Jeremy Pruitt Holds First Spring Practice at Tennessee
(utsports.com) KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee Volunteers held their first football practice of the Jeremy Pruitt era on Tuesday at Haslam Field, marking the beginning of the spring season.
The Vols will practice 15 times over five weeks, culminating with the annual DISH Orange and White Game on April 21 at 2 p.m. inside Neyland Stadium.
Pruitt, a five-time national champion as an assistant, was named the 26th coach of the Vols on Dec. 7 and has led the Orange and White program for over three months.
Tuesday was the first time he actually got to coach a practice in his new role, however.
“I came here to coach, so that was the easy part for me,” Pruitt said.
The first-year head coach got his first glimpse of the Tennessee team in person, too.
“I think our guys did a nice job today, we’ll watch film and see what the first day looks like,” Pruitt said. “But I know this — and I told the kids this — you get 15 practices, today was our first day and we’re never going to get it back. I hope that everyone out on the field today took advantage of their opportunities.”
Becoming a team, competition and handling adversity will be some of the main points of emphasis for the team during spring practice.
“The first thing we talked about is that we want to become a team, we think that’s important for us,” Pruitt said. “We want to learn how to practice, we want to see how much knowledge we retain at each individual position and we want to see who the competitors are, we want to see who handles adversity.”
Several Positions Switches for First Seven Days
Pruitt said that several Vols will get a look at new positions for the first seven practices and then will be reevaluated, including Carlin Fils-Aime (running back to cornerback), Princeton Fant (tight end to running back), Ja’Quain Blakely (defensive line to tight end) and Tyler Byrd (wide receiver to defensive back).
Pace Picks Up
Pruitt will emphasize pace and reps during spring practice. Nobody will be standing around and everybody will receive opportunities. It’s the same practice plan he has used at his previous coaching stops.
“One thing that we want to do is we don’t want guys standing around. When we’re going to do group periods, we’re going to have three to four different types of drills going so nobody’s standing around,” he said. “Everybody is getting the same amount of reps. Whether you’re a freshman, whether a guy’s been an All-SEC player or a guy’s a walk-on, everybody gets the same amount of reps and we’re going to coach them all the same way.”