College football head coaches have to be confident to be successful.
But there’s a fine line between confidence and arrogance.
Arrogance can get a coach in trouble….quickly.
Coaches who are arrogant tend to think they’re the smartest person in the room. And they’re usually resistant to new ideas or fresh approaches.
Former Tennessee Vols head coach Jeremy Pruitt fell into this category. Pruitt was often combative with reporters — challenging their football IQ on a near-weekly basis by questioning how much they knew about the game.
Little quips like “not sure if you know how ___ works” became common refrains from Pruitt during press conferences.
The sass level was high at tonight’s postgame presser.
Jeremy Pruitt to reporter:
I don’t know how much you know about football but…
the corner has to get to the sticks, which is the first down marker in case you didn’t know that..
— Tim Owens (@TimOwensTV) December 6, 2020
Unsurprisingly, Pruitt’s arrogant approach didn’t work. He went 16-19 in three years as Tennessee’s head coach, including a disastrous loss to Georgia State in 2019 and a home blowout loss to Kentucky in 2020.
New Vols head coach Josh Heupel has a confident approach without the arrogance. Heupel is comfortable in his own skin. And he’s confident in his scheme. That confidence oozes from Heupel without coming across as arrogant.
Just check out this clip from Heupel’s media session with reporters on Monday.
Josh Heupel oozes confidence pic.twitter.com/7Cysp8LoNc
— zach ragan (@zachTNT) November 15, 2021
The last part of that clip where Heupel says “We’re in a race to get there as fast as we possibly can, but we will” is what really sticks out to me.
Heupel says ” but we will” with a confidence that is convincing. It’s almost impossible to doubt Heupel when he says the Vols will “get there”.
Maybe I’m giving Heupel too much credit. Maybe I’ll look back on these words in a few years and shake my head. No one knows.
For now, though, I like what I’m seeing and hearing from Heupel. He’s dialing up the right plays, saying the right things, and building the program the right way.
I think Tennessee fans should be thrilled with Heupel based on what we’ve seen so far this season.
Featured image via Brianna Paciorka/News Sentinel / USA TODAY NETWORK