Jeremy Pruitt provided a pretty good hint as to what his two biggest concerns will be as Tennessee opens the season Saturday night at South Carolina.
Tennessee’s coach compared the long layoff to bowl games.
“Obviously if you watch the bowl season, two things stick out to me every year in bowl season: missed tackles and ball security,’’ Pruitt said Wednesday on the SEC Teleconference call.
“That’s probably because of the amount of time between the end of the season and the bowl game. Now you can times that by a whole lot, without spring ball, and a lot of guys missed practice throughout camp.
“Definitely we’ve got lot of young men that have not been through the norm.’’
* Tennessee is still waiting word from the SEC on the eligibility status of offensive lineman Cade Mays, who transferred from Georgia in January.
Mays got a waiver from the NCAA earlier this month and is waiting on a waiver from the SEC to be able to play this season.
SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey, during an interview earlier today, said he supports the rule, that it shouldn’t be solely up to him to make a decision on a transfer and that the league should change the rule if it wants in-conference transfers to play right away.
When does Pruitt need to know Mays’ status to include him on travel roster?
“I guess before we get on the plane,’’ Pruitt said.
Pruitt said UT has a plan “either way.’’
Pruitt, who transferred from MTSU to Alabama as a player, said the sport athletes play can “shape their values for the rest of their life.’’
He also said coaches, if they want to `take another job, there’s no penalty. … Why should there be one for the student-athletes?’
* Pruitt likes what he has seen out of true freshman Dee Beckwith (6-5, 220) at running back, but he said Beckwith won’t make the trip because he suffered an ankle injury.
“We’re trying to find a home for him,’’ said Pruitt, who mentioned that Beckwith played quarterback, running back and receiver in high school and did it “really well.’
Pruitt said in the last week Beckwith “made a lot of strides, he has natural play-making ability.