On Saturday night, in the fourth quarter of Tennessee’s football game at Alabama, the Volunteers had an opportunity to cut into their deficit. Trailing 28-13, Tennessee had the ball at Crimson Tide two yard-line.
On first and goal, quarterback Jarrett Guarantano attempted to sneak the ball in with a run up the middle. He fumbled, however, and Alabama returned the ball 100 yards for the touchdown that sealed the game and the Crimson Tide’s 35-13 win.
While the turnover was tough enough, it was what happened afterward that’s incited plenty of scrutiny.
As Guarantano sauntered to the sideline, he received an earful from his coach, Jeremy Pruitt. But in the process, Pruitt momentarily grabbed Guarantano’s helmet facemask.
The incident has spurred plenty of criticism, but also support via social media. As of Wednesday afternoon, the conversation was overwhelmingly negative, according to a social media listening summary on Social Studio.
Individual response has generated a number of notable posts. Reporters and athletes have been among the most vocal and negative about Pruitt’s actions, condemning them.
This post, from a member of the Knoxville media, brushed aside any criticism of the tweet. It’s fallen in line with other posts that have backed Pruitt and his actions.
That’s included the father of one high school football player, Jalin Hyatt, who is committed to play football for the Vols. Hyatt is a member of the 2020 class and will arrive in Knoxville next year.
Overall, the incident doesn’t appear to have had any immediate effects past some dissent on social media. On Tuesday, Tennessee received three commitments to accept a scholarship from three linebackers from Memphis. All three recruits are ranked as four-star prospects according to Rivals.com.
We’ll continue to monitor the social media pulse from our home in east Tennessee.