The Tennessee Vols struggled offensively at times last season mostly because of poor play from their offensive line.

Quarterback Jarrett Guarantano took a lot of unnecessary hits because of protection breakdowns.

With offensive coordinator Jim Chaney now on board, and newcomers like offensive linemen Wanya Morris and Darnell Wright primed to make a contribution, there’s plenty of hope that the offense will take a major step forward in 2019.

Something else that could help the Vols in 2019 is a change that Jim Chaney will implement that should alleviate some of the protection issues that plagued Tennessee last season.

Guarantano told reporters on Friday that under Chaney he will have more control of the offense — specifically when it comes to protections.

I always think it’s a good idea for the players on the field to have control of the protections, though I understand why some younger quarterbacks/centers aren’t granted those privileges.

In Guarantano’s case, I think the rising redshirt junior has the necessary experience to make protection calls. Even though this will be a new offensive system, he has two years of experience in the SEC. He’s seen what some of the best opposing defenses in the country have to offer.

Letting the quarterback call the protections might seem like a minor change. And on the surface it certainly is minor.

But I think it’s a minor change that could end up paying huge dividends for the Vols in 2019.

Chaney is a well regarded, successful offensive coordinator. He knows what works and what doesn’t work. Obviously whatever the Volunteers did last season didn’t work.

This isn’t a change he’d make if he didn’t think it would give Tennessee the best possible chance to win games next season.

Featured image via Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

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