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

PREP SCHEDULES

Baylor Sweeps Matches With Father Ryan, MBA

Cleveland State Cougars Outlast Roane State, 67-65


PREP BASKETBALL MONDAY, JANUARY 21 Sale Creek at Marion Co. TUESDAY, JANUARY 22 Baylor at MBA Walker Valley at Ooltewah Soddy Daisy at Cleveland Rhea Co. at Sale Creek ... (click for more)

McCallie hosted four dual meet wrestling matches Saturday afternoon involving Baylor and two Division II teams from Nashville, including Father Ryan and Montgomery Bell Academy. Top-ranked ... (click for more)

Cleveland State's men's basketball team hosted Roane State Community College Saturday evening, winning by a score of 67-65. Leading the Cougars was Delaino Walker who tallied a double-double, ... (click for more)


Sports

PREP SCHEDULES

PREP BASKETBALL MONDAY, JANUARY 21 Sale Creek at Marion Co. TUESDAY, JANUARY 22 Baylor at MBA Walker Valley at Ooltewah Soddy Daisy at Cleveland Rhea Co. at Sale Creek Tyner at Red Bank South Pittsburg at Lookout Valley McCallie at Ensworth Hixson at Central East Ridge at Sequatchie Co. East Hamilton at Bradley Notre Dame at CSAS Chattanooga ... (click for more)

Baylor Sweeps Matches With Father Ryan, MBA

McCallie hosted four dual meet wrestling matches Saturday afternoon involving Baylor and two Division II teams from Nashville, including Father Ryan and Montgomery Bell Academy. Top-ranked and unbeaten Baylor stayed that way as they topped Father Ryan by a 42-36 final in the opener while rolling past MBA by a 60-12 margin. A moment of silence was observed before the first ... (click for more)

Breaking News

2nd Man Charged In October 2018 Murder Of Jacob Dakota Moore Of Apison

A second arrest has been made in the October 2018 murder of Jacob Dakota Moore of Apison. Authorities earlier charged Askia Witherow in the slaying. On Thursday, warrants were issued for James David Robinson, 42, charging him with one count of first-degree murder, one count of especially aggravated kidnapping, four counts of especially aggravated robbery, four counts ... (click for more)

Linda Damewood Killed, Another Critical, Third Injured In Shooting At Crossville

One person was killed, another critically injured and a third hurt in a shooting at Crossville on Saturday. Linda Damewood, 74, of Crossville, was dead at the scene. The Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office, Tansi Security, and Tennessee Highway Patrol units responded to 8610 Cherokee Trail at approximately 6:38 p.m. to a reported shooting. Cumberland County Sheriff’s ... (click for more)

Opinion

Senator Alexander: A Reasonable Proposal To End The Government Shutdown

A government shutdown is always the wrong idea. It is the wrong idea under President Trump, just as it was the wrong idea under President Obama. Members of Congress should first remember that when a president who has been duly elected by the people of the United States -- whatever you may think of him or her -- has a legitimate objective, it is our responsibility to do everything ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Swimming With Jim Morgan

I’ve never talked much about this – it is too close to bragging – but in my teenaged years I was a good swimmer. I loved being in the water and maybe the greatest compliment back in the day was when new UT swimming coach Ray Bussard offered me a ‘full ride’ with the Vols. Are you kidding me … by then I was into tobacco, alcohol, convertibles, and girls in angora sweaters - there ... (click for more)