What Alabama’s national championship victory over Georgia means for Tennessee Vols

ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 08: The Alabama Crimson Tide celebrates beating the Georgia Bulldogs in overtime and winning the CFP National Championship presented by AT
ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 08: The Alabama Crimson Tide celebrates beating the Georgia Bulldogs in overtime and winning the CFP National Championship presented by AT /

The Crimson Tide beat Bulldogs to win the national championship, thanks in large part to Jeremy Pruitt. Here’s what that means for the Tennessee Volunteers.

Alabama was able to come back to score a 26-23 victory over Georgia to capture Nick Saban’s fifth national championship in Atlanta. The Vols would have had plenty of reasons for excitement regardless of the outcome.

In the beginning of the game, it seemed like both teams had abandoned their strongest suit,  the running game. I wrote an article yesterday about Pruitt’s play calling being in the spotlight and how he might be expecting the run game from the Bulldogs. Well that feeling must’ve been mutual from Georgia.

I don’t want to harp too much on the statistics of the game. I certainly don’t want to harp on how much Tua Tagovailoa outshined Jalen Hurts. I’d rather explain what the future could hold for Tennessee football. Consider now what Jeremy Pruitt has to sell to his recruiting class. This makes his 5th national championship as an assistant, including his second as a defensive coordinator at two different school.

Although some may say, “Yeah, as an assistant. Not a head coach,” it’s still a major selling point to a rapidly rising 2018 recruiting class. Whether folks will admit it or not, Pruitt was a crucial element to Alabama’s recruiting.

In no time at all, Pruitt will be snatching recruits from under Saban’s nose. He already has (JJ Peterson)! I do realize, however, Pruitt’s play calling enabled some big plays from Georgia’s offense. Nonetheless, it’s easy to forget the fact this guy is juggling two Power 5 jobs. And he shut down the Dawgs’ offense in the second half with the exception of one big play.

Fans should be mindful that being the head coach at the University of Tennessee is no easy task. So, to juggle that with a defensive coordinator job at Alabama and win a national championship is remarkable. You can only imagine the distractions going on in his head. This marks Alabama’s fifth national title in nine seasons. And Pruitt had his hand in that feat.

What about Kevin Sherrer?

While Pruitt was helping to coach Alabama to another national championship, Georgia linebackers coach Kevin Sherrer was suffering from the heartbreak of it. He’s now heading to Knoxville as well to serve under Pruitt as Tennessee Vols defensive coordinator.

These two are going to have an excellent work relationship. They go all the way back to high school coaching, Pruitt and Sherrer. Although Alabama won, this was a very low scoring game. Sherrer’s linebacking core had their hand in stifling Bama’s already sloppy offense.

The Bulldog’s went into the locker room at halftime with a 13-0 lead. For Saban’s offense to not score at all before halftime is nothing short of shocking. Not to mention, Georgia’s defense delivered Saban his first turnover in 376 straight offensive plays.

Now, one would argue that Hurts was experiencing serious jitters and overtly lacked efficiency and consistency. It’s why Tua was put in. But, everyone was. It took some time for everyone to settle down.

In any case, Sherrer and the Georgia defense got it done in the first half. It’s also worth noting a lot of the points Bama was able to put up in the second half were due to readable offensive drives from the Bulldogs that resulted in three and outs. It was an immediate momentum shift from the Bulldogs to the Tide.

Georgia’s defense was gassed, and Bama’s defense came out rested and stopped the Georgia offense. The final play of the game in OT was a great call for the defense, but when your safety reads the tight end over the middle and loses the receiver down the side, you’ll get burned every time.

The Vols have plenty of reasons for excitement. The best news is Pruitt and Sherrer are full time in Knoxville now. They’ve already made a magnificent turnaround being part time. Now fans and players anxiously await their full time results.