Brumbaugh out; Pruitt to coach defensive line for Vols

Jimmy Brumbaugh / Photo contributed by University of Tennessee

Tennessee third-year head football coach Jeremy Pruitt will also be Volunteers defensive line coach for the remainder of the 2020 season, which continues Saturday against No. 2 Alabama and its high-powered offense that has scored at least 35 points for 17 straight contests.

Pruitt elected Sunday to part ways with first-year defensive line coach Jimmy Brumbaugh after just four games. The move followed Saturday's 34-7 loss to Kentucky inside Neyland Stadium, which represented the biggest win ever for the Wildcats in Knoxville.

"Coach Brumbaugh did a really nice job for us and worked his tail off," Pruitt said Monday afternoon during his weekly Zoom news conference. "Sometimes, from a philosophical standpoint, things are just not a fit, and it just didn't work out for us. I'm going to coach the defensive line for the rest of the season."

Brumbaugh was hired in February to replace Tracy Rocker, whose contract was not renewed and is currently South Carolina's defensive line coach. Brumbaugh agreed to a two-year contract at $650,000 annually.

When asked about the timing of his decision, Pruitt said, "If it's not working out, it's better just to do it right now. This is no knock on Jimmy as a coach whatsoever. He's one of the most knowledgeable coaches I've been around, and he'll do a good job wherever he goes. It was just something I felt like we needed to do, and we did it."

Brumbaugh was an Auburn defensive lineman from 1995-99 who landed his first full-time coaching opportunity as the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga defensive line coach in 2005. He spent the 2013-16 seasons as a Kentucky assistant, the 2017-18 seasons at Maryland and was the defensive line coach last year at Colorado.

Pruitt, who criticized the defensive line during the preseason for not being physical enough, is not worried about his new position responsibility taking from his overall leadership of a team that opened with triumphs over South Carolina and Missouri before losses to Georgia and Kentucky.

"I've been bouncing around and helping at a lot of different positions," he said. "I've tried to spend a lot of one-on-one time with a lot of players since the start of camp, and that includes going to the offensive side. I've got plenty of help from a GA standpoint, so we'll be fine."