Jeremy Pruitt met with the media on Monday afternoon, coming off a loss to Georgia. The head coach also looked ahead to their matchup with Kentucky.
Tennessee held a scrimmage on Sunday night for players who haven’t had an opportunity to showcase their ability, due to being out or just not getting enough looks.
The Vols ran around 49 plays according to Jeremy Pruitt on Sunday night, with QB Harrison Bailey taking all the snaps for the offense. In the backfield, Tee Hodge and Dee Beckwith worked at the running back position. I was told that Bailey had “Business Day”, taking care of the football and making some really nice throws.
Malachi Wideman played a few drives for the Vols, while Jalin Hyatt played a few snaps. Isaiah Montgomery had a nice scrimmage for himself, creating some separation. Wideman had a fantastic catch over a walk-on DB. Dee Beckwith had some good runs, but has to work on running lower.
Tennessee had Solon Page and Aaron Beasley working with the ILB group, while Tyus Field and Keyshawn Lawrence were working at corner. Tamarion McDonald returned to full contact for the first time and played safety for the Vols. Jeremy Pruitt said McDonald was one of the bright spots for the Vols last night.
JJ Peterson did not play last night.
Discussing the scrimmage on Sunday night, Jeremy Pruitt wanted to see the younger players get an opportunity to showcase their skills.
“It was really good. I think we took like 49 snaps and Harrison (Bailey) took every one of them. For him, that was really good because based off the way our fall camp went, he didn’t get a lot of live action. We just didn’t have enough plays for him to get in there and get going. So, it was good for him. It was good for a lot of players. A lot of energy. There were a lot of guys that, to me, that kind of stuck out, so we got to continue to do this and give these guys an opportunity to develop.”
Jeremy Pruitt was asked if he had any thoughts on going to a different QB on Saturday.
“Well Jarrett (Guarantano) is our quarterback. He gives us the best opportunity to have success. When you have 1st and 20, it’s tough to make first downs. When you have 2nd and 15, it’s tough to make first downs. We didn’t do a very good job protecting. We didn’t play very fast on the perimeter. It’s the way the game goes. I played quarterback. When you don’t have a lot of success, the quarterback takes too much blame. When you have a lot of success, the quarterback probably gets too much credit. Offensively, our struggle Saturday was not because of one independent person. It was a team effort. We understand that. It starts with us as coaches to put our guys in a better position to have success.”
So, if you were looking for any kind of movement at the spot, don’t plan on seeing it anytime soon.
Tennessee couldn’t get into rhythm on Saturday in the second half, hurting themselves too much with penalties and mental mistakes.
“I think on Saturday, offensively with the penalties, we couldn’t overcome the penalties. With the mental mistakes that we made on a couple of plays. We couldn’t overcome that. Then you throw in the turnovers in the second half, it was too much for us to overcome against a really good football team.”
Penalties really hurt Tennessee on Saturday and so did alignment issues, something Jeremy Pruitt is looking to clean up.
“We lost the game Saturday because Georgia outplayed us in the second half. That’s the bottom line. There’s been circumstances within our fall camp that we had no control over, but we’ve known that all along. We have to find a way to adapt and improve. Our kids will find a way to get better. This has been three weeks in a row that we’ve had our entire team, starting the week of the South Carolina game, with the exception of a few injuries”.
Tennessee will not be wearing black jerseys this season, due to Covid and other issues with Nike.
The football team will hit the practice field on Tuesday afternoon, as they prepare for Kentucky.
For continued coverage of the 2020 football season, follow FOX Sports Knoxville.
All Images courtesy of Tennessee Athletic Communications