Tennessee football: Jeremy Pruitt’s hot seat rating unchanged

CBS has the Tennessee football Volunteers head coach entering 2020 in the same position.

Of the 130 FBS coaches, Tennessee football head coach Jeremy Pruitt’s job is deemed less safe than more than half of them. However, after just two years on the job, he doesn’t have anything to worry about yet.

Dennis Dodd of CBS Sports gave Pruitt’s hot seat rating a 2 on his list. That literally means “all good…for now.” The ratings go from 0 to 5, with 0 being “untouchable” and 5 being “win or be fired.” So it’s safe to say Pruitt is right smack in the middle.

There are 40 head coaches overall, including Tennessee football’s head coach, with the 2 rating. Meanwhile, 43 have a 1, which indicates “safe and secure,” while 24 have the 0 rating. So 67 head coaches are currently in better shape than Pruitt.

Behind Pruitt, five head coaches have a 4 rating, which means “start improving now,” and six head coaches have the dreaded 5. As for Pruitt, his 2 rating remains unchanged from where he was last year, after his first season on the job.

If things had not turned around down the stretch of last year, there might be a different rating for Pruitt. After all, a 5-7 season his first year on the job was forgivable, but an 0-2 start in 2019 that led to 1-4 and then 2-5 appeared to be creating some serious problems.

The six-game winning streak to close things out changed everything, though, as UT hit eight wins, showing a dramatic improvement from the previous two years, and then secured a top 10 recruiting class. It wasn’t enough to make Pruitt’s job completely safe, but it kept him off any sort of hot seat.

As of now, it’s safe to say Pruitt was in the same position Butch Jones was in after two years on the job, but Jones exposed he was in over his head later on. He’s definitely ahead of where Derek Dooley was. Although Dooley inherited a mess, he went from 6-7 in 2010 to 5-7 in 2011, which is why 2012 had to become the defining year for him.

Pruitt would like to show improvement, but he’s done enough to make sure Tennessee football’s performance in 2020 won’t fully define him. That’s enough to justify the 2 rating that Dodd gave him. He’s certainly not one of the 11 coaches on the hot seat.