Tennessee Vols head coach Jeremy Pruitt knows how he’s planning to use his quarterbacks against the Missouri Tigers on Saturday, but he has no intentions of telling anyone before the game.
Pruitt said during Vol Calls on Wednesday night that Tennessee has picked the two quarterbacks they’ll use “this week”. He added “We’ve decided as a staff. We’re just going to keep it to ourselves until we get to Missouri.”
It’s a wise move by Pruitt. There’s absolutely no benefit to revealing their plan against the Tigers. As a result, Missouri has to be prepared for all three of the Vols’ quarterbacks (as well as wide receiver Jauan Jennings, who has lined up at quarterback multiple times this season).
But even though Pruitt is keeping Tennessee’s plan close to the vest, I think it’s pretty obvious how the Vols will use their quarterbacks against Missouri.
It seems like a no brainer that redshirt junior Jarrett Guarantano and true freshman Brian Maurer will be the two quarterbacks that Pruitt uses against the Tigers. Redshirt freshman JT Shrout has been in the mix lately (he started against UAB), but he’s only thrown six passes for the Vols since tossing for 122 yards against South Carolina in late October.
The next question, of course, is which quarterback will start for Tennessee on Saturday.
Pruitt, for what it’s worth, believes in Guarantano’s ability to play off the bench.
Tennessee coach Jeremy Pruitt didn’t commit to bringing junior QB Jarrett Guarantano off the bench in the final 2 games, but he did say `I do think he’s more suited to coming off the bench than the other guys’ due to his age and maturity and processing things from the sideline.
— Jimmy Hyams (@JimmyHyams) November 13, 2019
With that in mind, and Pruitt’s confirmation on Thursday night that Tennessee plans to use two quarterbacks on Saturday, it seems likely that Maurer will start against the Tigers.
I think Guarantano has played better than Maurer lately, but I don’t think he’s played well enough for Pruitt to use him exclusively. The multi quarterback system with Guarantano coming off the bench has worked well during Tennessee’s recent hot streak.
Why change a system that’s been working?
Guarantano, assuming there are no injuries, will probably receive the bulk of the snaps against Missouri.
But I’d bet on Maurer being the first quarterback on the field for the Vols.
Don’t fix it if it ain’t broke.
Featured image via Bryan Lynn-USA TODAY Sports