2. Development of Tennessee football offensive line
We talked about how badly the Vols struggled on the offensive line last week. Jarrett Guarantano couldn’t really take advantage of his big arm or his playmakers at receiver down the field because he just didn’t have enough time to throw the ball a lot.
The Vols got in that situation because they couldn’t run the ball consistently or execute screens well on offense. As a result, this week, the offensive line needs to be much better. One bright spot for the unit is that it got much better in the second half.
Only Brandon Kennedy, who is a four-star center familiar with that position at this level and in the pro-style offense, didn’t have an excuse for performing so poorly. However, as Jeremy Pruitt noted, he didn’t join the team until fall camp. Unfortunately, VolQuest reports that he is now out for the season. So there’s more work to do at center now.
Pretty much the entire line was made of guys starting for the Vols for the first time at a specific position or guys who missed all of spring ball. So there is plenty of developing to do, and maybe they can get better this week.
The guys need to do that. East Tennessee State University had four sacks and 11 tackles for a loss in their opener, so they can rush the passer and make an impact. Even as a smaller school, that could be dangerous for the Vols.
Perhaps this is just the type of challenge Tennessee football needs for its offensive line to develop. They are playing a decent pass rush at a smaller level, so they can develop while building confidence at the same time if they play well. But given the first half against WVU, that could work totally against them also.