Randy Smith: Give Coach Pruitt A Chance

Monday, February 12, 2018 - by Randy Smith
Randy Smith
Randy Smith
There are a few so-called Tennessee football fans who have taken to social media to criticize new head football Jeremy Pruitt because the 2018 recruiting class was less than impressive. The Volunteers finished 20th in the country according to Rivals.com and they placed eighth in the SEC. Considering that Coach Pruitt only started working full time as the Vols head man in the second week of January, that's really pretty good. While the Vols signed no five star players in this year's class, they did manage to get nine four star players. A recent article in the Knoxville News Sentinel stated that since the Volunteers finished dead last in the SEC, to finish eighth in recruiting was a huge step in the right direction and I agree.


College recruiting has never been an exact science. Many of those so-called five star players never pan out. I would rather have a hungry three star or four star athlete who works his rear off to get better than a pampered, glorified five star player who thinks the world owes them a favor because recruiting services have deemed them can't miss prospects. A good example of that premise is three star linebacker Al Wilson from Jackson, TN who became one of the best players Tennessee has ever had. Perhaps there is an Al Wilson or two in Tennessee's 2018 recruiting class. 

Jeremy Pruitt will never be popular with a certain section of Volunteer fans. He is from Alabama, played there and coached there. That alone makes him the enemy. The man hasn't coached a single game or a practice yet and he already has detractors among the Big Orange faithful. I would imagine some of those same detractors are among those who screamed for Coach Phillip Fulmer's head back in 2009. You see how that move worked out. Nine less than mediocre seasons later and the Volunteers are dead last in the SEC. 14th out of 14 SEC teams in 2017. Winless in the SEC and record wise the worst team in Tennessee history. That's the program that Jeremy Pruitt inherited. 

Coach Pruitt said last week that Tennessee would be back on top in recruiting next year and I believe him. He is a relentless recruiter and has a good staff in place to help him. As badly as Coach Butch Jones allowed the program to sink, there are a few talented players in school who need to be developed properly and I also believe Coach Pruitt and his staff can handle that challenge as well. 

I believe the naysayers are definitely in the minority right now.  As we get closer to spring practice at Tennessee, I look for a new level of excitement around the Big Orange. Will Tennessee be a contender in the SEC East in 2018? No. Will they be good enough to get to a bowl game? That remains to be seen. But I do know this; The Volunteers will be better than last year. They will play harder and be stronger and more physical than they were a year ago. How that translates into wins is anybody's guess but I trust Coach Jeremy Pruitt to get it done at Tennessee, and that's what all Big Orange faithful need to do. 

* * *

Randy Smith can be reached at rsmithsports@epbfi.com


PREP SCHEDULES

FOOTBALL     FRIDAY, AUGUST 24 Baylor at Knoxville Catholic Boyd-Buchanan at South Pittsburg Walker Valley at Bradley Brainerd at Rhea Co. Central at Red Bank Chattanooga Christian at Howard Bearden at Cleveland Hayesville N.C. at Copper Basin East Hamilton at Soddy Daisy Polk Co. at East Ridge Sale ... (click for more)

Outdoor Chattanooga’s Interscholastic Climbing League Seeks Student Climbers And Coaches

The 2018-2019 school year is back in session and Outdoor Chattanooga will once again partner with High Point Climbing Downtown, Riverside and Tennessee Bouldering Authority to offer middle and high school students the opportunity to participate in the Chattanooga area Interscholastic Climbing League. The ICL provides a competitive climbing program for middle and high school ... (click for more)

Female Inmate Dies At Bradley County Jail Monday

A female inmate was found unresponsive at the Bradley County Jail on Monday afternoon. Correctional officers and on-site medical personnel performed life saving measures, but she was later declared dead after Bradley County EMS arrived.  The inmate was 54-year-old Fawn Zanette Brandham. Correctional officers contacted the 12th Judicial District Attorney's office, ... (click for more)

Federal Appeals Court Rules In Favor Of Family With Down Syndrome Child Who Sued County Schools

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled in favor of a couple with a Down syndrome child who sued the county schools. The parents of Luka Hyde objected when the county schools tried to move him from his zoned school to a segregated school. The ruling says under federal law that students with disabilities are supposed to be placed in the least restrictive ... (click for more)

Use Purse Building For Chattanooga Museum Of History And Industry

I was caught off-guard and pleasantly stoked by Eric Atkins' editorial on Chattanoogan.com last week suggesting that one of the soon-to-be surplused city buildings could be turned into a history museum.   I didn't think anyone other than myself that I didn't know cared, or at least would turn their thoughts into the topic of an editorial.  I believe that most of the ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: One Person Every Hour

After the first weekend in August, the United States was shaken to its core as every major media outlet reported that 67 people had been shot in Chicago, 12 of them dead in the senseless carnage. Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel pleaded for calm and announced an additional 600 police officers would join other law enforcement in the five most troubled districts. This past weekend, which ... (click for more)