Tennessee Vols morning report: Ashley Smith promoted to assistant AD

A new Tennessee Vols assistant athletic director leads our Volunteers news.

Over one week now into the month of July, there is still not a lot of Tennessee Vols news happening. Everything is in limbo as to whether or not there will be a college football season, or any sports season that matter, in 2020-2021.

Our morning update on Rocky Top, however, doesn’t deal with any news on that front. There’s really nothing to bring up. Instead, it leads with administrative news. There was a major story in that world that came out on Tuesday, which we’ll discuss.

We also have a story on players discussing Jeremy Pruitt and an interview with a former player who played for Johnny Majors to bring you. So there’s an administrative story and players talking about two different coaches. Let’s go ahead and dive in.

Ashley Smith named assistant athletic director – UTSports

Phillip Fulmer announced that Ashley Smith has been promoted to Tennessee Vols Assistant Athletics Director for Player Relations & Development. Smith had previously been Director for Student-Athlete Development dating back to May of 2018. She replaces former Assistant AD Dr. Mikki Allen, who was named Director of Athletics at Tennessee State in April.

In Smith’s new Expanded Senior Staff role, the Tennessee graduate will oversee the football program’s comprehensive VFL programming initiatives. Highlighting those efforts is a comprehensive development assistance system for Tennessee football student-athletes that guides them from enrollment through their transition to post-football professional careers.

Players praise Jeremy Pruitt – Wes Rucker, GoVols247

The second part of last week’s “The Slice” podcast was released, and what clearly stood out was players praising Tennessee Vols football head coach Jeremy Pruitt for his handling of sensitive issues. Trey Smith, Alontae Taylor, Josh Palmer and Grant Frerking joined Tee Martin to discuss and praise how Pruitt had gone about handling recent issues.

All four players said they were thrilled that Pruitt offered such full-throated support of the movement and made sure the players knew they were free to speak their mind publicly about racial-justice concerns and other cultural issues that make them uncomfortable.

Pruitt and his staff also plan to ensure players are given clear instructions on how to vote and given assistance throughout that process, and several speakers are being invited to address the team on several topics.

Jeff Francis discusses Johnny Majors – Sports Talk, WNML

On Tuesday, former Tennessee football quarterback Jeff Francis discussed Johnny Majors, who passed away June 3. Francis played for the Vols from 1985 to 1988, starting his last three years and helping Majors to his first 10-win season with the Vols in 1987. He left as UT’s all-time passing leader, although quarterbacks have since surpassed him. Here’s a bit of what he said.

“When I was playing, we weren’t great on defense, just to say the least. We were pretty good on offense, and his background was in the secondary being a defensive coach, so he spent 90 percent of his time on the defensive side of the ball. We’d see him game day, and walk with Coach Majors game day, but he was definitely a CEO, and he was in charge of the coaches for sure.”