Tennessee football: A case for starting Jarrett Guarantano against Indiana State

KNOXVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 29: A general view of Neyland Stadium during the South Carolina Gamecocks game against the Tennessee Volunteers on October 29, 2011 in Knoxville, Tennessee. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
KNOXVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 29: A general view of Neyland Stadium during the South Carolina Gamecocks game against the Tennessee Volunteers on October 29, 2011 in Knoxville, Tennessee. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /

Here is the argument for Tennessee football quarterback Jarrett Guarantano to start for the Volunteers against the Indiana State Sycamores Saturday.

Related Story: 5 most important Vols to watch for vs. Indiana St.

Everyone is still trying to figure out how Tennessee football won its opener against Georgia Tech. Quinten Dormady had issues settling in, receivers didn’t step up until late and the rush defense was embarrassing.

If you tuned into Tennessee football on Labor Day, the “cardiac kids” didn’t fail to give fans quite a few palpitations throughout the night with Georgia Tech. Check out the highlights here.

The Vols managed a stunning victory of 42-41 despite numerous and careless errors. This makes Tennessee the first SEC East team to defeat Tech in their last 4 match ups against the conference.

However, the stats do them no favors.

Tech managed a net total of 655 yards. In the beginning, the defense seemed to have a hold on their triple option; until they started to crumble. When you consider that Tech had possession for 41 out of 60 minutes, though, you can maybe understand Tennessee’s defense was a bit winded.

But one of the main issues I noticed was how out of sync Dormady seemed at quarterback in the first half of the game. He only managed 52 passing yards and was 8-20 in his attempts. First game jitters, maybe?

By the end of the night, though, he achieved a miraculous turnaround: 20-37 passing record, 227 yards and 2 touchdown throws. Not bad, all things considered. However, if there’s a true quarterback competition going on (which, I think there should be), Jarrett Guarantano should start against Indiana St. this Saturday.

Must Read: Smokey Points: Top 5 Vols who performed vs. Georgia Tech


To be completely honest, I’m not sure if there is any real quarterback competition happening. If there is, perhaps head coach Butch Jones might demonstrate a bit more faith in Guarantano. At least enough to start him at the top of the 2nd half against Ga. Tech.

More from Vols Football

Dormady is probably the guy the staff has had in their head all along as the starter. In the Orange and White game, they only allowed Guarantano to pass 5 times, 4 of which were completed. They never gave him the option of a quarterback draw and didn’t let him play once against Georgia Tech, even though all of Vol Nation expected 2 QB’s on Monday night.

His attitude about the whole situation was very unprofessional on the sidelines. Still, you can’t help but wonder why Butch didn’t put him in. This Saturday, Tennessee football plays Indiana St., a cupcake team that should be an easy victory for them.

Guarantano deserves a chance to start that game. I understand there was a lot on the line for the Georgia Tech game and taking risks by changing up game plans can prove to be game enders. I mean, Tech went for 2 points in double OT, and look what happened.

Say the Vols start Dormady against Indiana St. They build a comfortable lead on them like they did against Tennessee Tech last year, then Guarantano comes in to relieve Dormady and get reps. How does that demonstrate any competition between the two? There’s nothing at stake for Guarantano.

If they don’t allow Jarrett to perform under pressure and/or lead the team to put points on the board when it’s needed, then there’s nothing to lose. There was never much competition to begin with.

Must Read: Grading the Vols in their win vs. Georgia Tech


You shouldn’t have a poor attitude on the sidelines when your team pulls off a huge win to kick off the season. However, it’s hard to understand why JG may have been puzzled. To feel like you legitimately had a shot to make a difference and then coaches don’t put you in once, you probably don’t feel trusted.

That’s difficult to deal with. If you’re fighting to be a leader and your coaches lack faith in you, what else can you do?

For this to be a fair competition, Guarantano should start on Saturday. Let’s see him scramble, send his throws down the field and get Neyland Stadium to their highest decibel. It’s worth trying.

Dormady has demonstrated maturity and his ability to get the job done. Though Guarantano is a only a freshman, there’s no way the Vols can realize their true potential unless they put people like him up to the test.

Next: Dormady had the best debut of any Vols QB in history

If Guarantano proves he still has maturing to do, then so be it. Dormady will be the guy and could be great. But how will anybody know for sure that he’s the guy if the Vols don’t try with Guarantano?