Tennessee Vols head coach Jeremy Pruitt is in a tough spot after UT’s recent loss to the Georgia Bulldogs.
Redshirt senior quarterback Jarrett Guarantano has hit his ceiling. He’s not going to improve much from here. He is what he is at this point.
Guarantano is a tough quarterback who doesn’t often make bad decisions. He takes care of the ball, which is why Pruitt is willing to stick with him.
Pruitt, like most head coaches, hates the thought of turnovers. He hates them so much that he’s willing to play the quarterback that he believes will commit the fewest turnovers.
Unfortunately for the Vols, Guarantano is also the quarterback that’s least likely to deliver big plays.
And big plays are a necessity win it comes to winning tough conference games.
So what does Pruitt do from here?
The easy answer would be to play one of the other quarterbacks on the roster.
Sophomore Brian Maurer didn’t have a great fall. True freshman Harrison Bailey hasn’t had nearly enough practice reps (thanks to contact tracing and no spring practice).
Maybe redshirt sophomore JT Shrout could get a shot. He has arm talent. And he’s been on the roster for three seaons. Shrout should be ready to go by this point. There’s no excuse for him to not to be.
The only reason that Pruitt isn’t giving another quarterback a shot
While Guarantano has a limited ceiling, he probably gives the Vols their best chance to finish 7-3 or 6-4 this season.
I feel like Pruitt is unlikely to roll with another quarterback, out of fear that Tennessee will finish 5-5 (which wouldn’t be good for recruiting purposes).
Essentially, I feel like Pruitt is using Guarantano to keep the program on a slight upward trajectory until Bailey is ready. He’s not willing to throw a young quarterback into the fire and risk a loss to a team the Vols should beat.
I get it. The Vols have to land elite recruits or they’ll never be able to compete with Georgia and Alabama. A 7-3 final record is much more attractive to recruits than a 5-5 record.
But the other quarterbacks need game reps. In fact, they should’ve received some reps at the end of the Georgia game.
What happens if Guarantano goes down?
Then Tennessee would be in a really bad spot.
I don’t eveny Pruitt right now. The decision isn’t nearly as clear as folks on social media make it out to be.
Roll with JG and hope for 7-3? Or go with one of the young guys and hope they spring an upset over Alabama?
I’m not sure there’s a right answer.
And whatever Pruitt chooses will likely be wrong in the eyes of the fans.
But that’s why he’s making nearly $4 million a year.
Featured image via Tennessee Athletic Communications