Tennessee football’s offensive line was historically bad in 2018. Will it be better in 2019? Here is our preview of the Volunteers at that position.
There’s no question that Tennessee football was horrible on the offensive line last year. In fact, they were historically bad. Jarrett Guarantano had some of the best advanced metrics in the nation, and Ty Chandler was one of the best with the ball, but the Vols were still outside of the top 100. And it was all because of their line.
However, they had a few legitimate excuses. For starters, Jeremy Pruitt was transitioning to a pro-style with a group of guys who had been recruited to play in the spread. Not only were they not coached to play in a pro-style, but the weren’t conditioned to play in a pro-style.
In fact, they weren’t conditioned at all. Half the unit had to miss last spring due to injuries, and all but one were from injuries dating back to the 2017 season. Then, during the year, the Vols lost their starting center in the season-opener and their best lineman midway through the year.
Simply put, Tennessee football was at a major disadvantage the whole time. This offseason, though, it got worse with Drew Richmond transferring to the USC Trojans and then Chance Hall, Tanner Antonutti, Devante Brooks and Eric Crosby all having to retire due to health issues. Even a new recruit, Melvin McBride, had to retire medically.
So that leaves the Vols with…what? Well, even with McBride’s retirement, the Vols had a historically great recruiting class on the line with four other guys, including three four-stars, one of whom everybody agreed had five-star talent, and one five-star. Those four guys immediately boost this unit.
Also, some recruits from last year have more experience in the system. The unit was healthier in the spring. And their starting center is back with their best lineman healthy enough to practice and likely to return.
But what does this all mean for the Vols? Well, in this preview, we’ll try to break down the entire unit. So let’s go ahead and take a look at where they stand here. This is our analysis of the Tennessee football offensive line heading into the 2019 season.