By Steve Williams

A caller to a local radio sports talk show offered a couple of slogans last Thursday afternoon that could be used for new University of Tennessee football head coach Jeremy Pruitt and his program.

“Do it with Pruitt,” suggested the caller. And later on, if things don’t go well … “Pruitt blew it.”

After motivating remarks by Pruitt at his introductory press conference Thursday night, I think we’ll be hearing the former chant rather than the latter.

Many fans said they were fired up and ready to run through a brick wall the following day. (Oops, please excuse me for using the word brick. That’s unacceptable. Please be resilient and continue on.)

I must admit I too felt a little lump in my throat as I heard Pruitt speak for the first time. I believe he has the right plan to restore the good ole days of Tennessee football.

Phillip Fulmer knows what it takes and the new athletics director hand-picked Pruitt for the job. Thanks Dr. Davenport for picking Phillip to be the AD.

I noticed a gleam in Fulmer’s eye after Pruitt talked about his plan to make Tennessee a feared football team again in the Southeastern Conference. A big, fast, tough and physical football team with a real offensive and defensive line.

Tennessee has been too soft too long. No wonder the Vols were 0-8 in the SEC for the first time ever this past season.

How long will it take for the Vols to get back to where they belong?

Pruitt didn’t give a timetable, but he said his plan was to win each and every game.

Fulmer did his homework. He discovered that six of the eight SEC teams that whipped the Vols this past season had head coaches who were former defensive coordinators, so that was the area he primarily concentrated on to find his man.

Pruitt’s forte is defense, but he said he will be involved in everything.

Tennessee won’t be in a bowl game this year, but UT fans will now have special interest in watching Pruitt at work as defensive coordinator for Alabama against Clemson in a national semifinal playoff game. His exposure in that game will be a positive for the Tennessee program in recruiting.


CADE’S DECISION: After his football days in college and the NFL are over, I assume Cade Mays, who helped lead Knoxville Catholic to the Class 5A state title, will want to come back to his roots and live in Roane County and East Tennessee, where there are plenty of great spots to hunt and fish – something he likes even better than football.

What will it feel like for Mays when he returns home and goes out in the community after playing at Clemson or Georgia or Ohio State? It’s only natural that life would probably be a little more comfortable for him if he returns as a former Volunteer.

I believe this is something the young man should consider, if he hasn’t already.

The nation’s No. 2 rated high school offensive lineman, Mays decommitted from Tennessee a few weeks ago. With a new head coach and staff taking over the Vols, some feel Cade may reconsider UT again.