Tennessee football: Condredge Holloway defends Vols, Jeremy Pruitt

KNOXVILLE, TN - SEPTEMBER 15: A view of the outside of Neyland Stadium before a game between the Florida Gators and Tennessee Volunteers on September 15, 2012 in Knoxville, Tennessee. (Photo by John Sommers II/Getty Images)
KNOXVILLE, TN - SEPTEMBER 15: A view of the outside of Neyland Stadium before a game between the Florida Gators and Tennessee Volunteers on September 15, 2012 in Knoxville, Tennessee. (Photo by John Sommers II/Getty Images) /
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Jeremy Pruitt has a crucial defender amidst Tennessee football’s 1-3 start. Volunteers legend Condredge Holloway has come to his defense.

He’s feeling heat from all angles more than ever before. But one Tennessee football legend has stepped up to lend his voice of support to Vols head coach Jeremy Pruitt, and he’s a critical voice to lend it.

Condredge Holloway, who played quarterback for UT from 1972 to 1974 and served as an administrator with the school for 21 years before retiring earlier this spring, spoke out in defense of Pruitt. The first black starting quarterback in the SEC went on Paul Finebaum’s show Tuesday and expressed his defense of Pruitt.

Size and the lack of size that Tennessee football had when Pruitt took over was Holloway’s emphasis, and he kept bringing up that point when discussing the Vols. He talked about that and Pruitt needing to get his guys.

"“Well, from what I can see watching, and knowing the players that are there, Jeremy’s not dealing with a four-year stack of his players, and when he does, I think you’ll see some differences,” he said. “I’m not saying the ones that were there were not SEC players, but I know some were not big enough.”"

For Holloway, the trenches was where it was glaring. He said that Pruitt called him the second day on the job and asked where the big guys were, and he said that the size was the emphasis because it was needed to compete with other SEC players and other SEC schools.

"“Our offensive and defensive lines from three years, four years ago, they were tiny guys, and, you know, you could see it just in warm-ups,” he said. “They played their hearts out, but come fourth quarter, third quarter, they’d just hand off and run through you because you’re just not big enough to take the punishment.”"

Holloway also pointed to Pruitt’s track record to defend him, noting that he just won a title with the Alabama Crimson Tide as a defensive coordinator. He added that it bothers him that some people don’t understand what Pruitt is dealing with.

"“He knows what he’s trying to do,” he said. “He’s been there. He’s been part of that staff, and he knows what to do. You’ve just got to get the players to do it.”"

However, Holloway did say that he thinks the Vols will get back to where they need to be. Given what Pruitt inherited, it’s good for him to have an advocate in Holloway, one of Tennessee football’s greatest legends.

And Holloway does have a point. Butch Jones, to be fair, did bring in players with the right size. However, conditioning was always an issue with the Vols, and Pruitt spent this entire offseason trying to add more weight to the trenches.

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That hasn’t paid off early in the season, but as Holloway noted, they still need more big guys. That includes more players of the right size when it comes to depth and more players with refined skills. It would be one thing if Holloway said all this while working with the university, but since he’s retired, his honesty counts for something. So it’s big for Pruitt to have him in his corner.