Vols Take Another L

Just when you think it can’t get any more embarrassing.

Jim Rome
October 02, 2019 - 11:53 am
Jeremy Pruitt

USA Today

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I am, once again, starting a take with my guy Corey Zickefooose in mind. Tennessee fans, you don’t need me to tell you that when your football team gets mentioned on this show these days, it’s never for a good reason. The only good run your football team has gotten here lately is when I took that trip down memory lane with Lane. 

That was awesome. What’s happening with the Volunteers right now isn’t. And believe me, I would like nothing more than to be positive and upbeat. I’m a glass half-full guy. I would love to be hyping this team right now, but as you know, it’s really hard. In fact, it’s impossible.

Jeremy Pruitt took over last year and promptly got kicked in the teeth 40-14 in the season opener against West Virginia. No worries, that’ll happen. They got back on track with a pair of cupcake wins. 

But that was followed by getting wrecked by Florida, Georgia, and Alabama, with a weird win over Auburn rammed in the middle. A close loss to South Carolina, wins over Charlotte and Kentucky, and then getting smashed by Missouri and Vanderbilt. 

Finished the year at 5-7. A rough start, but things are bound to get better in Year 2. Except they haven’t. They opened this year by losing to Georgia State at home. And then to BYU. They bounced back to beat Chattanooga and then got trucked by Florida 34-3 in what used to be a rivalry.

16 games into Jeremy Pruitt’s time and he’s 6-10 with seven losses by at least 25 points. And they’ve got #3 Georgia on Saturday, so you might as well just make it eight losses by at least 25 points. Or 7 losses by at least 25 and one by at lost 40.

That’s a lot of Ls on the record. And that’s not all. They’re also taking Ls on the police report too. News broke yesterday involving the arrest of Volunteer linebacker Jeremy Banks and let’s just say Banks and Pruitt handle their business about as well off the field as they do on it. Which is to suggest not very well at all.

According to reports, Banks was pulled over on September 15th after making a U-turn. University of Tennessee police discovered he didn’t have his driver’s license because it had been suspended and there was a warrant out for failing to appear in court. 

Pretty stupid…you shouldn’t let your license expire. And you really shouldn’t miss a court date…forgetting to call into a radio show is one thing. Forgetting to show up IN COURT, is another. But not the end of the world. Except it gets worse.

Because Banks was arrested at that point and then told a woman who was participating in a ridealong in the back seat that “Ma'am, you don't wanna be an intern because where I'm from we shoot at cops. I'm from Memphis, Tennessee.”

Uh, Mr. Banks, that’s not okay. He also allegedly said “Police is lame, ma’am I don’t think you want to be a police, you remember what I told you.” 

If that’s true, that really is something. The guy who just got arrested for pulling a u-turn and driving without a license giving life advice to someone else. And truly terrible advice at that.

But that’s not the only troubling part of this from a Tennessee perspective. Because Jeremy Banks called Jeremy Pruitt during this whole situation and Pruitt had some kind of weird things to say himself.

Now, in fairness, Pruitt sounded really tired when the police called him, but I’m not sure that fully explains Pruitt saying he thought Banks had paid the ticket and then this beauty: “Why do you have to arrest him? Just because he has a warrant?”

Uh, yes, Jeremy. That’s how it works. It’s an arrest warrant. An arrest warrant leads to an arrest. That’s how it goes. An arrest warrant means there’s a legal obligation to arrest the subject of that warrant. That’s the way the judicial system works. That’s the way life works. 

“Why do you have to arrest him? Just because he has a warrant?” Is an all-time strange combination of questions? I don’t even honestly, I can’t even figure out where Pruitt is going with that. Does he not understand what a warrant is and what it means?

He also summed up the situation like this: “This is the silliest bleep I’ve ever seen in my life. I’ve got it. I understand. I’ve worked at four places, and I ain’t ever had no crap like this except for here.”

If you want to say that it’s supremely silly that a u-turn escalated into something like this, we could maybe have that discussion. Then again, as I understand it, the issue isn’t the u-turn, it’s the driving without a license, the failure to show up for court, and the warrant.

But how about Pruitt saying that “I’ve worked at four places, and I ain’t ever had no crap like this except for here.” I’m not going to be naïve and say that big-time football programs don’t get some favorable treatment in certain places, but I don’t think you want to go around hyping that and banging that drum. That shouldn’t be some sort of flex you pull to get your guy out of a bad situation.

You know how coaches’ talk about how you don't want to put bad plays on tape, you also don't want to put bad takes on tape. And that's a bad take. An all-time bad take.  That will always stick to you.  Especially when you’re running teams out that are routinely losing by 25. And probably 40 this weekend.

You’re coaching and playing football at Tennessee, that doesn’t make you above the law. Head coaches’ area always talking about molding young men and future leaders, and here you have a head coach seeming to suggest to police that they should look the other way. Classy. 

I’m not sure what’s worse – how Pruitt is handling his business on the field, or how he handled that call off it. 

And then Pruitt dropped this gem to the officer: “Go ahead. Do your civic duty, man.” What a line. Again, I don’t what I like better: banks telling an officer, you don’t want to be a police.  Or Pruitt telling an officer, go ahead, do your civic duty man.  Tie for last.

In the good old days, Volunteers football was all about "It's Tennessee. That's the way it is sometimes."

Now it’s “Go ahead. Do your civic duty, man.” Tennessee football – losing on the field and losing off it. Embarrassing on the field and off it. Just when you think it can’t get any more embarrassing for Tennessee football, it does.