New Tennessee head coach Jeremy Pruit has a message to his players and Tennessee fans. If you are going to enter Neyland Stadium, you better be prepared to work.
Following Tennessee’s spring game in Knoxville, Pruitt reflected on his first spring game as head coach with the media and he was not about to let anyone off the hook for a mediocre performance in the spring game. One thing you never want to hear from a head coach is that some of his players seemingly quit. That was the case for Pruitt today, without naming any specific players.
Even fans received some gripes from the new head coach.
Tennessee estimated a total of 65,098 fans came out to watch the Tennessee spring game, which is an impressive total and right around the average Tennessee typically draws for the spring game. But the crowd buzz must not have impressed Pruitt, who could be setting the tone for the fans in the fall in hopes they turn things up a bit once the games actually matter.
The same message is now being sent to the entire team. Pruitt has a high standard in mind, which is to be expected after being an assistant at Alabama. Was Pruitt truly this displeased with his team’s effort in the spring game? Or was he simply trying to play things down in order to let his players know there will be no room for poor efforts?
As every new head coach may try to do, Tennessee head coach Jeremy Pruitt is looking to keep the doors open to the alums of the Tennessee football program. Knowing he needs to do everything he can to rejuvenate the Tennessee program, tapping into the healthy alumni base of the Vols football program is a wise strategy.
“I want as many former VFLs back as we can get,” Pruitt said, according to a spring football story from Knox News. “It’s going to take all of us to get this program back where it’s supposed to be and, I think, that everybody is willing to do that.”
Having high-profile Tennessee alums hanging around the program can be a great recruiting tool as well as a good motivator for the current players on the roster. Over the weekend, Pruitt welcomed former Vols running back Alvin Kamara to a practice. Kamara is coming off a stellar rookie season in the NFL and can immediately be used as a tool for the kind of NFL future you can have by playing football at Tennessee.
“There’s been a lot of men over the years that have worked very hard to build this program up and I get it and I want these guys to come back,” Pruitt explained. “I know the sense of pride when they come back and, I think, they like what they see from our guys.”
As other coaches have found out at other jobs, winning over the alumni from a football program is a key objective because if the alums are not on board with what the new head coach is doing, it can turn ugly pretty quickly (see Al Golden and Miami). Pruitt is cognizant of the importance of keeping the alums happy and the job that is on his hands to keep those alums enthusiastic about the current state of the program.
The SEC may be packing up their media day extravaganza and moving from Alabama to Atlanta, but this year’s media day schedule shows the SEC will still carefully roll out plenty of storylines over the course of a four-day love fest for the conference.
The SEC is setting up shop at the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta, which feels like a great landing spot for the new media day fun for the SEC. The conference has established Atlanta as a destination point for the end of the regular season and the city just played host to the first College Football Playoff national championship game between two teams from the same conference, the SEC (Alabama and Georgia). So why not kickstart a new football season with the media in Atlanta too?
New Texas A&M head coach Jimbo Fisher will be the headline act for the first of the four media days for the SEC. Fisher will make his SEC Media Days debut as head coach of the Aggies on Monday, July 16. Other coaches speaking that day will be LSU’s Ed Orgeron and Kentucky’s Mark Stoops. Day 2 will be an interesting one with Georgia’s Kirby Smart in the spotlight coming off the SEC championship last fall and new Florida head coach Dan Mullen addresses the media for the first time as the Gators coach, although the former Mississippi State head coach is no stranger to the SEC media day circuit by now. Day 2 will also be the first SEC Media Day introduction for new Arkansas head coach Chad Morris and second-year Ole Miss head coach Matt Luke (Luke took over as head coach in Oxford after SEC Media Days last summer following the removal of Hugh Freeze not long after media days).
But when is Alabama head coach Nick Saban speaking, you ask? Day 3 (Wed., July 18 for those keeping track). Saban headlines the third day of the media day event for the SEC. Two other coaches speaking that day will be new head coaches in the SEC with former Saban assistant Jeremy Pruitt representing Tennessee and Joe Moorhead of Mississippi State stepping to the SEC podium for the first time. Missouri’s Barry Odom is also scheduled on day three. Day 4 will feature Auburn’s Gus Malzahn, South Carolina’s Will Muschamp, and Vanderbilt’s Derek Mason.
Player representatives for each school in addition to any other speakers will be announced at a later time.
It is not at all uncommon for children born in the state of Alabama to be named after Alabama football legends, but it is not every day you see a child of an Alabama coach receives a name inspired by former Alabama football players.
Defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt announced the birth of his new son, Flynt Anderson-Foster Pruitt, on Twitter. Alabama fans will likely already know the connection to the new child’s name, as used the last names of two former Alabama football players to create the middle name of Anderson-Foster; Ryan Anderson and Reuben Foster.
Maybe this is more common than I’m aware of, but regardless of how often a coach names a child after former players, this is a testament to the relationship the Pruitt family established with both former Alabama linebackers. And now there will be a bond for years to come between the coach and his family and Anderson and Foster.
Helmet sticker to Al.com.
The Broyles Award has trimmed down its list of candidates to five candidates. It would appear coaching defense was key this season, as four of the five candidates are defensive coordinators.
Jeremy Pruitt of Alabama, Brent Venables of Clemson, Jim Leavitt of Colorado and Don Brown of Michigan are the four defensive coordinators to make the finalist cut for the award for top assistant coach in college football. The lone offensive coordinator was Matt Canada of Pitt.
The winner of the 2016 Broyles Award will be announced on Tuesday, December 6. Last year’s recipient of the award was Oklahoma offensive cooridnator Lincoln Riley.