Tennessee football fall camp report: Pruitt has confidence in team, staff


KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee football head coach Jeremy Pruitt officially kicked off his second season at the helm of the Volunteers’ football program as UT opened fall camp on Thursday ahead of this fall’s first practice.

Pruitt expects his squad to be much improved when the players take Haslam Field on Friday afternoon in part because the Vols have one of the nation’s best coaching staffs.

Tennessee’s on-field coaching staff has been a part of 16 national championships and directly coached over 200 NFL Draft selections. The Vols added offensive coordinator Jim Chaney, defensive coordinator Derrick Ansley and assistant head coach Tee Martin, who led Tennessee to the 1998 national championship and will also coach wide receivers and serve as passing game coordinator.  

“A lot of people say ‘I’ve got the best coaching staff in the country,'” Pruitt said. “Most of the people that say it, haven’t been a part of the staffs that I’ve been a part of which have been some really good ones over the years. I truly believe with them on our staff and I told them this morning, when you talk about teaching, recruiting, relationships, character, all the intangibles that come with being a football coach, I truly believe that we do have the best staff in the country.”

Pruitt is impressed with the hard work the Vols have put in the offseason by changing their bodies with Director of Football Sports Performance Craig Fitzgerald as well as Director of Sports Nutrition Rachel Pfister. Tennessee has an experienced team with 18 returning starters, but also has an influx of talent ready to compete. That all mixes together to give Pruitt confidence heading into fall camp.

“I have confidence in our football team,” Pruitt said. “I have confidence in our coaches, the plan that we have, the way I’ve seen our guys work in the offseason to either change their bodies, eat what they’re supposed to and be in the classroom.”

Pruitt has never shied away from expectations as the head coach of the Vols, consistently recognizing the proud history of a program that has won six national championships and 16 conference titles.

He said to meet the expectations, the Vols will need to focus on fundamentals in fall camp and specifically brought up taking care of the football.

“When you talk about winning football games, the first thing that have to be able to do is not beat yourself,” Pruitt said. “General Neyland’s Maxims – ‘the team that makes us the fewest mistakes will win,’ right? So something that we really have to focus on is we have to be a smart football team. We have to know what to do and be able to do it, and be able to execute consistently and then be able to do it over and over again, which goes back to practice habits. That’s something that we really have to focus on in this fall camp.”

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