Tennessee Will Replace Jeremy Pruitt With Phillip Fulmer In Week 8
Tennessee will replace Jeremy Pruitt with Phillip Fulmer in Week 8, at which point the team will likely be 1-6 on the year.
Pruitt, 45, has been on the hot seat all season, and things did not get any better after his team’s embarrassing 34-3 loss to Florida last Saturday.
Final score. pic.twitter.com/lqSo8gzkGM
— Tennessee Football (@Vol_Football) September 21, 2019
As it stands, Pruitt is now 1-3 for the year and 6-10 over the past season and change.
While a loss to formidable Florida squad can certainly be forgiven, defeats to Georgia State and BYU are ones that cannot be dismissed as quickly.
Given the team’s underwhelming performance over the course of Pruitt’s short tenure at the school, it is little surprise that there are serious whispers of a coaching change being inevitable.
Who do insiders suspect will step into Pruitt’s shoes once he gets the boot?
In a report by Pete Thamel for Yahoo! Sports, a general plan is laid out that sees “relentless backstabber” Fulmer using his authority as athletic director (AD) to relieve Pruitt of his duties – and then stepping into the head coaching position himself.
Fulmer is unlikely to need to do much work to find a reason to fire Pruitt; all he needs to do is wait a few weeks.
Tennessee has some brutal games still on the agenda, including Georgia, Mississippi State and Alabama.
Apparently Thamel believes that Fulmer will wait out those rough outings, watch the team fall to a 1-6 start, and then make his move.
“Just so Fulmer knows, the running joke around the league is that they expect him to wait until Tennessee clears the difficult portion of its schedule before he coronates himself,” he wrote.
Although plotting against your own head coach is not the classiest of moves, it is hard to blame Fulmer for being dissatisfied with what he has seen out of Pruitt thus far.
And Fulmer certainly is not the only person underwhelmed by Pruitt’s coaching.
ESPN college football analyst Paul Finebaum recently suggested that Pruitt has “failed miserably” in giving fans any confidence in him moving forward.
“Here are some of the problems, let’s look at the coaching decisions, which are inexcusable, let’s also look at his demeanor, which is more inexcusable,” he said.
“You’ve got to show who you are and what you’re all about. I think Jeremy Pruitt has failed miserably in that regard,” Finebaum continued.
“The danger is the season is going to be over so quickly that the interest in Tennessee as opposed to anything but a side show or a freak show will vaporize.
“That’s when he goes into late October, early November and is trying to find fans, really anyone to talk about his own ineptitude, that’s when you go from Defcon 4, to 3, to 2, to 1.”
Finebaum also noted that enthusiasm for the football program is clearly waning.
“You take a good look around that stadium on Saturday, who in their right mind is going to this game?”
Will Fulmer ultimately pull the trigger on Pruitt this year?
It remains to be seen.
But if he does do it – expect it to happen after Week 7.