Good Day, My Friends,
It is time to get fired up for the start of “FOOTBALL TIME IN TENNESSEE!!!”.
This is a funny year for me. In the past decade we have had several new coaches and their starts have been to mixed reviews. There has been a great deal of uncertainty with each of those starts. There has been great optimism with Kiffin, questions with Dooley, and hope with Butch. Where are we now with Jeremy Pruitt? I think a bit of all three for several reasons.
I have good expectations for this team, and I expect some surprises as the season gores forward. This team may lose a game they are favored to win, but I doubt it. I think that this team will win a game or more that they are not favored to win.
My reasons for the Vols to pass projected expectations for wins this season:
1) I think that Jeremy is a “Football Coach”. He will bring out the best in the players, he will beat teams with execution not tricks of foolery. He has won at all levels as a player and coach. How many coaches have played for, won, and coached under Hall of Fame Coaches at every level of play? 5 National Title Rings… He is not a B.S. Artist. He works, his coaches work, and his players will work (or they will ride the bench).
2) I think this is a proven staff at every position. They have won and excelled on great teams. There are 5 coaches with National Championship Rings. Several with multiple rings. They share a common mindset about what it takes to win in the SEC.
3) The team is healthy and there is depth at every position. There are several players with experience in the SEC as starters and as Subs. THEY ARE UNPROVEN! Looking at the kids on campus, as recruits they were regarded as Quality Gets. There were two factors that stand out to me about the reasons these kids were not more successful under Butch. First, poor coaching as a team and as individual position players. POOR DEVELOPMENT and wasted Redshirts. Second, poor conditioning. S&C was progressively worse every year under Butch. I do not think that anyone believes that the number of injuries last was not related to the failure of the S&C Program to prepare the kids to play this past year. Basically, we have talent on the Hill that needs to be realized…. quickly. One-point, look at the number of 2nd, 3rd, and 4th year players and their Redshirts.
4) Timing. When Jeremy came in he was able to get key staff in place rapidly. He and Phil worked together to get the wheels on the Vol Train and get it on track. That was important to address needs in recruiting and to keep current players on board. The staff was able to get a few needed kids as early enrollees. They were also able to get Graduate transfers at Need Positions where talent and depth were needed. This was especially important with the S&C Program. Players were brought on board quickly that were needed to not only provide depth but also, they provided COMPETITION for playing time. This was especially true on the offense. The Grad Transfers and JUCO’s came from quality programs in good conferences.
5) Player Goals. Last year was a real shock to a lot of the kids on the team. They lost badly in many ways, found ways to lose games to poor teams. I think this year they have been and will be more focused on the preparation that is needed before the games. The games will be more fun than the practices. The last couple of years and combination of poor position coaches and poor S&C slapped these kids hard in their losses.
Time to go for now. GO VOLS!!