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Opinion: Jeremy Pruitt Looks Like A Year 1 Coach In Year 3 Of His Tenure

Jeremy Pruitt

I’ll be the first to admit Jeremy Pruitt proved me wrong last season. I was convinced starting 0-2 would lead to one of the worst seasons in Tennessee history.

In 2018, Missouri bent the Vols over by hanging a 50 burger in Neyland Stadium, and if that wasn’t embarrassing enough, the season ended with a 38-13 loss to Vanderbilt.


The 2019 season began with Sean Elliot outcoaching Pruitt with his Georiga State Panthers. The final score was 38-30, but that game wasn’t even close. The BYU game ended in Tennessee heart-crushing fashion, something Vol fans have come all so used to.

Now, we are six games into the 2020 season, and it’s clear Pruitt isn’t the guy. If you weren’t sold before, you should be now.

Treigh Patterson wrote an article about how UT is only delaying the inevitable after the Alabama loss and people lost their minds. Doesn’t sound so crazy now, does it?

Pruitt had two weeks to plan for a 2-3 Arkansas team. An Arkansas team with a first-year head coach in Sam Pittman. This Razorbacks team is playing with fire and are a tough bunch. However, the Vols have more talent on the roster and shouldn’t have lost.

Tennessee ran the ball 50 times for 185 yards with a long of 20. You can’t win like that in today’s college football.

Florida QB Kyle Trask, who looks unbelievably good this season, threw for 474 yards on 30-for-43 against Georgia on Saturday. The six quarterbacks who played for Tennessee, Arkansas, and Georgia on Saturday didn’t even throw for 474 yards combined.

Pruitt’s offense isn’t going to get it done in the SEC. The most points the Vols have scored in an SEC game was 41 against South Carolina last season. However, that game deserves an asterisk because the special teams scored two touchdowns.

According to, the Vols rank 101 out of 121 teams in offensive yards per game. If you look at the statistics on yards per play, it gets even worse. Tennessee ranks 106 at 4.6 yards per play out of 121 teams.

Worse Than Year One

This season has been undeniably frustrating with a lack of development from multiple positions. The quarterback play and depth chart decision making has been head-scratching. Finally, and maybe the most infuriating, is the in-game coaching and lack of discipline.

The Vols were down 24-13 with around seven minutes left in the game. Pruitt decided to put Harrison Bailey in the game to…hand the ball off. Finally, after six straight run plays, Bailey threw his first pass on 4th-and-4 from the Arkansas 25 with the game on the line.

What!? Decisions like that are why Pruitt is over his head. Credit to the media for asking Pruitt why he didn’t kick a 42-yard field goal to get the game within one score.

Brent Cimaglia was a game-time decision, but early in the game, you didn’t care to let him attempt a 50 and 48-yard field goal? Not to mention, he made them both.

Here’s glaring statistical evidence as to why Pruitt made the wrong decision. Over the past two seasons, Cimaglia is 11-for-14 (78.5%) from 40+ yards. So not only does Pruitt not cut the lead to a one-score game, he lets his freshman quarterback throw his first pass of the game on a do-or-die down.

Somebody, please explain this to me.

No, better yet, I don’t care anymore. Saturday is no longer a day I look forward to. I’m done with hanging on to coaches who clearly don’t have it.


Chad Fields/Twitter

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