Jeremy Pruitt explains struggles of Brent Cimaglia

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    Vols senior kicker Brent Cimaglia only missed four field goals in 27 attempts last season when he proved to be one of the best kickers in the SEC.

    Following his breakout season in 2019, it’s only taken nine attempts this year for him to miss his fourth field goal attempt. Cimaglia is 5-for-9 on the season after missing two of his three attempts in Tennessee’s 30-17 loss to No. 23 Auburn on Saturday night.

    “Brent (Cimaglia) has been going through this really since we got back, I’m talking about all the way back in June,” Vols head coach Jeremy Pruitt told the media following the game. “When he came back, he had a little bit of an issue and he’s tried to work through it. I mean, it’s very unusual for him to miss some kicks.”

    Cimaglia missed his first field goal attempt against Auburn from 50-yards out before rebounding to make his second attempt from 47-yards. He then missed his final attempt from 37-yards in the fourth quarter trying to cut Auburn’s lead to seven.

    “He felt like he hit one of them really good,” Pruitt said. “But hey, Cimaglia is a great kicker and he’ll make a lot of kicks for us down the road.”

    Cimaglia was the Preseason All-SEC First Team  for many publications such as Athlon Sports, the SEC Coaches, College Football News and Phil Steele. He was also named to the 2020 Lou Groza Award Preseason Watch List.

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    The accolades came following a 2019 season that was one of the greatest seasons ever by a Tennessee kicker. Cimaglia made 23-of-27 field goals, including a 51-yarder and a 53-yarder. His 85.2 percentage ranked second in the SEC and was best among kickers who attempted more than 20 field goals. He made all 35 of his extra point attempts and 9-of-11 field goal attempts from 40+.

    He finished second in the SEC with 23 field goals made and tied for seventh in the nation. His 23 made fields goals rank third in UT single-season history and were the most since Carlos Reveiz made 24 in 1985.

    Cimaglia’s performance earned him second-team All-SEC honors, as well as being named a semifinalist for the Lou Groza Award.

    Tennessee and Cimaglia will look to get back on track next Saturday in Nashville. The Vols (2-5) and Vanderbilt (0-7) are scheduled to kickoff at 7:30 p.m. ET on the SEC Network Alternate channel.