Everything Jeremy Pruitt Said on Monday After Vols’ Bye Week

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    Photo by Jake Nichols/RTI

    Tennessee head football coach Jeremy Pruitt met with the media for his weekly press conference on Monday. During this week’s presser, the Vols’ second-year head coach discussed the progress his team made during their bye week last week, his scouting report on the Georgia Bulldogs, and much more.

    Here’s everything Pruitt had to say during Monday’s press conference.

    Portions of this transcript were transcribed by Tennessee’s sports information department.

    Opening Statement:

    “When you look at Georgia, it’s probably the best Georgia team that I can ever remember at this point in time in the season. Very complete on both sides of the ball and in the kicking game.

    “You start offensively. It starts with Jake Fromm. To me, he does as good a job as anybody in the country — and maybe as anybody I’ve ever coached against — as far as keeping their offense in positive situations. He takes care of the football, gets the ball out of his hand, controls protection, keeps them in positive run plays.

    “You look at their guys up front. They’ve got six or seven guys who play up front with very talented, big men. Running back, (D’Andre) Swift is as good as anybody in the country, a guy who can make you miss, catch a ball out of the backfield, got home-run ability. Brian Herrien, he’s another guy that’s played a lot of football there. Probably tight end, Charlie Warner, he’s played the last three years. He’s a really good football player.

    “At wide receiver, they’ve had to replace a lot of guys, but they’ve replaced them with a couple of transfers and some guys that they’ve kind of grown in their program there that are big, tall, athletic and can create explosive plays. They run the football very efficiently. They’re balanced, so we’ve got to be able to stop the run, got to get off the field on third down, got to find a way to create some turnovers.

    “Defensively, to me, they’ve added several pass rushers in this past signing class that you see out there, but they’ve got lots of depth up front. They’re big, physical. They’ve done a nice job stopping the run, haven’t allowed a rushing touchdown this season. Creating much more negative plays probably than they have in the past. And they’ve had a few injuries in the secondary, but they have depth back there and have done a really nice job.

    “You look at them in the kicking game, Rodrigo (Blankenship) seems like he’s been playing there for 10 years. They’ve got good returners, got good speed on coverage teams, so it’ll be a challenge for our football team.”

    On the plan at quarterback for Saturday’s game against Georgia:

    “We’re not going to give Georgia a scouting report of what we’re going to do this week, so we’re going to rep the guys that we feel like gives us the best opportunity to have success.”

    On Jim Chaney being familiar with both Tennessee and Georgia:

    “It probably works both ways — you’re right. With our staffs, we’ve all coached together over the years, so whether it’s offensively or defensively, we probably know some of the checks that each team’s accustomed to. But at the end of the day, it comes down to blocking, tackling, executing, taking care of the football. We’re familiar with them. They’re familiar with us, so it’ll be about the details and intangibles of the plays.”

    On the difference between his defense and Kirby Smart’s defense:

    “I don’t think there’s a whole lot of difference in what either one of us do. If you looked at how we play the last couple years, it’s probably changed a little bit. Kirby’s probably been more of a 3-4 (defense) guy. We’ve probably been more of a 4-2-5. I think a lot of that has to do with personnel. As a football coach, both of us, we have lots of things that we can do in our systems, so you figure out what’s best for your personnel. You look at them this year, they’ve added a lot of different wrinkles that I’ve not seen them do in the past, which makes sense. It’s in his fourth year in his program. He’s got guys that have a lot of experience. They’re playing a lot of guys on defense and trying to create roles for the guys, so you see that with different packages of people that come in there.”

    On Kirby Smart having early success at Georgia:

    “Well, I think the program that he took over won 20 games the previous two years. That helped. He had a very young football team that he inherited, you know, and he’s done a very nice job. He’s put a really good staff together. It’s a place that you can have success. Those guys were used to winning, and now he’s kind of recruited (well). (He is) in his fourth year. All those guys that he has there, he’s recruited them there, and they’ve done a nice job evaluating talent and going and getting some of the best players in the country and coaching them up. In this day and time, you need to be good at the quarterback position, and he’s got a really good player there. Last year, they had two really good players there. They’ve got playmakers on the outside. They’re big up front. They’ve kind of recruited to the philosophy, and you can see it.”

    On how important Tennessee’s bye week was: