QUESTIONS & ANSWERS
Q: How many targets did Jauan Jennings have and why didn’t we throw to him more?
A: Jauan Jennings was only targeted two-times– both were complete for a total of 29 yards (14.5 yd average). I think as the season progresses you will see Jennings receive more targets from Guarantano. Although Guarantano looked solid there wasn’t a lot of time for the receivers to run a full route due to the pressure of the West Virginia defense.
Q: Did they ever find the O-line that was missing and where was Todd Kelly?
A: The offensive line was an obvious problem throughout the game. There were moments during the game where they gave Guarantano time to pass the ball and created holes for the running backs, but as a whole they under-performed. The key will be the health of Trey Smith moving forward– if his injury lingers then Tennessee could be in for a long season.
Todd Kelly did not make the trip to Charlotte and there is no indication of why, but he is coming off of knee surgery which could be the reason why.
Q: Are we ever going to be good again? Like consistently 9+ wins a season good?
A: Imagine riding your bike down Cumberland Avenue. Out of nowhere you run over a banana peal, fly over the handle bars, and land on your head– after several minutes of being unconscious you awaken and realize you have a massive concussion which causes you to accidentally stumble onto the street where you ultimately get hit by a bus. You somehow survive and awaken once more to find yourself in the back of an ambulance surrounded by paramedics. You are worried about the extent of your injuries, but then one of the paramedics looks you in the eye and tells you that everything is going to fine… you breathe a sigh-of-relief knowing things are going to be alright! The paramedic reaches for his radio to inform the nearest hospital that they are a mile away and that you’re in stable condition. Out of nowhere the ambulance’s right tire blows out flipping the ambulance over the railing of a bridge.
That was a short story of what the last decade has felt like for Tennessee fans. Vol Nation has become accustomed to disappointment and it seems like it’s never going to end, but everything must come to an end and that includes the misery suffered by every Vols fan over the last decade. I truly believe that Tennessee football is on the brinks of getting out of this contagious funk.
Jeremy Pruitt will get us back to our winning ways.
Q: Can the secondary unit be fixed or improved, or is this the best they have on campus? Will that be the biggest Achilles heel against guys like Franks, Lock, Tua, Fromm?
A: I’m not sure if the secondary will meet expectations this season, but there is definitely room to improve. You can’t teach speed and that was something they were obviously lacking against a quicker West Virginia offense. There were several freshmen like Trevon Flowers and Alantae Taylor who played in the secondary, which could be concerning moving forward due to the fact that the starters from last season saw less playing time than kids who were playing high school ball this time last year.
I hate to say it, but QB’s like Fromm, Tua, and Lock will have a field day with Tennessee’s secondary this season. The only positive about the secondary is that a lot of younger players will get in-game reps against some of the best talent in the country– could help in the long run, but not this season.
Q: Why’d we only throw it to Dominick Wood-Anderson one time?
A: Tight ends will look different in Pruitt’s offense compared to previous seasons. They will be used more in the blocking game than they will as pass catchers, but I also expect Dominick Wood-Anderson to see a lot of targets inside the red zone. He has the potential to create matchup problems for a lot of defenses this season.
Q: I know it’s only one game, but Do you think JG is QB1 or once Chryst learns the playbook he’s the answer?
A: Based off Guarantano’s performance last night he will continue to start and unless JG digresses I don’t see Chryst starting over him. Tennessee has upcoming games against East TN State & UTEP so expect to see Keller Chryst get some extended playing time.
As far as the playbook– He played in a very similar offense when he was under center at Stanford, which is why Pruitt brought him to Tennessee. Chryst is a very talented player, but lacks the chemistry that Guarantano has gained during his time at Tennessee.
Q: If the OL play continues to be spotty, could we see more spreading the field even with the QB under center?
A: If the offensive line continues to be spotty giving JG limited time to make plays then it’s a big possibility we’ll see the ball coming out of Guarantano’s hands quicker than he’d like. This would also make Tennessee’s offense very predictable for defenses, which could be a disaster after scoring only 14 points against an average West Virginia defense.
Q: Do you think with how Guarantano played yesterday they will open the playbook up some more?
A: This question could go hand-in-hand with the previous question– It all depends on the offensive line. Guarantano looked light-years ahead of where he was last season. His passing ability was noticeably better as he was putting the ball right where it needed to be for his wide receivers to make a play. If the offensive line works together and becomes a stronger unit then they will definitely give JG a bigger play selection.
Q: How can both lines improve?
The defensive line looked like the same disaster that it has been the last 3-seasons. I’ve never seen a defensive line with that much talent look softer than a padded room full of puppies. If someone told them they must get at least 3-sacks in one game or all of humanity would be eliminated– we’d might as well start digging our own graves. The defensive line can an average secondary look like a great secondary which is why our secondary has been a complete joke as of late. I’m not saying it can’t happen, but it won’t happen, which is why Jeremy Pruitt had 13 commits in the 2019 recruiting class on the defensive side of the ball before Tennessee took their first snap of the season. He already knew
The offensive line will improve as the season progresses and will be a well-rounded group by seasons end.
Q: Will this loss damage the psyche of some of the older players? Will they say to themselves, “Here we go again”?
A: Tennessee took a big loss on Saturday, but you can’t ignore the fact that they looked much improved at numerous positions. The players seem to respect Jeremy Pruitt’s style of coaching and his no “BS” personality. These players are used to a head coach that blamed everyone but himself, so you know the players respect the way their new coach blamed himself after the loss to West Virginia. A team works harder when they have a leader who doesn’t constantly bitch about their shortcomings.
With that being said– No, I do not think it will damage the psyche of the older players.
Q: How excited should Vol fans be about Alontae Taylor?
A: Very excited. It didn’t take long for Alontae to make his presence known during the first-quarter of Saturday’s game when he partially blocked a punt. He made some rookie mistakes, but that is expected for a kid who was playing in his first collegiate game.
I think Alontae will be a big time play maker for years to come.