Judging from my emails, several of you have latched on to a comment about the bee-you-tee-ful friendship in K-ville in this piece:
There also are whispers out of Knoxville that the hard-charging Pruitt and new athletic director Phillip Fulmer are not exactly seeing eye to eye as both feel their way in their new roles. And maybe those growing pains are to be expected considering the newness in some ways and the old habits — Fulmer being the coach; Pruitt working for guys way more famous than the AD — in others.
I have no idea what that’s about, let alone whether it’s a real thing, but I certainly appreciate the effort. I’m sure it will be vehemently denied, at least until it’s not convenient to do so.
What I find more amusing from that article are the thin reeds the author grasps to make the case for Pruitt.
Is Pruitt the guy? Impossible to know when they’re in coats and ties in July and putting on their best behavior.
But here’s a quick checklist on positives for Pruitt so far:
He handled Murray’s criticism about his ability to be a CEO of a program like a CEO of a program.
He answers questions with a directness that (a) would make Butch pass out and (b) lets everyone know that he has a confidence in his knowledge of football that he’s fine with mixing up a couple of syllables and some subject-verb agreement. (Know who else does that? Saban, aight.)
He refuses to reference a player by name. And while that may make it tough for beat writers and the rest of this industry, the truth is, name the last UT player who deserved to be singularly praised? We’ll wait.
He’s not Booch, in other words. Only in Knoxville would that be considered a home run hire. (While we’re at it, when did referencing a player by name amount to praise?)
It’s not so much that I’m rooting against Pruitt, but if UT stumbles (again), it sure is gonna be fun listening to the spin.