Jimmy’s blog: Pruitt not into setting rules, just abiding by them

By Jimmy Hyams

Jeremy Pruitt isn’t much on establishing rules. He just wants to follow them.

That goes for playing games without fans in the stands to playing only conference games to the time needed to prepare for the season to eligibility issues.

North Carolina coach Mack Brown and Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith are opposed to playing games without fans, saying if it’s not safe for the fans, it’s not safe for the players.

What is the opinion of Tennessee’s coach?

“I’ve just kind of always been one to follow the rules,’’ Pruitt said in a recent interview on SportsTalk WNML radio. “I don’t really get a chance to make those kind of decisions. So whatever they decide to do, I’ll support it and we’ll follow the rules and do what everybody else says.”

Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly says a team needs 30 days of conditioning and fundamental work before starting summer camp around Aug. 1. Alabama coach Nick Saban said you need 14 days. Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley said you don’t need any.

What does Pruitt say?

“I don’t know what the exact amount of days would be,’’ Tennessee’s coach said. “If you look over the history of college athletics and probably professional sports, it’s changed and everybody has adapted to the rules as they’ve changed over the years. So I’m sure whatever rules are put in place, everybody will adhere to them.

“The first thing would be to protect the players because each player will be different when you start back. There are probably guys that have some access to do a lot of things when it comes to training right now and there’s probably some that don’t. I just think that whenever that time does come, you have to have a really good understanding of each individual player and where they’re conditioning is at — what they can and can’t do.”

With spring practice canceled and a limited amount of work during the summer, does Pruitt think that might result in fewer true freshmen contributing right away?

“I don’t think so,’’ Pruitt said. “Right now we’re allowed to spend four hours a week doing meetings. With the technology that is out there today, it’s going really well. I wouldn’t think that it would be that big of a difference.

“My thought is you always want to play the guys that give you the best chance to win. It’s not about who knows the most. It’s about being able to play the best players. That’s kind of the way we look at it.”

There is some chatter that some conferences might be wiling to play this fall, even if it means only league games. Would Pruitt be in favor of that?

“That’s probably a question for somebody else,’’ Pruitt said. “I probably would have an opinion, but nobody but me and you are really going to care what my opinion is.

“Instead of speculating and all that, I’ll just wait and see what happens and whatever happens, we’ll support it and try to be the best we can possibly be.”

With the NCAA basically shutting down operations, it might have an impact on players seeking waivers for immediate eligibility, like Cade Mays, who transferred to UT from Georgia.

Pruitt said he is the “wrong one to ask that question’’ and has “no idea’’ of the potential impact on a transfer.

There Pruitt goes again.

He’s not about setting rules or even having an opinion on them.

Just tell him the rules, and he’ll play by them.

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