Webster Dictionary defines “transition” as, “the passage from one state, stage, subject, or place to another”
A decade full of instability, transition, and letdown feels more like a century of torture that every Tennessee fan has become accustomed to. We’ve seen a Lane who quit after one season, a Dooley who saw the Germans coming, and an energy vampire who is getting plenty of leadership reps as an Alabama intern.
The 2018 season will yet again lead fans in to another transitional period as Jeremy Pruitt becomes Tennessee’s 4th head coach since the end of the Fulmer era in 2008. The majority of conversations on The Hill revolve around how another change will affect the way the fan base approaches the season, but the real question is, how will the players respond to a style of coaching that is vastly different from the previous staff?
@WalkVol from Twitter explains,
“A senior may have a more difficult time with a new staff. Seniors have learned a certain way to practice, train and study plays for 3-4 years. Now they may have to forget all that and learn a new system and way to do everything. Frustration could become a huge factor in their development. Underclassmen may have an easier time with adjusting, since it’s still all kind of new to them.”
The Vols will have close to 20 juniors & seniors who will start or rotate throughout a game this upcoming season which means two things:
- Those juniors & seniors will struggle early while learning a new system.
- Jeremy Pruitt will figure out how play them to their strengths until they grasp the new system.
During this transitional period fans should expect Pruitt to make some rookie mistakes much like Kirby Smart did in his first-season as Georgia’s head coach, but the contrast between Pruitt and Smart is the difference in talent when arriving at their universities.
Pruitt’s challenge will be the level of talent at Tennessee compared to his past teams which had National Championship caliber coaches and players. Don’t get me wrong, Tennessee has had some teams over the last decade that had National Championship talent, but lacked a coach who could actually coach and develop kids into NFL talent. Volunteer fans should breathe a sigh of relief knowing the Vols have a coach who’s known for his X’s & O’s style of coaching. He’s thrown all the gimmicks to the side and has proven that he’s a football coach and not a catch phrase using, lining up in the shotgun from the one-inch yard line kind of guy. He’s a smash mouth running the ball down your throat coach that the Vols desperately needed.
If Tennessee fans can overcome the player and coaching transitions during Pruitt’s first season– then I think they will be pleased with what will be taking place over the next couple of years on Rocky Top.