NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Jeremy Pruitt is fine with fans having expectations for his Tennessee football team, so long as they don’t try to put numbers on them.
BetOnline.ag recently released the Vols’ over/under win total for the 2018 season at 6.5, sparking preseason victory total talk among Tennessee fans and on Volunteer State airwaves.
But Pruitt and athletic director Phillip Fulmer had no interest in trying to forecast a win total on Thursday night at Nissan Stadium during the Vols’ Big Orange Caravan stop.
“The big thing to me is everybody wants to ask about a number,” Pruitt said. “To me the thing is, when you watch a team play, do you say, ‘Hey, when the game is over with, that’s my team. I like the way they play, I like their enthusiasm, their toughness, their competitive spirit, they play together as a team. They never quit.’
“That’s kind of what I’m looking for — playing the right way.”
But Fulmer, who throughout his coaching tenure from 1992 to 2008 dealt with his fair share of expectations, said the most-asked question from fans is about the win total.
“[They ask] what should we expect as far as a number — which is impossible to answer,” Fulmer said. “You guys know that, too. The fans may not, but they want to know what football is going to do.”
The Vols went 4-8 last season after back-to-back 9-win, Top 25 seasons under the previous staff.
Pruitt said he understands that fans will have expectations, and he indicated he’s OK with that as long as they’re the right kind of expectations.
“Absolutely,” Pruitt said. “I”m sure everybody out there right now across the country, everybody’s expectation is to do their best.”
Fulmer said his expectation is “that we’re gonna be better, whatever that means.”
The Vols athletic director said earlier this spring it would take a couple of years before Tennessee had the sort of talent that Alabama and Georgia possess.
“We certainly have a little ways to go to be at the top of this conference from a physical standpoint,” Fulmer said Thursday. “But they still keep score in the games, and we have an opportunity every Saturday to put our best out there.
“If we consistently do that with discipline and toughness, we can improve on where we’ve been in recent history. Everybody needs to understand it’s going to take a little while to be back where we want to be, and that’s at the top of the conference.”
Big Orange Caravan headlines
- Jeremy Pruitt not backing down to Nick Saban on transfer issue
- Tennessee football coach Jeremy Pruitt expressing confidence in secondary
- Vols basketball coach Rick Barnes addressing missed NCAA tourney opportunity
- Tennessee AD Phillip Fulmer brushes off Alabama, Georgia comparisons
- Vague answers from Jeremy Pruitt fuel speculation on transfers, starters
- Tennessee football coach Jeremy Pruitt reveals what he misses about recruiting
- Phillip Fulmer not allowing administrative turmoil to disrupt Tennessee athletics
- Jeremy Pruitt learning that he and Phillip Fulmer ‘see a lot of things the same way’
- Tennessee AD Phillip Fulmer leads football coach Jeremy Pruitt on caravan stop
Jeremy Pruitt was asked about fans’ expectations at the Big Orange Caravan stop in Nashville: “Everybody wants to ask about a number …to me the thing is, when you watch a team play do you say hey, when the game is over with, that’s my team?” pic.twitter.com/UZ78rGwPzo
— Marshall Hughes (@marshallhughes) May 18, 2018