Jeremy Pruitt is handling Tennessee’s worst losing streak in its program’s history just swell, thank you. Why do you ask?
Third-year Vols head coach Jeremy Pruitt had an irritable tone during the postgame media availability, appearing to take issue with a string of the questions asked by reporters.
The second inquiry, about a quarterback competition, seemingly set Pruitt off. Tennessee started freshman Harrison Bailey, who completed 14 of 21 passes for 111 yards (66.7 percent) and one touchdown to zero interceptions but took five sacks, before making a switch to third-year sophomore J.T. Shrout while trailing 31-7 with 11:15 left in the fourth quarter.
“I mean, guys, every week — so y’all won’t have to ever have to ask me this again, OK — every week, we go out there and we see who competes in practice, who does the best job that we feel like affects the guys around him, aight, and we will do that as long as I’m the head football coach here at every position,” Pruitt said. “So you don’t have to ask me ever, ever, ever again.”
That stuff may work for Nick Saban, but not so much for a guy who’s looking up from a deep, deep hole this season. And if telling reporters they don’t need to ask him a question doesn’t work, there’s always this:
Perhaps the most interesting reaction came on a question about Tennessee’s third-down struggles, going 4 of 15. In the answer, Pruitt dumbed down football to a reporter.
“Well, Blake, I don’t know how much you know about football, but you can play inside man-to-man or you can play outside man-to-man and if they’re running inside breaking routes, you like to play ’em from inside-out,” Pruitt said.
Let’s just say Blake knows enough about football to know that going 4-15 on third down against a Grantham defense is worth a question or two.
Meanwhile, here’s a super vote of confidence for the head coach.
Pruitt’s trying to spin this as something he fully supports, but let’s be real here: “Due to many hardships and struggles within the program” ain’t exactly a good look.
If you think Greg McGarity’s reaction to the SEC postponing the Vanderbilt game was a little bit over the top, just imagine Pruitt’s reaction to the news that the Vols won’t get to play the ‘Dores this season. Like I said, I’m kind of looking forward to it.