Every head coach would like a redo on some decisions they’ve made that didn’t work out, but there’s a specific decision that I’m betting Tennessee Vols head coach Jeremy Pruitt would like to have back.
The decision to not seriously pursue former Clemson quarterback Kelly Bryant.
It’s abundantly obvious after four games this season that Tennessee doesn’t have a quarterback on their roster that’s going to get the team to six wins.
Jarrett Guarantano, the incumbent starter, has been less than stellar so far this season. And the Vols’ other other options, JT Shrout and Brian Maurer, don’t appear ready to lead Tennessee just yet. There’s talent there, but they need some more experience.
Bryant would certainly be a better option than any of those three right now.
Of course, this is easy to say in retrospect. No one knew that Guarantano was going to regress this season.
Pruitt made the assumption that Guarantano would be good enough to get the Vols to six wins in 2019. He didn’t pursue Bryant because he couldn’t offer the former Clemson quarterback the starting job at Tennessee. And Bryant wasn’t going to transfer somewhere just to end up in another quarterback battle.
There’s a reason Bryant, who grew up three hours from Knoxville, was available. It’s because he lost his job at Clemson to a true freshman. It would be easy to understand why Tennessee didn’t pursue a player who didn’t keep his job over a true freshman. But Trevor Lawrence, the quarterback who took Bryant’s job, wasn’t your average true freshman last season — he was one of the best quarterbacks in the nation.
I don’t think there’s any doubt that Tennessee would be 3-1 right now with Bryant as their quarterback right now. He might’ve lost his job at Clemson, but let’s not forget that he helped Clemson reach the College Football Playoff in 2017. That’s some valuable experience that UT could use this season.
If Pruitt had it do all over again, I bet he’d choose to pursue Bryant. He’d be the perfect “bridge quarterback” to 2020 UT commit Harrison Bailey. And the Vols might be in position to reach a bowl game.
But instead, the Vols are 3-1 while Bryant has led Missouri to a 3-1 start.
Unfortunately for Pruitt, he won’t get a chance at a redo. He has to ride with the options on Tennessee’s roster.
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