When Tennessee Vols head coach Jeremy Pruitt hired Jim Chaney in early 2019 to serve as UT’s offensive coordinator, it was a move that was celebrated by most fans.
Two years and plenty of offensive struggles later, though, and those same fans are ready to be done with Chaney.
Tennessee’s offense hasn’t been very good this season. It’s lacked creativity. The Vols are averaging 40 rushing attempts per game, but only 27 pass attempts per game. That’s not what we typically see from a Chaney offense.
Chaney was criticized at times at Georgia for passing the ball too much and not relying enough on his stud running backs. Nick Chubb even famously met with Chaney one time, imploring the offensive coordinator to run the ball more.
So what’s the deal at Tennessee this season?
Pruitt made it clear this week that he wants the offense to be more explosive. He wants to challenge defenders.
“I think that what we have to do is call the plays that we rep in practice, call the plays that we’ve got to be more aggressive,” said Pruitt during Vol Calls this week. “I look at particularly this last game here, we never threatened Arkansas down the field.”
“We didn’t make them cover us all over the field, and we’ve got to do a much better job of that as a staff in making a team cover us all 53-and-a-third yards and vertical down the field, too.”
Pruitt wants the offense to take more chances down the field. Chaney traditionally is the guy who takes too many chances down the field.
The reason that’s not happening this season, however, is the presence of quarterback Jarrett Guarantano. Chaney clearly doesn’t trust JG. He’s not going to give the redshirt senior quarterback those options.
Pruitt, on the other hand, believes JG is the player that gives Tennessee the best chance to win. Specifically, because he isn’t a turnover machine.
But Guarantano isn’t capable of making those plays down the field. He’s proved that time and time again.
If Pruitt wants the offense to perform at a higher level, he has to give Chaney the tools to make it happen.
With JG starting, it severely hampers Chaney’s ability to call an aggressive game.
That’s why this season’s offensive struggles are squarely on Pruitt, not Chaney.
It’s not going to get better until true freshman Harrison Bailey is Tennessee’s starting quarterback. If Pruitt continues to ride with JG, we’re going to continue to see an offensive attack that lacks any creativity.
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