The Tennessee fans who stayed up to watch the end of the Alabama-Clemson game Monday night had to come away encouraged for the Vols’ future.
Tennessee coach Jeremy Pruitt returned to fulfill his role as the defensive coordinator for the Crimson Tide in the College Football Playoff semifinals. Alabama’s performance in the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans was nothing short of dominant. Clemson scored only 6 points after being held to under 30 only four times during the season.
This was really just par for the course for Alabama’s defense, though. The Crimson Tide have one of the best defense’s in the country every year, and this was no exception.
Alabama's defensive rankings nationally:
Total defense: No. 1
Scoring defense: No. 1
Rushing defense: No. 1
Passing defense: No. 3
— Josh Ward (@Josh_Ward) January 2, 2018
The games are times when Alabama can show off how dominant it is. The preparation begins long before the games are played, though. Pruitt not only operates at a high level in games, but he pushes the players to be better at every practice.
Alabama defensive lineman Da’Ron Payne told SEC Country that Pruitt is a great day-to-day coach.
“He’s a really good leader,” Payne said. “He knows what to tell us before practice, and he keeps us focused. Not worrying about the little things. I really like him as a person.
“He just makes sure we are fired up for practice. Just ready to go every day.”
This is also encouraging for Vol fans who have grown frustrated with player development the past few years. Pruitt could help remedy that and usher in a new era of great Vols defenses.