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Jeremy Pruitt previews Kentucky vs. Tennessee

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Tennessee’s head coach has great respect for Mark Stoops heading into this week’s matchup.

NCAA Football: Charlotte at Tennessee Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

Tennessee’s first year head coach Jeremy Pruitt has done a solid job in his first year with the Vols.

Coming off a four-win season in which Tennessee was winless in SEC play, Tennessee already has four wins. They only have one win in conference play, but it did come on the road against a ranked Auburn team in one of college football’s toughest environments.

Overall, the Vols sit at 4-5 and still have a chance at a bowl game if they can win two of their last three games.

Pruitt, who served as defense coordinator at Alabama before heading to Knoxville, has already seen improvement in his defense.

They have held three different opponents to three or fewer points as they rank a much-improved 50th in the nation in total defense.

As for the offense, they have struggled, but he has gotten better quarterback play out of Jarrett Guarantano, who won SEC Offensive Player of the Week back on October 15th following the Vols’ win in Auburn.

When talking about the Wildcats, Pruitt had great respect.

“We’re going to play a really good football team this weekend.” Pruitt said.

Pruitt, who was Mark Stoops’ predecessor as defensive coordinator at Florida State back in 2013, had great praise for Stoops.

“They’re going to be very well-coached, hard-nosed. He (Stoops) does a fantastic job evaluating talent.”

When breaking down Kentucky’s star running back, Benny Snell Pruitt called him “a tough guy.” He went on to say “We’ll have to do a really good job of gang-tackling him.”

As for the Kentucky defense, which still ranks 16th best in the nation, despite allowing 34 points to Georgia, Pruitt has this to say:

“They’re very multiple defensively, sound, stop the run. They’re really good in the red area. They give you multiple looks. They’ve got good pass rushers, got good guys out on the edges that can deny the ball.”

Pruitt clearly understands the challenges the Wildcats will present the Vols. Kentucky will look to win in Neyland Stadium for the first time since 1984 and beat Tennessee in back to back seasons for the first time since 1972-73.

(video via Vince Ferrara)