Vols are playing for pride against Vanderbilt

Vols are playing for pride against Vanderbilt

Football

Vols are playing for pride against Vanderbilt

KNOXVILLE — Playing for pride. That is what Tennessee (5-6, 2-5 SEC) has been playing for since back-to-back losses to Florida and at Georgia in Week 4 and 5.

Going into the regular season finale to take on in-state foe Vanderbilt, Jeremy Pruitt reiterated that his team has not shied away from playing for pride.

“I talked about it to our staff this morning,” Pruitt said when kicking off Vanderbilt week.

As an assistant, Pruitt has been accustomed to being in position of coaching for championships at the end of the regular season. Now as he continues to rebuild the UT program, he is in position of being one win away from bowl eligibility.

“This is probably the first time in a long time for me that early on in the season we weren’t participating or playing for playoff implications or a championship in the league,” he said. “I said before, this game (Vanderbilt) means a whole lot to a whole lot of people and probably since the Florida loss or the Georgia loss, we’ve been playing for pride. To me, you can talk about winning a championship or whatever, but pride is about as important as it gets.”

Vanderbilt (5-6, 2-5 SEC) will also be playing for their own bowl eligibility, providing more importance to the in-state contest.

“It’s going to be important for our senior class to end with a win against Vanderbilt,” Pruitt said. “I think it’s important for everyone associated with our program to raise our level of play.

“We’ve had opportunities to do that a couple of times this year and in my opinion have not necessarily played at our best. That’s on us as coaches to get everybody in our program to be at their best. It’s a great opportunity for us. It’s a chance to possibly have a winning record and anytime you have positive things going on, I think it’s going to help you in recruiting.”

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