Athlon Sports took answers from SEC coaches about other teams apart of the conference. Here is what a few coaches had to say about the Vols.
Tennessee football has been down in the dumps the past few years. And, we all know about last season which ended up as the worst season in program history. Having Derek Dooley and Butch Jones back-to-back could be the worst decisions in Tennessee history.
Enough of putting the readers down, with Jeremy Pruitt at the helm, the Vols are unquestionably on the rise. In the 247Sports rankings, Tennessee has moved all the way up to No. 13 in the nation. We wrote a piece a while ago saying Tennessee’s 2019 recruiting class would be a top-ten class. You can read that here.
Pruitt and company are earning respect and here is what some coaches anonymously said about the Vols. We will quote what the coach said and give our takes on what we think about the comment. And, of course, you want my takes. I’m only the best armchair college football coach in all the land.
"“There are some really good quarterbacks in this league, and not many were more highly ranked than Jarrett Guarantano. But he sure didn’t play very well last year when he got a chance. He holds onto the ball too long and takes some unnecessary hits. He has to step his game up. People thought he would step in and be like Joshua Dobbs, but Dobbs is a better thrower than people thought, and he made plays with his feet. Guarantano, I don’t think, is a dual threat like people think. He has a good, live arm, but he’s not a dynamic spread-offense runner. To be fair, I don’t know that he is surrounded by a lot of weapons on the perimeter.”"
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Okay, let’s hold on a minute, he didn’t play well? I know his numbers weren’t great, but I wouldn’t go as far as he didn’t play well. Jarrett Guarantano did the most with what he had. Sure, did he hold on to the ball a little long? Yes.
However, it was clear he was trying to make a big play happen. Sometimes, and he will learn, that some big plays happen when you take what the defense gives you. And, he will learn that with time and a better coaching staff.
Tennessee fans, you have to hope Jauan Jennings is reading this quote. No weapons on the perimeter, seriously? Again, the offense as a whole struggled last season, and the receivers were young in experience. However, there was talent on the field.
Another quote about Guarantano with Tyson Helton.
"“It will be interesting to see what they do with Tyson Helton as the coordinator. I think they are going to more of a pro-style or traditional offense. We’ll see if that fits with what Guarantano can do well.”"
Fellow site-expert thinks grad transfer Keller Chyrst will be the starting quarterback next season. You can read his projections here. I, on the other hand, tend to believe Guarantano will start the season. Helton should do wonders for all the quarterbacks on the roster.
This next quote is about Jeremy Pruitt and his defense.
"“They have done a poor job stopping the run in the past few years. I don’t think they are very big or strong in their front seven, and I don’t think they have the players on the perimeter at the corner positions that Coach Pruitt and that group is used to having. I think they are okay at safety. They have a good player in Nigel Warrior. He’s someone they can build around.”"
This SEC coach has been watching a lot of Tennessee football. The Vols have been horrible up front on both sides of the ball. The offensive line struggling was the main reason the offense couldn’t move the ball.
And, the defensive line couldn’t stop a little league running back at some points during the season. I would prove it, but I’m not a running back, just a coach. However, they are going to get better under Pruitt.
SEC coaches might hate on the Vols at the moment, and they can for a while. However, the way Pruitt is recruiting, the Vols will be back to the top of the SEC very soon.