunteer Roadshow believe if Vol Nation give Coach Pruitt the time to recruit the players he needs to win on Rocky Top, he will be able to stabilize this situation. It just may take longer than many of us were hoping for. Even though it’s frustrating Tennessee fans have to keep calm and reevaluate this situation in the near future.
However, in the end, most Vol fans agree with one thing, that we’re staring down the barrel of what will likely be a very disappointing season. Most Tennessee fans were expecting a 7-5 or 8-4 season heading into this season, and now it is getting tougher and tougher to find 6 wins on the Volunteers’ schedule. With this 0-2 start, Tennessee’s most likely path to winning 6 games would probably be Chattanooga, Mississippi State, South Carolina, UAB, Kentucky, and Vanderbilt. It’s going to be very difficult to win all 6 of those games, so predicting a Bowl Game at this point would be pretty unrealistic. Then again you never know for sure what is going to happen in this conference, and that’s what makes it the best in the country.
Only time will tell if Jeremy Pruitt and the Volunteers can pull this ship together and sail to a decent recovery. But right now the program needs your support more than ever before and it’s up to you if you will keep supporting your university of not.