10. Will Tyson Helton throw it deep over the middle?
It wasn’t all his fault on Saturday, but Tyson Helton did not go for enough deep balls. Tennessee football has amazing playmakers at receiver, and Jarrett Guarantano has a big arm. As a result, given their inability to run the ball, the Vols’ best strategy to beat the West Virginia Mountaineers in hindsight would’ve been through the air.
However, the game plan was always to run it and control the clock. Part of that was using horizontal screens as well. There was no way to account for the fact that the offensive line as constructed would not be ready.
In fact, the struggles up front are a big reason that Helton couldn’t go deep as much even in the game. It was a safe bet that the line would not protect long enough for the receivers to get down the field.
In this game, though, he’ll want to take a few more shots. ETSU did give up 249 passing yards in their opener, so that appears to be their weakness. Being able to throw a few deep balls will help the line get into a rhythm blocking more as well.
Last week, the Vols got in trouble early against WVU, setting back their entire game plan. How Helton utilizes the deep ball in this game will give us a little bit better insight into the offense he’s going to run this year. That’s why this is one of the major keys to the game.