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How do you spin a 2-4 record in year three? After showing signs of life to close the 2019 season, Jeremy Pruitt’s Tennessee program has now clearly regressed, plagued with putrid offense and a never-ending quarterback issue.
He’s been given every resource to succeed, including the green light to hire offensive coordinator Jim Chaney at a $1.5 million price tag. Now after four straight losses and a daunting schedule ahead, Pruitt is now tasked with keeping the fanbase on his side as he tries to improve the product on the field.
On Monday, fresh off of blowing a 13-0 lead to Arkansas, Pruitt delivered his message to the fanbase.
“I’m just as restless as (the fans) are,” Pruitt said during his Monday press conference. “I think everybody is in this together. We all want the same things. We’ve got to find a way to get it going and play the right way and finish the right way, and that’s on me as a coach to get it going. We’re going to work hard to do that.”
This was supposed to be the season where Tennessee fans found out if they were ready to hang with the likes of Alabama, Georgia and Florida. Instead, it feels like we’ve fallen back to square one.
No progress has been made offensively, despite having loads of talent on the offensive line. The quarterback position has been a complete disaster for three seasons. The defense has taken a clear step backwards from the 2019 season.
Pruitt has a tough job selling this fanbase on the future right now. After the last decade, Tennessee fans are in an all too familiar place. Showing us something against Texas A&M, Auburn or Florida will be incredibly difficult. That could result in a 3-7 season, assuming they can beat Vanderbilt at the end of this month.
It’ll be fascinating to see how all of this plays out, especially with a potentially tighter budget due to the pandemic.