Mirror this.

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…


Filed under Because Nothing Sucks Like A Big Orange

22 responses to “Mirror this.

  1. Brandon

    Keep your friends close and your enemies closer Coach Pruitt.


  2. Spike

    If I root for WVU does that make me a bad guy?


  3. tbia

    Fulmer has 3 words circling in his brain.

    Interim Head Coach.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Comin' Down The Track

      Seriously, Jeremy, buddy. Two things:
      1. If you’ve ever been in a card game for longer than twenty minutes and you still don’t know who the patsy is… you’re the patsy.


  4. 3rdandGrantham

    What Pruitt clearly is oblivious to is the fact that he is taking over a dumpster fire of a program that was winless in SEC play last year. He is being paid handsomely with a 6 year guaranteed contract to fix the program over several years, which in turn will reinvigorate the fan base if he is successful. Yet, because of his lack of self-awareness or otherwise, he honestly thinks he should be able to just show up and immediately the fans adorn him and the program, and immediately act as if it’s 1997 all over again.

    It’s basically akin to leaving a VP position at Amazon to take over the CEO position at Sears, and as you arrive on your first day of work, you immediately complain about the lack of a new, sexy high rise skyscraper HQ with all the trappings of success in a hip city (Amazon/Seattle), while instead you are stuck in some ho-hum Illinois suburb with an apathetic at best employee base. Oh, and you quickly complain about the recent P&L statements and wonder what the hell is going on. As insane as that sounds, that is how Pruitt is acting these days.


    • PharmDawg

      Ole DWE and Tennessee is a perfect match.


    • mdcgtp

      I think there are a lot of flaws that Pruitt has, but he knows that UT’s talent level and culture are far away from where he wants them to be to compete with UGA and Bama. Based on our own experience, Pruitt is comfortable making provocative comments. Whether that is by design or mistake is unclear, but in the end, those comments won’t matter. What will matter is his ability to recruit and develop talent, and I think all of us are being way too complacent about the state of their program, but that is another story for another time. Further, if Kirby does Kirby things, they won’t beat us, but being a “top program” will benefit us when the CFP teams are selected.

      The larger point is that your second sentence is pretty much the clincher. NOT ONLY is making ridiculous money, but he has 100% of the upside (in the form of renegotiation) and 0% of the downside because his contract is guaranteed. If you are a VP at Amazon and someone offers you a job as a turnaround CEO for 3x your salary with much higher growth potential, you have a fiduciary responsibility to your family to consider it. Obviously, he only has one chance to leave Saban the first time (just as Kirby did and Richt from Bowden). It is hard to argue that he was going to have that many better options or a better fit.


  5. Bulldog Joe

    Win and the fans will be there. They know it.


    • Brandon

      And if he loses this attitude will have him tarred and feathered all the faster. This situation is akin to some feudal power struggle in which the king dies and the brother of the dead king is regent and puts his 10 year old kid on the throne as a placeholder until circumstances permit him to seize the crown himself. Fulmer is just bidding his time and waiting for his pre-text.


  6. AusDawg85

    It’s Tennessee…what else is there to do?


  7. Go Dawgs!

    “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,” Fulmer said before adding, “and given that we’ve got as much chance of beating East Tennessee State this year as we do West Virginia, we need all the game day practice we can get.”


  8. W Cobb Dawg

    “…Tennessee football is in a new phase of blogging manna from heaven.”

    If they had any sense they’d be quiet as church mice. Other than taking the mic for a moment to ask everyone to turn out for G-Day, Kirby is wise to keep a low profile and his shoulder to the wheel. The any-publicity-is-good-publicity approach ain’t gonna cut it when you line up against bama or UGA on the field. All the bluster coming out of utk doesn’t concern me as much as the silence from scu.


  9. Cojones

    Excuse my naivete, but I take Pruitt for his word and getting them game ready for fall practice should put a little more realism into their early fall sessions. Instead of waiting for the seminal moment just before the WV game to get his players’ minds into the game, he is letting them mull over an attitude necessary to take WV down by replicating their pregame experience. I’ll bet it helps their mindset in practicing for their first couple of games.


  10. Dawg19

    That’s what killed Dennis Day! Contempt for the audience! (@ 3:20)



  11. UGA '97

    Love the Amazon- Sears comparison, but that’s usually the same case for all new HC hires, although UT actually has some of the best facilities in the SEC, their biggest challenge is recruiting proximity. Love see them bitching and moaning about how important the spring game is AFTER the fact. Good job being reactive Phil and Jeremy, keep it up!