How Tennessee beat Alabama for Henry To'oto'o

#1
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Jul 16, 2018
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#1
I went out to the Bay Area earlier this month to spend some time with Henry To'oto'o, his family and other people who know him well for a story on how the Vols landed him and who Tennessee is getting in the California native. Wanted to pass the story along. I think you all would enjoy it.

Here's the full story, and a sample.

For the next three hours, the four of them sat in the dark. Pruitt showed the To’oto’os film from Alabama, explaining how his defense worked and how he could use Henry within it. At Tennessee, To’oto’o would mostly play weak-side inside linebacker, with a chance to play some Mike linebacker. Pruitt needled To’oto’o with questions along the way, feeling out the five-star linebacker’s football IQ. Eventually, Tennessee’s staff told To’oto’o he’d have a chance to start as a true freshman.

Pruitt’s eyebrows were raised when To’oto’o picked up concepts as quickly as Pruitt could teach them. He moved on to some film cutups of Tennessee’s spring practice, explaining the differences between what the Tide could run with their personnel versus the brand of 3-4 defense Tennessee would be playing.

To’oto’o and his father had never met Pruitt before that weekend. Pruitt saw a player he could teach concepts to and explain how he could fit. So he did exactly that.

“This guy is wired up like a scientist,” Iese To’oto’o said.

Pruitt also took aim at Henry To’oto’o’s own tape. He offered a frank assessment: To’oto’o’s aggressiveness and ability jumped off the screen. But, often, he’d read an opposing offense and pause. He’d overthink instead of reacting. He had to improve there, along with a few minor technique tweaks Pruitt pointed out.

“He already had started teaching my son,” Iese To’oto’o said. “And we haven’t even talked about commitment.”

It made Henry feel like he impressed Pruitt. At the same time, it gave him a glimpse of how much more he had to learn and how eager Pruitt was to teach him.

The Vols had camp at 7 the next morning. When the clock struck midnight, Simon alerted his head coach.

“(Pruitt) was like, ‘Well, man, I could keep going,’” Iese To’oto’o said.

One thing was clear as the To’oto’os returned to their hotel. Iese turned to his son and laughed.

“Man, that was crazy,” he said. “You’d fit in well here.”

For the first time, Tennessee had a real chance to be Henry To’oto’o’s new home.
 
#4

tbh

Heh...you said Member
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#4
It certainly speaks a bit about Pruitt, but also To'oto'o...it would be great to have more 'cruits who are students of the game, so to speak. (By that, I mean kids who are genuinely interested in studying their tape and opponents' tape to prepare for games...mental talent has the ability to take the physical talent up several notches in terms of overall performance)
 
#7

savannahfan

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#7
It certainly speaks a bit about Pruitt, but also To'oto'o...it would be great to have more 'cruits who are students of the game, so to speak. (By that, I mean kids who are genuinely interested in studying their tape and opponents' tape to prepare for games...mental talent has the ability to take the physical talent up several notches in terms of overall performance)
Along the lines of what you are saying...... Don't you think while studying tape in depth of your opponents (as it appears many of our guys don't do or if they do don't learn) you might pick up on the things the opponents do (techniques) that you could prepare for and in so doing avoid being injured by bad anticipation as to what was coming. Looking at slo-mo of some of our injuries during games over the last few years, (what few they will show, gotta be politically correct) it looks to me like, if our guy had a clue what was coming he might have been in a better position to deal with it.
 
#9

djones24

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Jun 3, 2010
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#9
I went out to the Bay Area earlier this month to spend some time with Henry To'oto'o, his family and other people who know him well for a story on how the Vols landed him and who Tennessee is getting in the California native. Wanted to pass the story along. I think you all would enjoy it.

Here's the full story, and a sample.

For the next three hours, the four of them sat in the dark. Pruitt showed the To’oto’os film from Alabama, explaining how his defense worked and how he could use Henry within it. At Tennessee, To’oto’o would mostly play weak-side inside linebacker, with a chance to play some Mike linebacker. Pruitt needled To’oto’o with questions along the way, feeling out the five-star linebacker’s football IQ. Eventually, Tennessee’s staff told To’oto’o he’d have a chance to start as a true freshman.

Pruitt’s eyebrows were raised when To’oto’o picked up concepts as quickly as Pruitt could teach them. He moved on to some film cutups of Tennessee’s spring practice, explaining the differences between what the Tide could run with their personnel versus the brand of 3-4 defense Tennessee would be playing.

To’oto’o and his father had never met Pruitt before that weekend. Pruitt saw a player he could teach concepts to and explain how he could fit. So he did exactly that.

“This guy is wired up like a scientist,” Iese To’oto’o said.

Pruitt also took aim at Henry To’oto’o’s own tape. He offered a frank assessment: To’oto’o’s aggressiveness and ability jumped off the screen. But, often, he’d read an opposing offense and pause. He’d overthink instead of reacting. He had to improve there, along with a few minor technique tweaks Pruitt pointed out.

“He already had started teaching my son,” Iese To’oto’o said. “And we haven’t even talked about commitment.”

It made Henry feel like he impressed Pruitt. At the same time, it gave him a glimpse of how much more he had to learn and how eager Pruitt was to teach him.

The Vols had camp at 7 the next morning. When the clock struck midnight, Simon alerted his head coach.

“(Pruitt) was like, ‘Well, man, I could keep going,’” Iese To’oto’o said.

One thing was clear as the To’oto’os returned to their hotel. Iese turned to his son and laughed.

“Man, that was crazy,” he said. “You’d fit in well here.”

For the first time, Tennessee had a real chance to be Henry To’oto’o’s new home.
 
#17

tbh

Heh...you said Member
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#17
Along the lines of what you are saying...... Don't you think while studying tape in depth of your opponents (as it appears many of our guys don't do or if they do don't learn) you might pick up on the things the opponents do (techniques) that you could prepare for and in so doing avoid being injured by bad anticipation as to what was coming. Looking at slo-mo of some of our injuries during games over the last few years, (what few they will show, gotta be politically correct) it looks to me like, if our guy had a clue what was coming he might have been in a better position to deal with it.
No doubt! If a particular opposing player is seen on tape throwing certain types of blocks, etc...planning around that could be helpful with keeping our guys healthy.
 
#23

PEPPERJAX

Let's Do A Ritual....
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#23
Henry's highlights are impressive. He is the type of recruit Fulmer use to land when we had it rolling in the 90s and early 2000s. A couple of classes filled with guys like Henry, McCullough, Crouch etc will have us back to where we are supposed to be.
 

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