Here is some free advice to college football coaches: do not compare your program to a sinking ship.
On Monday, two days after his team fell to 0-2 with yet another brutal home loss, Tennessee head coach Jeremy Pruitt did just that. According to the Knoxville News Sentinel, Pruitt referenced the movie “Titanic” — you know, the one where the ship crashes into a huge iceberg and sinks to the ocean floor, killing thousands of people — when discussing the state of his program on the heels of back-to-back losses to Georgia State and BYU.
"I think 'Titanic' came out maybe when I was in college. When the boat starts going down, remember all the mice running to the top, right? We have had a few that left our program, but you will figure out who wants to be a Tennessee Vol and who don't,” Pruitt said. "I can tell you this: I want to. I know the standards and expectations that we have and the men on our staff and the character that we have. You will see the best of the players at Tennessee throughout the year."
Pruitt must have missed the end of the movie.
Pruitt was talking about the players who have left the program amid the tough start to the season, but if his Vols are headed on a trajectory that is in any way comparable to a shipwreck, well, that won’t work out too well for him if he plans to keep his job in Knoxville for any considerable period of time.
Pruitt inherited the undesirable wreckage of the Butch Jones era and coached the Vols to a 5-7 record in his first season with the program. The team showed improvement as the year progressed and that carried over in the form of some success on the recruiting trail. But any semblance of momentum sunk into the Tennessee River with a Week 1 loss to Georgia State, arguably the worst loss in school history.
Tennessee then improbably blew a late lead on Saturday against BYU by allowing the Cougars to gain 64 yards on third-and-6 from its own 20-yard line with just 16 seconds left in regulation. The Vols’ defense had a horrendous coverage bust that allowed BYU Micah Simon to run free behind the secondary and pick up a huge gain to allow the Cougars to send the game to overtime. BYU then went on to win in double OT.
So yeah, maybe the sinking ship comparison is an apt one — but it’s never one a fanbase should hear from its own head coach for crying out loud. And while we’re at it, Pruitt should probably avoid comparing his players to vermin from this point forward as well.
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