KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Jeremy Pruitt will get his comprehensive look at the Tennessee football program on the field when spring drills begin Tuesday, but the Vols new coach has done his homework.
Pruitt disclosed Sunday night that he has evaluated each individual Tennessee football player, judging the players in several facets to gauge their potential.
“I had the guys make a cut up of every individual player,” Pruitt said on WNML radio show The Nation. “I wanted to see what I felt like their ability was, I didn’t look as much at the production, because I didn’t know the scheme, and I didn’t know the calls, but I wanted see the talent.”
Tennessee football is coming off a 4-8 football season and returns seven starters on offense and seven starters on defense.
That said, Pruitt made it clear there aren’t any starters in his mind entering the 15 spring football sessions leading up to the annual Orange and White Game on April 21.
“I think it’s the same with every position; we have multiple drills going on at one time. We’ll be two-spotting, so everybody in the organization will get the same amount of reps,” Pruitt said. “The people that are healthy need to take advantage of the reps they get. The people that are here need to take advantage of the 15 days they’ll get.”
That’s especially true at quarterback, where returning sophomore quarterbacks Jarrett Guarantano and Will McBride look to get a jump.
Tennessee will add Stanford graduate transfer QB Keller Chryst to the competition in June along with incoming freshman JT Shrout.
“Everybody will get the same amount of reps, and after practice we’ll evaluate each play on each field, and each rep,” Pruitt said, “and we’ll see who can do what we want them to do most consistently.”
Pruitt already has an idea of what he thinks players are capable of doing by the close examination he and his staff did of the individual cut-ups.
“If it’s an offensive lineman, how can he slide his feet, can he bend, can he come out of his hips, does he take good angles, does he have the ability to recover,” Pruitt said. “A wide receiver, what’s his play speed, does he extend to catch the football, how does he come out of breaks, what’s his ability with the ball in his hands, how does he compete when he doesn’t get the ball on run downs.
“These were things you would do in the evaluation of a high school player to get an indication of what kind of competitor they are or what their upside could be.”
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