Tennessee Vols head coach Jeremy Pruitt is in a tough spot right now.
The Vols don’t appear to be a threat to win the SEC East after their 44-21 loss to the Georgia Bulldogs this past weekend.
But the team also isn’t in a spot like LSU where a losing season looks like a possibility.
Essentially, the Vols are hoping to to finish the season with a 7-3 or 6-4 record.
Should that be the goal, though?
Or would it be smarter for Pruitt to shift his focus to preparing for the 2021 season, when Tennessee could really make some noise in the SEC East?
To do that, Pruitt would need to shake up how he’s approching the quarterback positition. The Vols aren’t going very far with Jarrett Guarantano under center. They’ll likely win the games they’re supposed to win, but they aren’t upsetting Alabama with JG at quarterback.
But if a younger quarterback plays, which would be better for the future of the program (more reps equals more experience), then a 7-3 or 6-4 record might not be possible.
Fans tend to get frustrated with Guarantano’s consitency issues, but the coaching staff believes he gives the program its best chance to win right now.
“Jarrett is our quarterback. He gives us the best opportunity to have success,” said Pruitt this week.
While I don’t think the final record this season is very important, it could have a negative impact on recruiting. If the Vols finish 5-5, it could definitely impact the way top recruits view the program.
Finishing 7-3, however, could help Tennessee land a top 5-10 recruiting class.
It’s a tough decision — play the young quarterbacks and build for the future, or play Guarantano with the hope it makes the program more attractive to recruits.
I’d probably go with a mixed approach if I were Pruitt. Start JG, but also work in JT Shrout, Brian Maurer, and Harrison Bailey (Bailey should be getting the most reps) when possible.
Entering the the 2021 season with a roster full of quarterbacks that didn’t see much action in 2020 woudn’t be wise.
Pruitt needs to build for the future, while somehow salvaging the present.
It won’t be easy. But that’s why he’s the head caoch and the rest of us are just observers.
Featured image via Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports