If it’s a done deal and Tennessee gets Alabama defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt as its new head coach, it’ll have gotten the job done.
Tennessee, your long national nightmare is over.
It was as if Tennessee struck out four times on 12 ugly swings, and then stepped out of the box, took a deep breath, adjusted itself, relaxed, and hit a walk-off home run.
Tennessee reportedly getting Jeremy Pruitt was a strong, strong, sensible hire after all of the drama and embarrassment of the previous ten days.
Greg Schiano actually would’ve been good at the job of being the Tennessee head football coach, but obviously, that wasn’t going to happen.
Mike Gundy would’ve been great. Dave Doeren would’ve been a call. Mike Leach would’ve been Mike Leach.
But in Pruitt, Tennessee is taking a chance on greatness. This might be his first time around the head coaching block, but this is also getting him now, and not taking a chance on missing out if he goes to stepping-stone stop first.
The former Alabama defensive back has been as a part of some of the biggest teams of the last few years, rising up as part of the Alabama staff before taking the Florida State defensive coordinator job in the 2013 national championship season. He left to be Georgia’s defensive coordinator before going back to Bama as the defensive coordinator – the equivalent of being Dave Grohl’s drummer – over the last two years.
Pruitt was one of the keys to the Alabama recruiting classes over the last few seasons, and he was able to be more than just a Nick Saban minion – he was able to help make the defense his, too.
And now he appears to be ready.
He’ll turn 44 when the season starts, and if this works, he’ll grow into the job over the next few years as he builds up the talent level and stabilizes the program.
Recruiting hasn’t been a huge issue for Tennessee, but it hasn’t been bringing in the highest of the high level guys on a consistent basis. Pruitt should be able to battle now with Saban, and Smart, and the rest of the league for the superstars.
He’s not a sure-thing, and it’s not going to happen right away. You don’t just go from the season the Vols had to the College Football Playoff overnight, but this is the back-on-the-right-track hire.
This also might be the we-got-Alabama’s-future-head-coach-before-Bama-did-at-some-point-in-the-next-few-years hire.