Jeremy Pruitt had a very strong introductory press conference.
“You didn’t draft me… I chose to be here.”
It didn’t take long for Tennessee fans to heap praise toward Tennessee’s 26th head coach, Jeremy Pruitt, after hearing that phrase on Thursday.
The former Alabama defensive coordinator said all the right things at his introductory press conference. He praised the Tennessee tradition, didn’t feel the need to address its turbulent past few seasons, and is hellbent on establishing a winning culture similar to those of the programs he’s coached at before.
Pruitt is looking for “good people and teachers” in his staff. He’s going to teach his players how to attend class, introduce themselves to their professors, where to sit in class, and how to take notes.
— AtoZSports Nashville (@AtoZSports) December 7, 2017
Pruitt is already in the midst of establishing a solid coaching staff. During his press conference, news broke that Pruitt had found his defensive coordinator:
SOURCE: #UGA OLB coach Kevin Sherrer is expected to be the #Vols new DC under Jeremy Pruitt. In addition, Tracy Rocker and Chris Rumph are expected to join that D-staff. Lots of good experience there, especially in the SEC.
— Bruce Feldman (@BruceFeldmanCFB) December 7, 2017
What appears to attract Pruitt to Vol Nation is his no-nonsense attitude and tireless work ethic. He’s already spoken with the team, and despite his continued commitment to Alabama until the end of its College Football Playoff run, Pruitt is clearly fully invested in the University of Tennessee.
His mission is to dominate the state in recruiting (which he is already working on) and then branch out to surrounding states, including areas he’s not familiar with. As a result of his efforts, Pruitt wants to field a team that is a “big, fast, dominating, aggressive, relentless football team that nobody wants to play.”
Throw in the fact that he’s lived in the south for the vast majority of his life, Pruitt appears to be the perfect fit for Knoxville as a city and Tennessee as a university.
However, none of what Pruitt said on Thursday will matter if the Vols don’t win. When Chancellor Beverly Davenport first met Pruitt, she said that he immediately told her that he wanted to win championships on Rocky Top.
To that, Davenport responded, “Make no bones about it, we expect you to.”
Pruitt has gathered knowledge from some of college football’s greatest minds — Nick Saban, Jimbo Fisher, and Mark Richt. He’s been a part of four championship-winning teams. He’s revered by every coach, player, and person he’s come in contact with.
But can he build this program — fresh off its worst season ever — back to prominence?
“Can we get there (back to winning),” Pruitt closed. “I wouldn’t be here if I thought we couldn’t get there.”