Let’s start with the negatives since this unit is on the bottom half of our list. Tennessee football doesn’t yet have a quarterback behind Jarrett Guarantano who has played a snap of college ball, which makes depth a huge issue, especially since Guarantano was knocked out of three games last year.
Meanwhile, Guarantano himself is 6-12 as a starter, quarterbacked an offense outside of the top 100 last year, and averaged fewer than 160 passing yards a game. So no matter what’s been said about him in the offseason, these are major issues.
However, there are some positives. Chris Weinke, who coached running backs last year, is coaching the quarterbacks this year. A Heisman Trophy winner who has coached in the NFL and won a national title with the Florida State Seminoles can only help. Jim Chaney’s offensive schemes as Tyson Helton’s replacement are likely to help as well.
Then you look at Guarantano himself, and he showed some real flashes last year. He led the SEC in completion percentage while under pressure, and he was also under pressure more than any other SEC quarterback. Combine that with his nearly eight yards an attempt and four-to-one touchdown-to-interception ratio, and he clearly has very efficient numbers.
Meanwhile, JT Shrout and Brian Maurer, despite not playing any college ball, both practiced with the offense in the spring, and Shrout has two years of experience in it now after redshirting in 2018. So Jeremy Pruitt has brought in the potential, and there is some production.
Guarantano showed more flashes than the line or tight ends last year, which is why we have the quarterback position higher on the list. The earlier factors, though, still have to keep it near the bottom for now.