Jeremy Pruitt Talks Up UGA Defense In Advance of Vols-Dawgs Showdown

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Tennessee Vols head coach Jeremy Pruitt knows what his offense is up against Saturday when his team, on an eight-game winning streak (tied for nation’s longest streak in FBS), rolls into Athens to face a defense that tortured Auburn and Bo Nix. The Tigers averaged 1.8 yards per carry against a Georgia defense that has Pruitt’s full attention.

“I think it’s one of the better teams that I’ve seen in college football over the last couple of years,” Pruitt said this week. “I think these guys have a lot of team speed. They’re big. They’re physical at the line of scrimmage and out on the perimeter. They’ve got good running backs, good skill players. They get those guys the ball. Give you multiple looks on the defensive side. Create a lot of negative plays. In special teams, because of their athleticism, they’ve got good returners. They’ve got good speed and they’re physical on coverage teams.

“They don’t have a weakness. It’ll be a tremendous challenge for us, but it’s something we’re looking forward to.”

If there’s a weakness for Georgia, it has to be on the offensive side and at quarterback where Stetson Bennett IV is coming off a big win, something he’s never had experience with during his time at Georgia. What happens if Bennett faces adversity against the Vols? How will he handle it?

His 17-of-28 for 240 yards and a touchdown day was the perfect kind of game management the Dawgs wanted to see. Don’t turn the ball over and don’t lose the game. Bennett passed that test, but there’s more tape on him now and Pruitt was Alabama’s defensive coordinator before taking the Vols job.

“You can see him getting in and out of plays,” Pruitt said. “He moves wide receivers if they’ve got somebody that they can’t block on the perimeter. He gets them in position. He gets the ball out of his hand and doesn’t take sacks. He plays with confidence, and I’ve got a lot of respect for him by the way he’s played in the two games that he’s come in.”

Now comes the biggest game of Pruitt’s career. The Vols have been destroyed three straight years by Georgia. A win here for the Vols, and the SEC East might not be decided until a December 5 showdown on Rocky Top against Florida.

Written by Joe Kinsey

Joe Kinsey is the Senior Director of Content of OutKick and the editor of the Morning Screencaps column that examines a variety of stories taking place in real America.

Kinsey is also the founder of OutKick’s Thursday Night Mowing League, America’s largest virtual mowing league.

Kinsey graduated from University of Toledo.

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  1. I hate UGA and UT equally, I’ve got UT in this one. The only team with a better o-line from what everybody seems to be saying is Alabama. If Guarantano plays like Stetson has for Georgia, which shouldn’t be a big ask for someone as talented as him, they definitely can pull it off while physically pushing Georgia around. Georgia may have the best defense in the nation but no college unit plays perfect every single game, and I can’t think of an opponent better suited to shocking them on the line than Tennessee.

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