It often seems like Tennessee Vols head coach Jeremy Pruitt is purposefully vague when it comes to various position battles.
Aside from anointing Jarrett Guarantano as the Vols’ starting quarterback last summer, Pruitt typically doesn’t say much about who will or won’t start at a given position.
It may appear that Pruitt is keeping things close to the vest so he won’t tip off other programs to his plans. And maybe that’s the case in some instances, but not always.
When Pruitt is vague about position battles, it’s because there’s a legitimate battle every single week at every position.
Former UT linebacker Daniel Bituli, who played at Tennessee from 2016-2019, recently spoke to The Athletic’s David Ubben about his time with the Vols. And he touched on the intensity of position battles under Pruitt.
“Things may seem guaranteed, like, ‘Oh, this guy has this spot,’ but if you don’t go to practice and work your butt off, that No. 1 spot can be gone in a matter of seconds”, said Bituli.
The Congo native added “Coach Pruitt doesn’t care who you are, what your history was. If you want to play, you better play during practice. You never really know.”
Pruitt’s vagueness when it comes to position battles is mostly because those battles are changing on a daily, if not hourly, basis.
This goes hand-in-hand with something else Bituli said during his interview with Ubben.
“If you don’t love football, don’t go to Tennessee. Because those are the type of guys they want there. They want passionate guys who aren’t just there for the popularity, Instagram followers, all of those things”, explained Bituli.
It’s obvious that developing football players is at the top of Pruitt’s list of priorities. And those are the types of players he’s recruiting to Tennessee. That’s likely why we saw numerous transfers after Pruitt took over — not everyone is ready to play for a coach that approaches football the way Pruitt does.
That kind of approach is eventually going to lead to championships for the Vols, which is a sentiment that Bituli agrees with.
“I’m 100 percent in on Coach Pruitt and his philosophy and how he goes about his day.”
It’s hard to disagree with Bituli. So far, Pruitt has displayed all the signs of being a great head coach.
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