Via UT Media Relations
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Jobs are wide open and position battles continue as the Tennessee football team began its second week of spring practice on Tuesday at Haslam Field.
UT head coach Jeremy Pruitt told media following the Vols’ second practice in pads, and fourth overall, that everything a player does on the field is being evaluated.
The new staff has given each Vol an opportunity for a fresh start. Some players are even experimenting at new positions for the first half of the spring session.
Everybody has an opportunity to play – they just have to prove it on the field.
“Every day we evaluate all four groups,” Pruitt said. “We don’t have any starters. We don’t have any second or third team guys. We have a rep chart. Everything is being evaluated.”
Pruitt said the team will scrimmage twice before the DISH Orange and White Game on April 21 (2 p.m., SEC Network) – giving the Vols three chances to replicate what a game will be like this fall.
It’s clear, he wants to test his young team.
“(The coaches) are not there to encourage you,” Pruitt said about scrimmages. “They’re not there to correct you. You’re playing just your 11 guys on one side of the ball, so that in itself is new. You definitely have to do that. It’s kind of like a test. You go to class for a certain period of time, you get the information and then they test you on it to see what kind of knowledge you’ve retained. That’s what a scrimmage is.
“To me, when you have the Orange and White game, you add the element when you create a game-like atmosphere. There’s a little more excitement, a little more anxiety, a little more pressure, butterflies. Some guys perform better in those situations, some guys perform worse.
“We need to find out who those guys are.”
Offense “Kicks Defense’s Tail”
Pruitt said he was ‘ticked off’ walking off the field, but didn’t know if he was mad at the whole team or just the defense because “the offense kicked the defense’s tail.”
A defensive coordinator the last five years at Alabama, Georgia and Florida State, Pruitt is used to only coaching the defense and adjusting to managing the entire squad.
Still he knows effort when he sees it and the Vols’ coach wants more out of his team.
“One thing I did notice today was that we had a lot of guys that had two days off and did not respond the right way,” Pruitt said. “We have to fix that….I wish we had 30 of them (spring practice) so we could, but we only get 15. I’m not sure everyone took advantage of their opportunities today. We will watch the tape and see if that’s right or not.”