Constantin Ritzmann 'optimistic' about Pruitt after being hired by Fulmer

Constantin Ritzmann 'optimistic' about Pruitt after being hired by Fulmer

Football

Constantin Ritzmann 'optimistic' about Pruitt after being hired by Fulmer

KNOXVILLE — Constantin Ritzmann played on the defensive line for Tennessee from 2000-03.

The native of Germany, now living in Atlanta, attends Tennessee games each fall and is optimistic about the Jeremy Pruitt era at UT.

“After ten years in the wilderness, it’s good to have a football coach and someone that talks football and wants to coach football,” Ritzmann told Vols Wire. “Having Coach Fulmer’s support is going to be a lot of help. From that perspective we are in a better spot, but obviously time will tell.”

After the last three head coaches not panning out at Tennessee, Ritzmann is most optimistic about Pruitt because his former head coach, Phillip Fulmer, hand-picked him.

“He has all the right tools, the right mindset and has done well where he has been, but I am most optimistic because Coach Fulmer picked him and I trust him more than anyone else in the program,” Ritzmann said of Fulmer hiring Pruitt.

Part of Pruitt’s past success has been coaching within a 3-4 defensive scheme, a scheme Ritzmann says he would have liked to play in.

“I wish we ran a 3-4,” he said. “I would have liked that outside linebacker spot back in the day. It’s going to be helpful. We have some good players that can jump right in and can be that pass rusher on the edge, and I think that will be helpful.”

Since Pruitt has been at Tennessee, he has moved players around at different positions throughout spring practices and into fall training camp.

Moving players around and understanding player personnel without players dictating what position they want to play and having coaches not being able to identify what position they are a better fit at are areas that Ritzmann feels Pruitt will do well at compared to past UT coaches.

“It caters back to the whole thing of who is in charge,” he said. “Back in our days you didn’t question anything. You did the best that you could and played as hard as you could no matter what.”

As Pruitt goes through his transitional first year of getting Tennessee back to playing at a championship level, Ritzmann views being bowl eligible and players playing hard would be a good start for the first-year head coach in 2018.

“6-6 and anything better than that would be great,” he said. “Play hard. What was missing, last year for sure, kids just gave up and did not play hard. On defense they would not give everything they had.

“If they can play hard, that will show in the closer games and probably turn into a couple of wins that we should not have. Hopefully it will not take it long to turn it around and be competitive.”

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