KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – Tennessee head football coach Jeremy Pruitt made it clear on Monday that his main focus is on the safety of his team, coaching staff and everyone close to them as the coronavirus pandemic continues.
“The first thing is we’re just worried about our players, their safety, their family’s safety,” Pruitt said on ‘Vol Calls’, the official statewide call-in radio show for Tennessee Athletics. “Today was the first day going back to school so the guys got back to taking classes online which was something new but it’s something they’re adapting to and we’re just taking it as it comes.”
Pruitt on his message to his team
Our first priority here is safety. It’s basically educating our guys and we did the best that we possibly could do before they left. Dr. Chris Klenck and his staff done a fantastic job educating our guys over two days before we let them go for spring break. Right now, to me, football is an afterthought. We are not concerned about that, we are worried about our young men’s safety, their family’s safety and helping them manage to get through this.
Pruitt on how he’s handling this situation
The first priority for us is for them to protect themselves. There’s plenty of time for us to get back to working out and doing football. I think right now the priority for us needs to be to follow directions of the people in our government, the people that’s head of the university and that’s something that we’ve really tried to help our guys understand and follow the guidelines.
Pruitt on how he’s handling his staff meetings
We were on spring break last week. Today was the first day back and you know we have a plan and our guys are executing it from home and I think the best thing for us is to practice the social distancing and stay away from the office and that’s something that we are going to do.
Pruitt on staff being involved with players during time away from campus.
That’s the first priority is helping the guys get back to going to school and helping them from that standpoint. You know we’ve got guys all over the country and making sure that they have the proper resources to be able to handle their online schooling.
Pruitt on strength and conditioning routine
Well we had an excellent plan moving forward. Craig and his staff, they had put together a months routine of what the players would do away from Knoxville so once Craig decided to move on, we’ve really leaned on the guys on this staff to continue to work and execute and continue to plan for these guys.
Pruitt on the Thornton Center
Well I think everybody knows that this is an unusual circumstance. The people at the Thornton Center have done a really nice job all along with all of our student athletes and will continue to do that. Our guys know the expectation. Hey there number one goal when they came to University of Tennessee wants to get a degree so that is something they all work hard to do every day.
Pruitt on Tennessee’s momentum from last season
Well we had a good offseason, had a couple of good days of practice to start spring ball. Unfortunately it ended but our guys had really good energy and that’s something that they were really excited about. I know that just like every other program in the country, they are probably frustrated that they can’t practice right now but it’s something that we have to deal with and we were looking at it as a positive, not a negative and we are going to continue to do that.
Pruitt on the status with Pro Day
It’s very unusual. You don’t know when this is going to cease or if the NFL is going to come out and work any guys out. Fortunately for these guys, they all had a really good senior year. At the end of the day they’re playing football so they have a great opportunity to see them play the game.
Pruitt on recruiting
I think if you are not recruiting every day somebody else is so that’s really not changed a lot for our staff so we’ve recruited every day since we’ve been here. We are going to continue to do that. It probably puts more emphasis on recruiting especially in the early weeks since we are not together to game plan together so something that we are focusing on.