FreakNotes: Pruitt hits the ground running, up late offering prospects

I’m all in on Jeremy Pruitt. When this coaching search began, he wasn’t my first choice. He wasn’t my second or even my third choice. But he checks almost all of the boxes, and because he took the job, we know he wants to be here.

If you hate the hire, blame Haslam, Currie, Davenport or Fulmer. But for now, as orange-blooded Tennessee fans, let’s give this coach, this staff, and the players, our full undivided support.

Almost as important as the hire itself, if not more so, is Pruitt’s staff. Will he be able to assemble a high quality group of experienced and capable coaches? So far, the answer looks to be yes.

Here’s what the potential staff looks like so far:

OC: Tyson Helton (USC QB Coach/Pass Game Coordinator) Link1
DC: Kevin Sherrer (Georgia OLB Coach) Link1
RB: Robert Gillespie (current Tennessee RB coach) Link1
OL: Will Friend (Colorado State OC/OL Coach) Link1
DL: Chris Rumph (Florida DL Coach) Link1
DL: Tracy Rocker (Former Georgia/Auburn DL Coach) Link1
DB: Terry Fair (Colorado State DB Coach) Link1
Brian Niedermeyer Alabama assistant director of player personnel Link1

Other Notes from Thursday

  • According to Pruitt’s MOU, he’ll be paid $3.8 million per year for six years. There are also several incentives which could increase his annual package up as much as $1.2 million per year. His buyout, if he were to leave Tennessee, starts at $6 million and decreases by $1 million per year. If he’s fired without cause, Tennessee would owe him 60% of his remaining contract.
  • The rock was fully dressed for Pruitt’s press conference yesterday. That dark background is fresh, if you ask me.
  • “After working with him for a week, Phillip Fulmer is the most dedicated Volunteer I’ve ever met,” Beverly Davenport said yesterday at the press conference. High praise for Fulmer, also possible very telling about others that she’s met. Both Davenport and Fulmer seemed genuinely excited about the hire.
  • I know some are concerned about hiring a coach with Alabama ties, but I loved this quote from  Pruitt: “My name is on this program now. It starts with me. It all goes through me. I’m responsible for this.”
  • Another interesting point from Pruitt that I hadn’t thought of. He was at Alabama when Saban took over (he called it ‘ground zero’), so he knows how to begin rebuilding a program.
  • Bruce Feldman announced that Georgia outside linebacker coach Kevin Sherrer is expected to join Pruitt’s staff as defensive coordinator. Tracy Rocker and Chris Rumph are also expected to join that defensive staff.
  • While everyone has been panicking over this early signing period, Pruitt didn’t seem nervous about it at all. He needs to figure out what we have, what we have committed, and what we need, before worrying about who to get. He doesn’t want to sign someone who doesn’t fit said we should worry about the ones we get, not the ones we don’t.
  • Pruitt did a one-on-one exclusive interview with Rick Russo yesterday and this comment stuck out to me: “I’ve only been here for a few hours, but walking through the facilities, the facilities are unbelievable. It should be really easy to recruit to. I’ve never seen a place that looks like this.” Forum discussion.
  • Paul Finebaum’s take: “Credit Phillip Fulmer for bringing the Vol family back together & hiring Jeremy Pruitt. A very positive first impression for the new @Vol_Football Head Coach”
  • Lane Kiffin’s take on the hire: “Go win it all. Congrats Jeremy. Home run hire!!!”
  • Chris Low is confident that working for someone like Phillip Fulmer won’t be an issue for Pruitt: “Jeremy Pruitt told me last year he had no problem checking his ego at the door when it came to being Nick Saban’s defensive coordinator. He feels similarly about working for Phillip Fulmer and doing it at a place Fulmer knows inside out and won championships at as a head coach.”
  • Former Tennessee defensive coordinator Bob Shoop is heading to Mississippi State.

Vols Football Recruiting


  • Nice to see some positive news after the season we have had, not to mention the last couple of weeks craziness. Great work Freak!

  • Good Job VF. I’m liking what I’m hearing about Coach Pruitt! And I tell you; with the Assistants He’s bringing in, Vols are gonna be “Back On Top”! Also I love the fact that Pruitt is from RAINSVILLE Al! Just a stones throw from my hometown area. I really don’t think Phil could have picked a better Man! Watch UT finish with a Top 15 Class; and LEGITIMATE! Go Vols!

  • Go REINSTATE Jennings and Boulware and the WRs & O-Line (w/ additions of Corvin & Mays) will be LEGIT………..

  • Freak, Like you, Pruitt was not on my radar at all. I was hoping for Petersen, Gundy, Leach, or someone of that caliber. Well, after researching Pruitt a bit and after watching last night’s introduction presser, I believe AD Phil Fulmer won the Coach Search Championship of 2017 for THE University of Tennessee! Coach Jeremy Pruitt may not win the SEC East and the NCAA National Championship for UT in 2018, but I believe he and the staff he is assembling will have us well on the way to being the dominating team that other teams fear and will not want to be playing – sooner than later. Hearing Coach Pruitt speak was like AD Fulmer said, “A breath of fresh air,” compared to the same-ole-same-ole we’ve been hearing since Lane Kiffin sped off dodging the burning mattresses back in 2009.

    At first everyone was gasping for air saying, “Pruitt??? Pruitt??? Has Fulmer gone mad???” But now, after we’ve come to our senses and have the Grudenites have come to realize that Gruden was only a pipe dream at best, Pruitt may not be the only choice left to AD Fulmer, but actually the best choice from the very beginning. He not only has the pedigree, he has the football education, he has learned football from a very young age, he has learned from the very best, he is mature, he has a vision for what he wants his team to be as student-athletes, and he is determined to field a quality product – a winner. He has called for everyone UT to stand with him and the team, from the President down to the youngest fan. I join with him. It is time for the name-calling and the confusion to stop. It is time for the civil war in the booster’s room to stop. It is time for all Volunteer fans to stand united with our coach and players, and if you are not willing to do so, the bus can open the door so you can get off at the curb. If you do not want to be a part of a united Volunteer Nation, wear another team’s colors and be a part of their division and confusion, because we don’t need it or want it. It simply is no longer welcome in Tennessee Sports! Go Coach Pruitt… Go Vols! Thank you AD Phil Fulmer for a job well done!

    • Well said, true Vol fan…well said. I’m 100% ditto on your observations and your pleas to our fellow fans. Good for Jeremy Pruitt, as well, as he’s paid his dues and can begin his journey into fame; a household name in the coaching fraternity and not just another one of Saban’s underlings. I was impressed the most by the comments that were offered by his past and current players. Now, VFLs, we can enjoy this winter. Let it snow!

  • I believe Coach Fulmer hit the nail on the head with this hire. Every thing I have has nothing but good things to Say about the new coach. There are some really good players left on the team that only needs to be coached the right way. He needs a really outstanding strength coach to try to get away from all the injuries of the past 2 years. We can only wait and see the results but I feel we will happy with the results. GBO!!!!!!