5. Dana Holgorsen is already making excuses.
There is a clear difference between how Dana Holgorsen handles things and how Jeremy Pruitt handles things. You could see it with Holgorsen dating back to July. He is Butch Jones-lite with the way he prematurely makes excuses.
Holgorsen complained about his team playing 11 Power Five opponents at Big 12 Media Days. His biggest complaint, though, came in early August when he was upset that the Vols would have a slight bit more practice time than his team. And then he took a shot at the vague depth chart Jeremy Pruitt put together.
Meanwhile, Pruitt was given a chance to make one excuse on Vol Calls Wednesday night. Asked about playing so many young guys, he noted that they don’t ask for somebody’s age once the coin toss happens on the field. Yes, there’s a difference.
And don’t think it doesn’t trickle down to the players. Mentality is everything, and it’s clear Pruitt expects Tennessee football to win every game regardless of the circumstances. That probably has the Vols players expecting to win.
Players for West Virginia, meanwhile, may have it creeping into the back of their head that they are at a disadvantage thanks to Holgorsen’s quotes. If their coach doesn’t believe in them, just how good are they? You’re supposed to set the standard everyday. That could be just enough for them to be out of sync in this game. And maybe, just maybe, it’ll result in a few plays for the Vols.