5. Lowering the standard and expectations for players
Every one of the previous coaches has some example of doing this. Butch Jones was the most recent and most annoying. This was the guy who called his players the ‘champions of life’ after they grossly underachieved in 2016. But he wasn’t the first one to do it.
Before him, Derek Dooley admitted in a 2016 interview with Clay Travis that he didn’t set the standard for the Vols his second season, 2011 due to how desperate he was to rely on young talent going up against a brutal SEC schedule. But it created a bad climate which hurt him down the road.
Lane Kiffin threw character out the window and only focused on star ratings when he recruited. That ruined the Tennessee football program for a long time after he left. And this played a role in doing Phillip Fulmer in as well. Remember, he had a lot of players getting in trouble down the stretch of his tenure on Rocky Top.
Jeremy Pruitt, coming from the Nick Saban mold, has got to avoid lowering his standards at any point. Dooley normally would do that, but 2011 was an anomaly. And to be fair to Pruitt, he is hinting that he will do just that.
Already, Pruitt is refusing to make excuses for his players. He said in his opening press conference he wants to win every game he plays. There’s no ‘brick by brick’ mantra with him. And we know of stories of him clashing with Mark Richt because of his high standard. This is all good news for the Vols. They just have to hope he keeps it up.