With every passing day, it grows on me that Tennessee football is in a new phase of blogging manna from heaven. Between Junior and Booch, it’s been a rich source, and it appears that the Fulmer and Pruitt Show is prepared to carry on that entertaining tradition. I am grateful.
Let’s recall Pruitt’s fan smack, shall we?
“To me, it’s kind of like our football team for the fans,” Pruitt said after the spring game. “The ones that were here, I’m proud they’re here. They’re fired up, ready to get going. And then there were some people that weren’t here, they had legitimate reasons they couldn’t be here. Then there were some people that weren’t here, why weren’t they here?
“It’s kind of like our football team. I think we all need to look in the mirror and see who we want to be.”
Fulmer’s totally cool with that, man.
“I certainly feel his passion,” Fulmer said. “That’s what we hired. I think he understands, and everybody should understand, that to get this turned back where we need it to be turned to, we need everybody.
“He knows that. He can’t do this by himself. It’s going to take us all to get back to where we want to be. I just know how passionate he is about doing it. I appreciate that part of it.”
Of course he does. He just hired the guy and is invested in the decision, at least until the results on the field don’t match the upfront attitude. But about that whole getting the fans fired up thing? Maybe Pruitt needs to look in the mirror himself and ponder meeting them half way.
New Tennessee football coach Jeremy Pruitt raised some eyebrows when he decided to postpone the Vols’ traditional fan (autograph) day before the Orange & White Game and bump it back to August, but he had the blessing and the backing of his boss.
That boss — Phillip Fulmer — happens to be a man whose storied coaching career at Tennessee got into the College Football Hall of Fame.
Pruitt told Fulmer exactly what he told reporters — that he wanted his team to treat the Orange & White Game as a full-speed dress rehearsal for an actual game day, and college football teams don’t hold autograph sessions with fans before actual games. They spend the night before the game and the morning of the game sequestered in a hotel, going through meetings and walk-throughs and film sessions and getting their minds and bodies prepared.
Considering the obvious fact that Tennessee will play a quality opponent — West Virginia — in Pruitt’s first game, anything that could decrease the hiccups leading into the game was something Fulmer understood.
“I liked his approach on not having the big (fan) day, because he’s trying to practice a game day,” Fulmer said. “That, to him, is important. It’s a game day for the kids to practice the West Virginia game, and East Tennessee State and all the way through, so he’s looking at it from that standpoint.”
Maybe this will turn out to be a grand experiment in how much you can ignore a fan base and still get away with it if you win. Then again…