As we said earlier, Tennessee football needs playmakers on offense. The West Virginia Mountaineers will come away with some big plays, and while the Vols can limit that by controlling the clock, they need some big plays on their own.
If Ty Chandler is the full-time starter at running back or even the specialist there, he’ll be more important than Callaway. But right now, running back is an uncertain roster spot. Based on the depth chart released Monday, Callaway is one of only four guys who have a safe starting spot on the offense right now.
And he’s the only wideout. This is huge because it doesn’t matter if Keller Chryst or Jarrett Guarantano starts at quarterback. The key for either of them will be to have a big-play guy they can rely on and throw it up to. Callaway is that guy.
Jauan Jennings is back from injury, Josh Palmer has raw but untapped potential, and Brandon Johnson is covering up glaring weaknesses in the slot right now. That’s out of position for him. As a result, Callaway is the one who needs to come through on offense.
Vols fans remember Callaway coming up big in early games anyway. Last year against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, Callaway made numerous big plays to help them win the game. He’s amazing with the ball in open space, can leap up to make catches, and has great hands.
By the way, as bad as their rush offense was, West Virginia had a terrible pass defense as well. It ranked No. 97 in the nation and allowed nearly 250 yards per game and nearly eight yards a pass attempt. To be fair, though, WVU plays in the pass-happy Big 12. But they clearly have issues that Callaway could exploit.