Jeremy Pruitt met with the media on Monday afternoon and came out of the gate, defending his staff.
According to a Friday report, eight assistant coaches declined pay cuts as the university was looking to save money during the pandemic.
“When you talk about contracts, the situation is fluid. I know the men that are in this building, and I know where their hearts are at. I also know the circumstances around decision making, what they’re looking for, and where they’re going in the future. The final chapter has not been written on that. They will continue to look and meet with our administration to see what they can do to help supplement the university.”
Pruitt said that he did not discuss the pay cuts with his assistant coaches. He also said that he didn’t find out the final outcome until the report was released. Pruitt went on to claim that the process was still ongoing.
“I wasn’t really going to talk about it, but with the communication and being in the middle of the season, I did not specifically sit down with any assistant coach. I knew that they were being approached about it, but I didn’t know the outcome until Blake (Toppmeyer) wrote the article on Friday. What Blake wrote was factual. I do believe, as I said before, that the final story has not been written yet. It’s a fluid situation and with contracts, things change. There will be opportunities to make adjustments as we move on.”
Jeremy Pruitt and his wife Casey are also trying to “Gift” the support staff with a one time payment. This includes folks like the training staff, media department, editing, operations and more.
In other big news, Jeremy Pruitt said that Shawn Shamburger will no longer play this season. Pruitt said that he would be taking the rest of the semester to focus on academics. It is not set in stone that Shamburger would return next season.
“Shawn is working on academics. This has been a very unusual circumstance for this whole deal. You try to do school from home, not being in-person when you talk about tutors and things like that. He’s going to focus on academics the rest of this semester. No, (he will not be back with team this season).”
This will be the time for Theo Jackson and others to step up and takeover the STAR position for good.
Harrison Bailey took most of the first team reps last week, due to Guarantano being in concussion protocol. Jeremy Pruitt commended the freshman for getting better with his “Comand” of the game.
Pruitt also mentioned he thought Harrison Bailey had a good week of practice.
Jarrett Guarantano participated in Sunday’s practice, as Pruitt discussed.
“I thought Jarrett had a good day yesterday. It seems to be a little more confidence offensively, especially with our younger guys having a better idea of how to execute at a higher level.”
The Vols have a pivotal game this weekend against Auburn, as the Tigers looked to have controlled their Covid problem.
Tennessee has been looking to get healthy for a while now, but Pruitt was optimistic on Monday.
“I feel like going into this week, our football team is as healthy as it’s been in a while.”
The Vols will be back on the practice field Tuesday afternoon, as they continue preparing for the Tigers.