Tennessee athletic director Phillip Fulmer is not upset about Jeremy Pruitt calling out Volunteer fans following his first spring game as head coach. In fact, the Vols AD is fine with his coach doing so.
He said as much when he joined the regionally syndicated ‘Chuck Oliver Show’ on Wednesday.
“I certainly feel his passion,” Fulmer said. “That’s what we hired. I think he understands, and everybody should understand, that to get this turned back where we need it to be turned to, we need everybody.
“He knows that. He can’t do this by himself. It’s going to take us all to get back to where we want to be. I just know how passionate he is about doing it. I appreciate that part of it.”
Pruitt’s chastising of the fan base came Saturday after a reported 65,000 fans attended the team’s spring game at Neyland Stadium. Media estimates peg the actual figure closer to 50,000. That number obviously falls far short of the 102,455 listed seating capacity for the stadium.
“To me, it’s kind of like our football team for the fans,” Pruitt said after the spring game. “The ones that were here, I’m proud they’re here. They’re fired up, ready to get going. And then there were some people that weren’t here, they had legitimate reasons they couldn’t be here. Then there were some people that weren’t here, why weren’t they here?
“It’s kind of like our football team. I think we all need to look in the mirror and see who we want to be.”
The Tennessee coach made these comments following a statement about seeing a handful of his players ‘quit.’ He also said that he felt the team’s performance for the spring was a ‘D’ grade.
Pruitt is no stranger to being abrasive with his comments through the media. He made headlines as the defensive coordinator at Georgia in 2014 when he made clear that he was unhappy about the program not having an indoor practice facility.
The Tennessee fan base hopes for the same things that Pruitt does: competing for SEC Championships and playing in the College Football Playoff. They are probably not used to the public admonishment he gave them, which is why some Vol fans were bothered by the remarks.
(You can follow Dan Mathews on Twitter @DanMathewsATL)
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