The news we already knew is official: The Jarrett Guarantano era will officially begin on Saturday when Tennessee faces South Carolina at home.
Tennessee head coach Butch Jones confirmed on Wednesday that Guarantano will receive the starting nod over junior Quinten Dormady, who started the first five games of the season.
“He’s worked very, very hard,” Jones said. “… As I’ve continued to say all year long, the quarterback is a byproduct of execution and everyone around them.”
So far this season, the redshirt freshman has thrown only 24 passes, completing 12 of them for 54 yards and a touchdown. Although the Gamecocks rank 82nd nationally in pass defense, Jones still understands the importance of putting Guarantano in a position to succeed.
“We’ve got to get a good gameplan for him,” Jones said. “… Each game is different in and of itself.”
As for Dormady, despite speculation that he’s contemplating his future with the program, the junior allegedly had one of his best practices yesterday and didn’t lose the starting position necessarily through any fault of his own.
“It’s no reflection on Quinten, it’s individuals around him,” Jones said. “Quinten has done some good things. You’re always looking for what gives you the best chance to win football games. The scheme is the scheme; the scheme is in place.”
Saturday’s game NOT a revenge game
Tennessee’s loss to South Carolina last season was arguably the worst of Jones’ coaching career. However, the fifth-year coach doesn’t necessarily believe last year’s devastating loss will have much of an impact come noon on Saturday.
“This is a new team,” Jones said. “We have some veterans who remember last year’s game… these games have always been close.”
Each of the last five meetings between the two programs has been decided by three points or fewer, with the Vols winning three of those games. However, South Carolina leads the series overall since the turn of the decade, 4-3.
Jones revealed that both Evan Berry and Jakob Johnson are out against the Gamecocks. However, Jones said that both are progressing well.
According to Jones, there is no timetable on Berry’s return.