KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- The Vols are in good spirits Monday coming off their first SEC win against Mississippi State.
Tennessee head coach Jeremy Pruitt during first half action against Mississippi State Saturday, Oct. 12, 2019. Michael Patrick/WVLT
Jeremy Pruitt will be making his first return to Tuscaloosa after leaving the Tide to become the head coach of the Vols.
"This is the rivalry. This is the game," Pruitt said. "I grew up watching it, I had an opportunity to play in it. I've had the opportunity to coach in it – now on both sides – so this week does It kind of get you going."
Coming off an impressive win on Saturday against Mississippi State, Pruitt was impressed with how the Vols came out with great energy with a solid plan.
"We are improving up front," Pruitt said. "Our coaches did a nice job of getting our guys ready to play. Our guys executed the plan and probably covered them a little better in the back end.
The Vols have their hands full on Saturday against players like Tua Tagovailoa, Jerry Jeudy, Najee Harris, and more. Vols senior Defensive back Nigel Warrior hopes to continue their defensive push after only allowing SEC leader Kylin Hill to only 13 yards rushing.
"I love my defensive line," a proud Warrior said. "They are the reason I had my success. After I got my pick, I told all of them I love them. They help us out so much just because they make the quarterback panic."
The Vols head to Alabama with a little momentum in fact Brent Hubbs of Volquest.com says, "I would say a lot of momentum for a team in dire need of a win. The Vols doing some good things, the challenge is maintaining that momentum to get them through this week as a 35 point underdog going into Alabama to take on the #1 team in the country."
One of the reasons they're 35 point underdogs is because of that Alabama offense which coach Pruitt says can score 100 points a game if they really wanted to. "It's something he said as well a year and he complimented Nick Saban for taking it easy on them a year ago but they're explosive and I think that's the challenge can you tackle in space, can you not allow a 4 yard pass to become a 70 yard touchdown make them drive the length of the field, more importantly, keep them on the sideline," says Hubbs.
As for a game plan to try and stop the top ranked Tide Coach Pruitt says, "There's a high school team in Arkansas. they always onside kick, they never punt, you know we really considered that as our
game plan, just don't give them the ball."
It was coach Pruitt confirming after the game that QB Brian Maurer suffered a concussion, but he went on to say in his Monday Press conference that Maurer took some snaps on Sunday night and expects him to be fine on Saturday. We'll see how the week progresses, obviously he's gonna split reps with Jarrett Guarantano. The staff will certainly take any chances with Maurer throughout the week, but it sounds like there's full belief he's gonna be ready to go Saturday in Tuscaloosa."
It's a 9pm kickoff in Tuscaloosa with the game being broadcast by ESPN.