Biggest questions at tight end
1. How much will the Vols incorporate the tight ends in the passing game?
Tennessee football is converting to a pro-style offense that demands more physicality for the tight ends. Part of that is a transition to more of a focus on blocking for them. Nick Saban’s offenses did that, so you could understand why Jeremy Pruitt would. On top of that, Tyson Helton’s system is about creating mismatches for receivers specifically.
Because of all this, it’s reasonable to ask if the Vols will use the tight end in the passing game as much as Butch Jones’s staff did. It’s not a big deal either way, but you have to wonder. Looking at the history of the pro-style in Knoxville, the tight end has been very valuable in the past. But it always depended on the personnel if Rocky Top used one as a receiver. We don’t know if anybody fits that mold yet on this roster, so there’s a chance the Vols just use them as blockers.
2. Will Jeremy Pruitt and Tyson Helton line up three tight ends often?
We’ve heard that Pruitt and Helton are using the fullback system more. That is likely a tight end lining up at that position. On top of that, the Vols have numerous questions about their situation at slot receiver. As a result, there is a chance they’ll need the tight ends to step up more than the average team would.
So could the coaches line up three tight ends? Pruitt specifically alluded to that idea in his introductory press conference, as we noted. We also said that he clearly seems to be emphasizing the position this offseason. That leads to the possibility that he does do this to make UT more physical. It would be a really interesting look if he did.
3. Are there any standout players at the position yet?
Tennessee football did lose its top tight end of the last four years in Ethan Wolf. The year before, they lost Jason Croom. So the Vols do still have some questions at the position as nobody is fully proven there yet. With the praise of Eli Wolf and the hype of Dominick Wood-Anderson, you figure there are already standout stars. But can we be sure of that?
This is a question that will dictate exactly what type of offense the Vols want to run this year. If the Vols can’t line up multiple tight ends, which gets to our previous question, they could be in trouble. But you need one guy to stand out as a playmaker usually. We don’t know if that applies to the Vols yet.