Jeremy Pruitt, players speak in a press conference after the Tennessee football Volunteers’ loss to the Wildcats.
After Tennessee football suffered a humiliating 34-7 loss to the Kentucky Wildcats, Jeremy Pruitt, Henry To’o To’o, Eric Gray and Trey Smith all spoke to the media. There were plenty of questions, and many of them won’t be answered for a while.
The Vols addressed all their mistakes, their quarterback situation and what they did so poorly to lose in such humiliating fashion. With three different quarterbacks playing in the game, there’s plenty to wonder about going forward.
However, issues on defense are a problem as well. All of this was addressed in the postgame press conference. Here are videos of the coaches and players speaking after Tennessee football’s worst loss in a while.
Main takeaway: QB situation undecided
This was a big one. With Jeremy Pruitt benching Jarrett Guarantano, who threw two pick-sixes and had three turnovers, and with Guarantano coming back in after a JT Shrout interception, the quarterback situation was up in the air. However, with Harrison Bailey coming in at the end, it really became up in the air, and Pruitt said the situation is now “undecided.” Here’s the quote.
“I would say it’s undecided. Right now, when you lose 34-7, I think everybody in our organization has got to look and see what went wrong. We could make changes at any level.”
Henry To’o To’o
Main takeaway: Confidence still there
In describing the inexplicable defensive collapses in the second half, Henry To’o To’o said it call came down to lack of execution, not the Kentucky Wildcats making changes they weren’t prepared for. However, To’o To’o still expressed confidence in his team despite back to back losses. Here’s what he said on that front.
“Our confidence stays high. We’re a team with confidence. We know how good we can be, and we know the talent and culture we have with this 2020 team. As long as we stay together as one, we’ll be perfectly fine.”
Main takeaway: Questioning Jeremy Pruitt
This really stood out. Eric Gray gave his offensive line credit for his 128 yards on the ground and all the yards he gained on the Vols’ only touchdown drive. However, he seemed to question Jeremy Pruitt’s decision to punt it on 4th and 1 early in the second half. Take a look at what he said.
“For sure. Definitely hoping to go for that 4th-and-1. Coach Pruitt has been at this game for a long time, so he knows what to do. I put that all on him.”
Main takeaway: Disappointment
Despite all of the mistakes made by Tennessee football, none of them fell on Trey Smith. He blocked well on the interior all day. However, you could tell he felt humiliated by what happened. Here’s what he said about the disappointment after the loss with him as the leader.
“Having Al Wilson come and talk to us, that performance is tearing at me right now. I feel disappointed in myself first and foremost and it’s going to be a soul check this week, seeing who I am as a leader and as a player.”
Kentucky head coach Mark Stoops and quarterback Terry Wilson Jr.
There aren’t too many good explanations for what happened in this game. You can point to all the mistakes in the first half, but the Vols struggled severely in the second half on defense as well, and that had nothing to do with the mistakes.
It’s easy to explain Tennessee football not generating anything on offense in the second half, as Kentucky’s defense is dominant once it gets in the situation it was in. However, there are lots of concerning things related to the program, and they need to be addressed quickly with the Alabama Crimson Tide up next.