Tennessee football had an up-and-down campaign in 2019. Can Jeremy Pruitt and the Volunteers find more consistency this season?
At the beginning of 2019, it appeared that Jeremy Pruitt’s time in Knoxville would be short-lived. They opened with two straight losses, falling to Georgia State to open the year and BYU in double-overtime the next week. A victory over Chattanooga in week three didn’t make beatings from Georgia and Florida in the next two games go down any easier.
In the second half of the year, though, things changed. Their fight in a loss at Alabama, one that was closer than the final score indicates, seemed to spark them going forward. The Volunteers would win the final five games of the regular season, miraculously putting them at 7-5 and making the team bowl eligible. The magical season was capped off by a 23-22 Gator Bowl victory over Indiana.
At an 8-5 finish, the 2019 season could be considered a success for a program that was in such bad shape and firmly in rebuilding mode. However, while it was a solid campaign, it is not the final destination that people in Knoxville foresee for the Volunteers.
Pruitt made the jump from five wins in his first season to eight in 2019. Now, in 2020, the next jump is expected of him and the Volunteers. It will be a tall task against a schedule that features a road trip to Oklahoma and the usual SEC suspects (Alabama, Georgia, Florida), but it’s task that the Vol faithful believe is attainable.
For Tennessee to make that leap, they’ll obviously have to clean up the issues that lost them five games a year ago. These are the biggest fixes that the Vols have to make before the 2020 season.