Should Tennessee football fans want Jeremy Pruitt fired?

Tennessee Head Coach Jeremy Pruitt walks down the sideline during a game between Tennessee and Missouri at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, Tenn. on Saturday, Oct. 3, 2020.100320 Tenn Mo Jpg
Tennessee Head Coach Jeremy Pruitt walks down the sideline during a game between Tennessee and Missouri at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, Tenn. on Saturday, Oct. 3, 2020.100320 Tenn Mo Jpg /

In Jeremy Pruitt’s third year, the Tennessee football Volunteers may be slipping.

Just a month after Tennessee football head coach Jeremy Pruitt was given a contract extension through 2025, the Vols find themselves entering their bye week with a 2-3 record thanks to a three-game losing streak. Part of that streak is a 34-7 home loss to the Kentucky Wildcats.

Plenty of fans and analysts are now beginning to question whether or not Pruitt is the right guy on Rocky Top. Whether you believe the contract extension was premature or not, let’s take a look at both sides of the Jeremy Pruitt head coaching discussion.

Why Pruitt’s status as head coach should be re-evaluated

For those that say Pruitt hasn’t turned Tennessee football around yet despite ample resources to do so, they have a point. In fact, depending on how the rest of this season plays out, we could see the Pruitt era actually digress in year three.

There have been times when the team looked lost, players looked unmotivated, and talented kids ultimately were unprepared. No matter if it’s year three or year one, unpreparedness should always be unacceptable.

Critics have also harped on the excuses made for Pruitt and by Pruitt. How many times have fans heard that some players look raw due to COVID-19 contact tracing and limited snaps in practice? Every single team in the country is dealing with that same issue.

He repeated the words AD Phillip Fulmer told him back when he took the job in 2017: “The head coach at Tennessee is going to be judged on three games: Florida, Georgia, and Alabama.” So far Pruitt is a combined 0-8 against those teams with a chance to beat Florida later this season.

If fans are to judge Pruitt and his Tennessee football team on those three games, then by his own words, he’s done a terrible job. To make matters even worse, he’s not just judged by his losses to those three teams.

Pruitt also has home losses to Georgia State, BYU, and unranked Kentucky. So, while fans aren’t wrong for wanting more from Pruitt, or at least wanting the temperature on his seat to be raised a little bit, they probably shouldn’t want him fired.

Why Pruitt should be given more time

For starters, coaching searches aren’t good. You shouldn’t want to strip an entire coaching staff and start from scratch when they underperform. Constantly cycling through coaches and making new hires says way more about a program and its fans than you’d think.

For prospective coaches, what does that say about those fans and that program if you call for a coach’s head after a 2-3 start? Who would want to take a job there? Amidst all the drama and national scrutiny the Vols’ athletic department received from the coaching search that hired Pruitt, it would be a really tough look to buy him out this early in his tenure.

On top of that, look at the talent Pruitt has brought to Rocky Top. Remember the mass exodus of recruits when the Butch Jones fiasco went down? Think about the five-stars and premier talent the coaching staff has gotten commitments out of that would most likely jump ship. Maybe even worse, think about the players currently in Knoxville that UT would lose with a coaching sweep.

While there have been some questionable decisions made this year alone – continuing to play Jarrett Guarantano and firing DL coach Jimmy Brumbaugh being just two – there’s no question we’re yet to see the full potential of the team he’s created.

It’s frustrating to not see immediate success, and it’s even more disappointing to see talented young players seemingly underperform. However, Pruitt was essentially given the job of rebuilding this program.

Five takeaways from Vols' loss to Alabama. dark. Next

It may sound like just another excuse, but he did inherit the worst Tennessee football team in school history. These things take time. So what say you, Vol Nation? Is Jeremy Pruitt still the coach of the future for Tennessee football? Or could this season be his last in Knoxville?