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Jeremy Pruitt Needs Big Wins More Than He Needs Time

Jeremy Pruitt

Before you freak out, I’m not advocating for the firing of Jeremy Pruitt. I disagreed with the raise and extension he received before the season started, but that’s another topic for another article.

One thing I am pushing the narrative on is Pruitt needs wins more than he needs time.

We all hold different views on the amount of time it takes coaches to build a program. Every situation is unique and does offer some conversation for differentiating opinions.

However, I can’t hear it now, “Jeremy Pruitt needs more time.”

There isn’t a world where it’s acceptable to lose to Kentucky in Year 3 of your tenure.

In 70 years, the Wildcats only have 15 wins against Tennessee. From 1985 to 2010, Kentucky didn’t win a single game against the Vols. Not a single game.

Here’s another stat that blew my mind.

Pruitt is only one of seven coaches in Tennessee football program history to lose to Kentucky and/or Vanderbilt in Year 3.

Even Butch Jones beat Kentucky and Vanderbilt in Year 3.

Here’s the rebuttal I know that’s coming. “But, the program was at rock bottom after Butch.”

That’s not true, though.

The program wasn’t in a great spot, but we haven’t seen rock bottom yet. Rock bottom is what Arkansas has been the past two seasons under Chad Morris.

I’m not trying to compare the two coaches. I think Pruitt is head and shoulders better than Jones. However, stop using the term “rock bottom.”

Rock bottom was Michigan State before Nick Saban took over. The four seasons before Saban arrived in East Lansing; the Spartans went 3-8, 5-6, 6-6, and 0-11.

I’ve seen some people argue Saban didn’t have big success until Year 5. Looking at the end of the year records, I suppose you could make that argument, but I disagree entirely.

Nick Saban

In the 30 seasons before Saban in 1995, the Spartans only won 8+ games six times a single season.

In 1995 Michigan State went 6-5-1 with a win over No.7 Michigan at the time of the game. MSU played No.14 Penn State to a 4-point game.

In Year 2, Saban was close to pulling an upset over No.7 Penn State 32-29.

Saban closed the gap in Year 3 with closer games against No.5 Michigan, No.9 Ohio State, and No.24 Purdue. That season he finally got the No.4 Nittany Lions 49-14.

Dabo Swinney

I’ve heard the same argument with Dabo Swinney and Clemson. And, yet again, those who argue this couldn’t be more wrong.

In Dabo’s first season, the Tigers went 9-5 and beat No.10 Miami (FL) 40-37. That season, Swinney lost to a top-10 team in Georgia Tech twice by a total of eight points.

By Year 3, Swinney had Clemson in the ACC Championship Game. At the time the games were played that season, Clemson had four top-25 wins.

Heck, even James Franklin at VANDERBILT

In Year 3 at Vanderbilt, James Franklin beat Georgia, Florida, and Tennessee.

If you’re going to be a good coach, you have to win some games you aren’t supposed to win. There is still time left for Pruitt this season to do so.

But, time isn’t what he needs.

Pruitt’s recruited well. He’s developed some positions well. He just needs to win.

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