Tennessee (2-3) used its bye week to get back to fundamentals. The Vols hope their hard work during the off week will result in a win at No. 21 Auburn (4-2).
“We had a really good off week last week,” Tennessee head coach Jeremy Pruitt said. “We had an opportunity to get back to fundamentals which was good for our guys. We worked really hard on fundamentals like blocking and block protection. We just kind of went back to the ABCs of what you do during spring ball and fall camp.”
Another tough test
The Vols are set to face an Auburn team that is coming off a 23-9 loss to Mississippi State. Pruitt said it will be a challenge for the Vols to go on the road and get a win against an angry Auburn team.
“Auburn’s a very difficult place to play,” he said. “They’ve got a very good football team. They’re very good on defense. I think they’re one of the top defensive teams in the country.”
Auburn has a strong offense to complement its stubborn defense. It’s led by dynamic quarterback Jarrett Stidham.
“This guy’s got great arm talent,” Pruitt said. “He has an understanding of what they want him to do offensively, and he can make all the throws. He can also hurt you with his feet. “He’ll definitely be a huge challenge for us.”
Even though Tennessee has lost to every ranked team it has faced by 26 points, there have been signs of improvement from game to game. A good example of this is how Tennessee has cut down on turnovers. The Vols turned the ball over six times against Florida, but a week later they only had one turnover against Georgia.
“If you look at both sides of the ball and the kicking game through the first five games, there’s been lots of bright spots,” Pruitt said. “There’s also been inconsistency in those areas. I see a lot of guys in our program that are really improving. Their practice habits are better, and that’s the first way to improve as a player. They’re starting to prepare better. I think our team has improved every week in all phases. We just gotta keep doing that. I think that’s what everyone’s been doing for the past two weeks.”