KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee finally has its football coach and it doesn’t have to share anymore.
Pruitt has split time with Alabama serving as the defensive coordinator the past few weeks. He helped deliver a National Championship to the Crimson Tide, and now fully turns his attention to the Vols.
Pruitt held a press conference in Knoxville for the first time since being introduced on Dec. 7.
Here is a roundup of news and notes from the news conference.
- Opening statement: I’m glad to finally be in Knoxville and get started. It’s been a whirlwind putting together a staff and recruiting. I’m excited about the guys we have hired. We signed 14 guys in the mid-year. Of the 14, 7 are here and one is waiting on paperwork. We are excited to get started. We had a couple of guys who decided to go pro. We thank them and wish them luck.
- On biggest challenge: First thing is learning everyone’s name in the building. Just trying to get familiar with everybody and getting to know the players. They don’t know me and I don’t know them. This was just the second day.
- On roster moves: Everyone that was on the roster at the end of the semester were at the team meeting last night.
- On Jauan Jennings: I know he reached out to coach Fulmer. And I’ve reached out to him.
- On taking a graduate transfer at quarterback: It would be hard to talk about any position on the team right now. I barely know everyone’s name, much less their abilities.
- On balancing Alabama job with Tennessee: When I had recruiting time, I worked for Tennessee. Or I was talking to the staff in place up here. I was at Alabama in 2015 and got to watch Kirby Smart go through this.
- On working with Phillip Fulmer: I knew anytime I had any questions, he was as good of a guy I could talk to and lean on.
- On recruiting as head coach: You only get to see them once a week as the head coach. I’ll miss seeing them once a week as a coordinator.
- On line of scrimmage: You’ve got to be able to control the line scrimmage. Defensively, you want to be able to stop the run with four guys and pass rush with four guys. It starts up front.
- On challenge here: Getting it going and creating the right culture. Having the kids to get to know us and it’s going to take some time.
- On turning page to Tennessee: If you aren’t recruiting 365 days a year someone else is. We are going to try and grind and outwork people.
- On outside linebacker: When we are recruiting linebackers they can play all four linebacker positions. It helps when it comes to depth.
- On Class of 2018: We are really excited about the 14 guys signed in the early signing period.