Even with five retirements and a transfer, Tennessee football still can’t get any worse on the offensive line. So they can only get better, and Jeremy Pruitt has added personnel for that to be able to happen.
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The Vols have a four-star lineman who stood out in the spring, a center who missed all of last year returning to health, a five-star lineman expected to make an immediate impact this Fall, and their best lineman likely to be back. These are all reasons for improvement.
Pruitt keeping Will Friend on staff is a big reason in itself to be excited about this improvement. But more importantly, the addition of Jim Chaney should play a role in dramatically improving the offensive line.
Chaney’s speciality is coaching linemen, and unlike Tyson Helton and most offensive coordinators, he has help coaching quarterbacks. That’s Chris Weinke’s job. As a result, Chaney can focus more time on developing the line and working with Friend.
If Smith does return to health, Wright emerges and Kennedy is fully healthy, this line should be dramatically better for 2019. Again, it’s all based on potential, and depth remains an issue. But the weights are much better, as Pruitt noted at SEC Media Days. And the experience is much better as well.
Because of all that, Tennessee football won’t be great on the line, but it should be competent. The Vols have much more experience, are much healthier and have added some talent. Just being competent could allow Jarrett Guarantano to explode with all of his offensive weapons. So there are clearly signs for encouragement.