KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Jeremy Pruitt is starting to wrap his brain around what he has to work with at Tennessee, and he sees signs of hope.
Pruitt assessed the Vols after having a chance to watch them during the offseason conditioning program, which ended Friday.
“We’re in better shape that I think some people think,” Pruitt said Thursday night, feeling optimistic about his new staff and the players returning. “Most of our guys are out there full throttle now.”
Tennessee has led the nation in starts missed due to injuries in each of the last two seasons.
Pruitt updated where the Vols stood with key players out, along with some key position news.
Here are 5 things from Pruitt’s offseason analysis:
1. Trey Smith out indefinitely
Pruitt said star tackle Trey Smith is seeking more information pertaining to the medical condition that has sidelined him.
Smith worked out with the team on Thursday. The non-orthopedic injury is not heart-related, Pruitt indicated, without going into more detail.
2. Jauan Jennings knee surgery
Jauan Jennings has underdone arthroscopic knee surgery, but he has yet to be officially reinstated to the team.
Pruitt said Jennings remains on pace to return, in terms of fulfilling the provisions Pruitt has put before him.
3. Vols sign Stanford grad-transfer QB
Pruitt said he didn’t promise Stanford graduate transfer Keller Chryst a starting job, only an opportunity.
Apparently that was enough for Chryst, a 6-foot-5, 231-pound pro-style quarterback who is 11-2 as a starter.
4. No plans for Jarrett Guarantano transfer
Pruitt said his meeting with Jarrett Guarantano was positive, and he says the redshirt sophomore is “tough as nails.”
There was some speculation that Guarantano might transfer to Rutgers after the Vols announced there would be more competition at quarterback.
5. Position changes
Pruitt has said from the start he wants to maximize the talent on the roster.
Thursday night, Pruitt told the Tennessee football beat reporters about a few position changes that will take place at the start of spring.