4. Consistency among the Vols quarterbacks
On Saturday, Jarrett Guarantano completed 19-of-25 passes for 172 yards and a touchdown with no interceptions in the Vols’ 40-14 loss to the West Virginia Mountaineers. Those numbers are highly efficient, but they are nothing spectacular.
As we noted, Guarantano often took the safe route despite having the big arm, which is why we brought up Tyson Helton’s play-calling. And he did miss on a second half pass on their final drive of significance, which stalled on fourth down.
So despite Guarantano deserving no blame for what happened Saturday, don’t go around singing his praises too heavily just yet. Jeremy Pruitt said it didn’t matter how great or poor he played; both quarterbacks would get an opportunity against the East Tennessee State Buccaneers.
With Keller Chryst having the chance to prove himself, you could see the team fall out of rhythm a bit in this game. After all, it’s an old cliche that is still true. Two quarterbacks competing with each other can cause issues with the team when it carries into the season.
We know that Pruitt’s mentor, Nick Saban, is horrible at managing quarterback competitions. Could he be worse? If so, given everything else we mentioned, ETSU could have the perfect storm of things happen to make this a game.
This is also a key for the season, though, not just this game. Tennessee football still hasn’t sorted out its quarterback situation despite Guarantano’s play on Saturday. They need to see what Chryst can do. As a result, the play of both will be huge against the Bucs.