I want to be fair right out of the gate and say this is not his fault. But dating back to the South Carolina Gamecocks of last year, it’s important to note that Tennessee football has not yet won a game that Jarrett Guarantano started and finished.
Dating back to when the Vols made the switch from Quinten Dormady after their loss to the Georgia Bulldogs in 2017, the only game they won was against the Southern Miss Golden Eagles 24-10, and Will McBride finished that one. So Guarantano has a lot to prove.
Last Saturday’s loss to the West Virginia Mountaineers was by no means his fault. But he still needs to show he can start a game off strong enough to give his team a win, and that’s where this match-up comes in.
Right now, Guarantano has shown himself to be a guy who will make the right throws, and he’ll especially play it safe if he’s under pressure. However, he’s the one with the big arm. And the Vols do have lots of playmakers at receiver.
As a result, despite the fact that he is just now learning the pro-style offense at the college level, it’s time for Guarantano to put on a show. He needs to use this game to entertain fans with his big arm and give just a bit more of a glimpse into what Tyson Helton is putting together. Part of this is letting him throw deep, and another part is giving him protection.