It doesn’t take long to realize there are some stark differences between Tennessee’s former head football coach and their new head football coach. All you have to do is watch video of Butch Jones, the Vols’ former leader of the football program, in front of the media and video of new UT head coach Jeremy Pruitt doing the same to see the drastic differences between how the two conduct themselves and represent the university.
But it goes beyond how the two men present themselves to the media. There’s some big differences on the field as well.
At SEC Media Days in Atlanta, Tennessee junior wide receiver Marquez Callaway was asked about what the biggest difference is between Jones, his old coach, and Pruitt, his new coach. And Vol fans will be glad to hear his answer.
Callaway stated that Pruitt brings “more discipline” than Jones did. “Coach Jones was a fun coach, he always laughed and played around with us,” Callaway stated. “But there were times that we needed coaching, and that’s one thing that coach Pruitt does.
“He does not play. He harps a lot on discipline and toughness.”
But it wasn’t an easy process to get Pruitt to Tennessee. The university had an infamously long and convoluted search to try and find a head football coach, and the process led to UT firing John Currie and hiring former head coach Phillip Fulmer as athletics director.
Once the dust settled, Fulmer brought in Pruitt to be the head coach. And that’s where Tennessee stands seven and a half months later.
“We knew the university was going to have the right person, and it took us however many tries to get him, and we finally got Coach Pruitt,” Callaway added. “And that’s who we’re sticking and rolling with.”
Callaway was recruited to play in Tennessee’s more spread-option offense under Jones, and he burst onto the scene during his sophomore year last season with some electrifying catches early in the year. But his play faded down the stretch because of lack of usage in the passing game along with other factors.
Now, however, Callaway is thought of as a leader on Tennessee’s young offense. And he’s looking to make some big contributions as a junior in Tennessee’s new offensive system.