4. Firm belief in Jarrett Guarantano
It is pretty clear that Jarrett Guarantano is the foundation for Tennessee football to build its program in its second year under Jeremy Pruitt. Guarantano is only a junior, but Pruitt specifically turned to him as one of the three leaders at SEC Media Days. That should say enough.
However, Pruitt also touted his abilities, noting that he is smart, has arm strength and can make plays with his athleticism. Since he took over the Vols, Pruitt has been touting Guarantano’s play, and nothing was different on Tuesday.
"“He’s a tough guy, and I think everybody in this room that’s covered Tennessee football for the last three years knows and respects the fact that he has toughness.”"
In fact, Pruitt had even more praise for him, noting that he can trust Guarantano at the line of scrimmage. Putting more faith in him and not just praising his game management was a big step overall in the emphasis he has on Guarantano.
One of the points of the day that proved Pruitt’s emphasis on Guarantano was, again, his interview with the SEC Now team. At that point, he made a unique point to reveal just how much stock he is putting in Guarantano.
Pruitt noted that the coaching changes in the offseason revolved around working with Guarantano. After Tyson Helton left, he said that he brought on Jim Chaney and moved Chris Weinke over so Guarantano could solely have a quarterbacks coach working with him while the offensive coordinator, obviously Chaney, can focus on everything.
"“We need somebody who can coach the quarterback every single snap because the ball goes through his hands.”"
For better or worse, the Vols will go as Guarantano goes this year, provided he stays healthy. Pruitt has been hinting at that all offseason, but he took it to another level on Tuesday in Hoover, so the pressure is on the redshirt junior.