The Tennessee Volunteers couldn’t have asked for better timing for a bye week. After two embarrassing losses to Kentucky and Alabama, it’s back to the drawing board for Jeremy Pruitt and staff. Its noticeable that the team is feeling uninspired and the coaches’ passion isn’t present. This next game could be Pruitt’s biggest game of his Volunteer career, if we lose to Arkansas, it’s over. So let’s talk about what the Volunteers HAVE to improve on coming out of the bye week.
Better Quarterback Play
The elephant in the room Jarrett Guarantano. He has NOT performed like a 5th year senior quarterback. Majority of the fan base thought we’d see a quarterback change but we haven’t. It’s critical for Pruitt to create a healthy quarterback competition this week, it was reported that Harrison Bailey and Brain Maurer have been getting more reps. If Jarrett Guarantano really is the best quarterback we have, then we have a problem and he’ll have to improve majorly in every area. Hopefully some of these other quarterbacks will show their talent since a lot of time was cut due to COVID-19.
Secondary Needs Work
Before the season started, the secondary seemed like one of position we were actually confident in. So far, the Vols secondary rank 9th in the SEC giving up passing yards. It was reported that Bryce Thompson is dealing with a tore pectoral muscle and Alontae Taylor has been dealing with a hamstring injury since the Kentucky game. Even though there has been some injuries, the Vols still have depth. In order for the Volunteers to have success they’ll need to play tighter coverage, it seems like wide receivers have been open all season. Another stat, Tennessee has only forced 2 interceptions and only one has came from the secondary. Hopefully these 2 weeks go nice and slow so we can get everyone healthy and create a tighter bond in the secondary.
On paper, this offensive line is one of the best lines in the country and at times they’ve shown flashes of just that. Last week, we were shown that running ball is a priority for the Volunteers, especially if Guarantano is the quarterback against Arkansas. Pass blocking,minus the Georgia game, has been really successful this year, but running ball has seemed hard at times. Tennessee has to show in the last half of the season that they can dominate the line of scrimmage.