Randy Smith: Give Coach Pruitt A Chance

Monday, February 12, 2018 - by Randy Smith
Randy Smith
Randy Smith
There are a few so-called Tennessee football fans who have taken to social media to criticize new head football Jeremy Pruitt because the 2018 recruiting class was less than impressive. The Volunteers finished 20th in the country according to Rivals.com and they placed eighth in the SEC. Considering that Coach Pruitt only started working full time as the Vols head man in the second week of January, that's really pretty good. While the Vols signed no five star players in this year's class, they did manage to get nine four star players. A recent article in the Knoxville News Sentinel stated that since the Volunteers finished dead last in the SEC, to finish eighth in recruiting was a huge step in the right direction and I agree.


College recruiting has never been an exact science. Many of those so-called five star players never pan out. I would rather have a hungry three star or four star athlete who works his rear off to get better than a pampered, glorified five star player who thinks the world owes them a favor because recruiting services have deemed them can't miss prospects. A good example of that premise is three star linebacker Al Wilson from Jackson, TN who became one of the best players Tennessee has ever had. Perhaps there is an Al Wilson or two in Tennessee's 2018 recruiting class. 

Jeremy Pruitt will never be popular with a certain section of Volunteer fans. He is from Alabama, played there and coached there. That alone makes him the enemy. The man hasn't coached a single game or a practice yet and he already has detractors among the Big Orange faithful. I would imagine some of those same detractors are among those who screamed for Coach Phillip Fulmer's head back in 2009. You see how that move worked out. Nine less than mediocre seasons later and the Volunteers are dead last in the SEC. 14th out of 14 SEC teams in 2017. Winless in the SEC and record wise the worst team in Tennessee history. That's the program that Jeremy Pruitt inherited. 

Coach Pruitt said last week that Tennessee would be back on top in recruiting next year and I believe him. He is a relentless recruiter and has a good staff in place to help him. As badly as Coach Butch Jones allowed the program to sink, there are a few talented players in school who need to be developed properly and I also believe Coach Pruitt and his staff can handle that challenge as well. 

I believe the naysayers are definitely in the minority right now.  As we get closer to spring practice at Tennessee, I look for a new level of excitement around the Big Orange. Will Tennessee be a contender in the SEC East in 2018? No. Will they be good enough to get to a bowl game? That remains to be seen. But I do know this; The Volunteers will be better than last year. They will play harder and be stronger and more physical than they were a year ago. How that translates into wins is anybody's guess but I trust Coach Jeremy Pruitt to get it done at Tennessee, and that's what all Big Orange faithful need to do. 

* * *

Randy Smith can be reached at rsmithsports@epbfi.com


Bryan Women Advance To AAC Championship

– In the semifinal round of the Appalachian Athletic Conference women’s basketball tournament on Friday, Bryan College did more than just avenge Allen University (S.C.) and advance to the AAC Tournament Championship Game. The Lions punched their ticket to the 27th Annual NAIA Division II Women’s Basketball National Championship (Mar. 7-13) by claiming the AAC’s second spot for the ... (click for more)

Bobcats Fall To Georgia Gwinnett In Season Finale

Down by just three points at halftime  on Friday  night, the Georgia Northwestern Bobcats pulled to within a single point of visiting Georgia Gwinnett College with eight minutes to play. However, the Grizzles would go on one final run to end the Bobcats' season with an 84-69 loss at the Rossville Athletic Center.   The first half would be tight as the two ... (click for more)

Signal Facing Decisions On Expanding Commercial Area Past Albert Road, Mountain Community Center And Water Service

The design review committee (DRC) of the town of Signal Mountain is in the process of establishing standards for commercial buildings. In the meantime, developer Bob Elliott would like to buy property at the corner of Taft Highway and Albert Road. Albert Road has traditionally been where the commercial property ends. A number of residents in the neighborhood around that area are ... (click for more)

Initiative Launches In Support Of Signal Mountain’s Water System; Tennessee-American Says It Has Long Provided Clean Water To Signal

A citizen committee is urging Signal Mountain "to be vocal and choose local" in the imminent water department sale. The local group formed “Be Vocal. Choose Local.” after the town of Signal Mountain voted last May to initiate a Request for Proposals for the acquisition of its water department.  The committee urges the town to sell its water system to Walden’s Ridge Utility ... (click for more)

Legislators: Protect Our Students And Teachers

When students step into their classrooms, they are there to learn and prepare for their future. Our teachers serve to advance each student’s education and guide them towards success.  Educators have an additional responsibility: maintaining the trust and respect of their students by conducting themselves professionally and responsibly. The vast majority of our ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Saturday Funnies

Every day, without exception, I find a number of “treats” in my daily dose of email. These funnies, and other pertinent information, are sent to me by a myriad of “Internet Buddies” who I repay by sending out some of the funniest that I collect. Think of it as sort of a “co-op” for my readers to enjoy. When The Saturday Funnies began last summer, it was what I still think is ... (click for more)