Tennessee Vols true freshman quarterback Harrison Bailey got off to a hot start on Saturday afternoon against the Texas A&M Aggies.
The Georgia native opened the game by going 3-for-3 on the Vols’ first drive, which resulted in a 33-yard touchdown pass to tight end Jacob Warren (yes, Tennessee has a tight end on the roster!).
After that first drive, Bailey only had three more pass attempts the rest of the game.
Bailey finished 6-for-6 for 85 yards and a touchdown.
Redshirt sophomore JT Shrout finished the game 6-for-14 for 104 yards, a touchdown, and an interception (could’ve been two interceptions, but a Texas A&M defender dropped a ball that hit him in the chest).
Bailey is clearly the future of Tennessee football. He’s the most talented quarterback on the roster. Sure, Shrout has a great arm, but there are plenty of times he’s reckless with his passes (and who knows if Shrout will even return to UT next season).
So why is Bailey not playing more? Especially in a year that essentially “doesn’t count”?
The only way Bailey can progress is to get playing time. And right now, he needs as many game reps as possible. Instead, Pruitt is letting Bailey start and then limiting his playing time the rest of the game (the same thing has happened in previous weeks, too).
I get that piling on Pruitt right now is easy (the Vols are 3-7 and showed zero signs of progress this year), but I think his handling of Bailey this season — even when Bailey started getting some meaningful playing time — has been unacceptable.
If Tennessee doesn’t manage their quarterbacks better next season, they’ll end up with another dreadful record.
Whether it’s Pruitt next season or another coach, something has to change when it comes to Tennessee’s roster management.
Featured image via Knoxville News Sentinel-USA TODAY NETWORK