Curley Hallman discusses Pruitt's first season, recruiting and coaching staff hire

Curley Hallman discusses Pruitt's first season, recruiting and coaching staff hire

Football

Curley Hallman discusses Pruitt's first season, recruiting and coaching staff hire

KNOXVILLE — Jeremy Pruitt has completed his first season as a head coach going 5-7 and winning two SEC games at Tennessee.

Improvement was visible in Pruitt’s first season after taking over a Tennessee program that won four games and going winless in SEC play before his arrival, but the strides made in 2018 are far from where he wants to take the program.

Pruitt started his coaching profession in 1997 as a graduate assistant at Alabama and worked under defensive backs coach Curley Hallman. Hallman coached at Alabama after being LSU’s head coach from 1991-94.

Hallman told Vols Wire that he “naturally followed Jeremy (this year) and was pulling for him those last few games” to become bowl eligible.

Tennessee came one game shy of being bowl eligible in 2018 and Hallman understands that Pruitt needs to get more players on roster, something that was lacking this season.

On top of recruiting ahead of the Early Signing Period from Dec. 19-21, Pruitt will now need to fill a vacancy on his coaching staff after offensive coordinator Tyson Helton became Western Kentucky’s head coach.

“He’s beating the roads (in recruiting currently) and I shared some things with him about when I was at LSU going 5-6 my first season with not much talent,” Hallman said. “To solve the problem is to recruit and have good staff chemistry. It’s obvious that recruiting is the number one priority — closely related to that you have to motivate, develop them and pat them on the back. It’s going to take time.

“Another thing he has going for him is being at a place with great tradition. I know people can be impatient, but Jeremy knows talent and recognizes talent and he will get his share of the ones he needs.”

With Pruitt’s background coaching at Alabama, Florida State, Georgia and Hoover High School, Hallman feels confident that he will be able to fill Helton’s void with a caliber of coach that is needed to both coach and recruit in the SEC to be successful.

“He knows enough coaches out there and he will find someone that fits what he needs and the chemistry of the staff,” Hallman said. “He will get that done.

“He will stay heavily involved with the defensive side of the ball, but he will make sure on the offensive side they are doing what you want. He will stick to his guns and do what he believes and knows what works and will find people that can recruit.”

 

 

 

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