Pruitt Has Lost the Vols. What He Can Do To Get Them Back.

Marky Billson
7 min readSep 23, 2019

More media access to others, less to him.

Jeremy Pruitt has lost the Tennessee Volunteers.

After quarterback Jarrett Guarantano had perhaps the best game of his career in a 45–0 victory against Chattanooga, Pruitt built a straw man to protect his quarterback one minute with his infamous “we don’t care what you think” comment following the game.

Tennessee quarterback Jarrett Guarantano

But the very next game he’s benching Guarantano for a freshman, only to return to Guarantano later in the contest, a 34–3 loss to traditional nemesis Florida.

If thinking he had to defend his quarterback after a good game didn’t indicate Pruitt was clueless, certainly his handling of him the following week did.

This was Pruitt’s “can’t count to 14” moment; his “what do we want from our media?”

Naturally Pruitt, 1–3 this season and 6–10 in his career following the Vols’ 14th loss to Florida in 15 games, is now under fire from Tennessee fans, but as Pete Thamel’s column indicates, perhaps he isn’t the real villain.

Thamel writes of Phil Fulmer’s assent to the Vols’ athletic director position in 2017 in brutal honesty; describing him as a ruthless opportunist who is now an example of the Peter principle.

Tennessee athletic director Phil Fulmer

After succeeding former athletic director John Currie, whose booster-driven attempted hire of Greg Schiano as Tennessee head football coach led to his demise, Fulmer hired Pruitt, formerly the defensive coordinator at Alabama to be his coach.

On surface it didn’t seem like such a bad hire. Pruitt was coming from the premier college football program in the country and had been the defensive coordinator not only under Nick Saban, but Jimbo Fisher at Florida State when the Seminoles won a national championship and Mark Richt, who essentially moved Georgia ahead of Tennessee in Southeastern Conference hierarchy during the second half of Fulmer’s tenure as head coach.

If you can’t beat ’em, join ‘em! Besides, Pruitt wasn’t touched by the Penn State scandal and wasn’t coming from the Big 10…