Tennessee football head coach Jeremy Pruitt previewed the Volunteers’ opener against the West Virginia Mountaineers in his Monday press conference.
It’s time for Week One of the 2018 Tennessee football season. Jeremy Pruitt took the podium Monday to preview the Vols opener in the Belk College Kickoff Classic Saturday in Charlotte against the West Virginia Mountaineers.
The Vols haven’t opened the season up against a Top 25 opponent since 2007, when they faced the California Golden Bears on the road. However, it’s worth noting that’s the last time they won 10 games and won the SEC East as well.
In Pruitt’s first weekly presser on Rocky Top, it’s clear he took Nick Saban’s philosophy to Tennessee football. That philosophy is speaking a lot without saying anything. However, there were a few colonels we could grab from what he said. You can see the full video of the press conference above. Here are our takeaways.
1. Nothing is set in stone with the depth chart.
Tennessee football released its depth chart on Monday just before Pruitt gave his press conference. There were numerous spots that were wide open, and Pruitt only made things more vague. He basically said that every position is still up for grabs.
When it came to the quarterback situation, he didn’t say whether it would be Keller Chryst or Jarrett Guarantano and noted that its like any other position. Heck, that went all the way down to punter, which he said is still open between Paxton Brooks and Joe Doyle. Pruitt said both guys could kick for them in the fall.
And while the depth chart revealed nobody in the return game, Pruitt was careful not to give any names either. He basically said things will be more narrowed down later in the week.
2. Newcomers are making an impact.
Jeremy Pruitt was clear that he’s not worried about playing freshmen or other newcomers if they’re the best players on the field. Here’s a bit of what he said on that:
“All across the country this week, there’ll be guys playing something for the first time in college football,” he said. “I look at it as an opportunity.”
Pruitt’s philosophy was evident on the depth chart itself with Alontae Taylor and Bryce Thompson, two freshmen, in competition for that other cornerback spot. did not show any concern about what they would have to deal with against WVU.
“I think our guys guard pretty good wide receivers everyday,” he said.
He also noted that Jahmir Johnson, a junior college transfer, has come a long way this fall camp. Simply put, with the depth chart wide open, plenty of newcomers could get involved. And Pruitt noted that they improve the team by bringing competition to every position.
3. There is nothing irregular for Jeremy Pruitt about this game
Sure, Tennessee football faced Will Grier in 2015. And this is also Jeremy Pruitt’s first game as a head coach. But for him, at least based on what he showed Monday, nothing really changes from what he has done in the past.
Pruitt noted that he feels no difference in emotion as a head coach preparing for a game compared to being a coordinator.
“If you’re going to play, you want to win,” he said. “That’s why we practice, that’s why we do what we do.”
He also noted that things are so different that there’s no advantage to any side facing Grier again from 2015. Simply put, Pruitt isn’t buying into storylines. And it’s clear he’s going out of his way to make sure they don’t affect his team.