Via UT Media Relations
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee football head coach Jeremy Pruitt got a first look at his team in game-like situations as the Vols competed in their first scrimmage of the spring season on Saturday at Neyland Stadium.
Playing in cold, rainy conditions, the offensive and defensive units had a chance to battle through nearly 120 snaps. Pruitt was able to observe how well his players executed assignments and how much energy they played with inside the stadium despite the conditions.
“We didn’t have the best weather out there today,” Pruitt said. “It was nice and cool, but our field actually drains really well so that was a positive for us. We did get to go outside, we didn’t have to go inside. I think we snapped the ball – our 1’s and 2’s, I think it was somewhere between 110 and 120 snaps. We did get some good work, some good, quality work. The first time really going live.”
One particular aspect of being able to play outdoors was that it allowed for the team to practice special teams situations.
“Outside, you have an opportunity to do the kicking game, which was good,” Pruitt said. “We had a chance to do that live, so we can see where we’re at there.”
While Saturday served as a chance for the players to show what they can do in games physically, Pruitt did note after that the body language he saw throughout the scrimmage will be something to be improved upon going forward.
“I could’ve turned my head when the ball was being snapped and not watched the play, and then look back around, and I could’ve told you what happened without looking at the down and distance, all based off body language,” Pruitt said. “That’s not a good thing… One of the most important things in any sport is to be able to keep your poise. Keep your pose, play the next play. So, that’s one thing we need to improve on for sure.”
Pruitt noted the Vols need to tackle and finish better, but added that there were few turnovers in the scrimmage – a good thing for the offense, but problematic for the defense.
“One thing that just jumps out to me is we have to be a much better tackling team,” Pruitt said. “Guys need a little bit better form to finish…At the same time, not a lot of turnovers which is good for the offense, but didn’t get a lot for the defense. One thing we need to do is we need to be opportunistic. If we get a chance to finish on a ball then we have be able to finish, at the same time we have take care of it on offense.”