KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee football coach Jeremy Pruitt is still playing catchup, working to establish the Vols’ program in his image while looking to find the sort of talent that will put the program back at the top.
Pruitt has been in scramble mode since being hired on Dec. 7, as he had fewer than two weeks to secure college football’s first-ever early signing period class.
Complicating matters, Pruitt was coaching the Alabama defense through the College Football Playoff, so athletic director Phillip Fulmer had to step in and exert his experience and help the new Tennessee staff get through December and early January.
Pruitt made it clear that the spring signing class also fell short of his expectations, and he was very blunt that the Vols football team didn’t practice up to par, either.
Now the Tennessee football program’s summer conditioning program is underway, and Pruitt has his hands full sorting through a team that failed to win an SEC game last season.
Former Alabama quarterback Greg McElroy, now an analyst with the SEC Network, said during the Orange and White Game broadcast that as many as 12 players could start who didn’t appear in the spring game.
It’s up to Pruitt and his staff to determine whose jobs are on the line when fall drills begin in August.
Recently, Jonathan Kongbo announced on Twitter he was changing positions. Kongbo has been ineffective on the defensive line the last two seasons, so the move to outside linebacker could be the junior college transfer’s last gasp to show he can play football well enough to be drafted into the NFL.
It’s one of many storylines to keep an eye on this fall, and one of many puzzles for Pruitt and his staff to solve.
WNML’s Josh Ward and Mike Griffith discuss the challenges ahead for Pruitt, who has continued to show his determination at each turn.
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