For at least a week, the Vols fan-base can breathe. The BYE week couldn’t have come at a better time in the season.
Tennessee needed the time to practice and focus on the things they weren’t doing right. Jeremy Pruitt has preached for weeks that the young guys need more reps. So far, that has been accomplished.
Hopefully, have two weeks of practice, the Vols can turn things around on the field. Here are three things I would love to see improved so Pruitt can get this season turned around.
Improved Pass Coverage From The Linebackers
Most thought the linebacking group would be one that would improve throughout the season. There were a lot of players that would be learning on the job, minus Henry To’o To’o.
As good as Hank T is, even he has struggled at times in coverage.
Pruitt mentioned the Vols gave up 97 yards after contact against Alabama. Of course, that stat isn’t all on the linebackers, but they had a lot of missed tackles.
On a positive note, the Vols don’t face any offense the last five games that scare me. Well, other than Florida. If this group can get back to the basics, they should help Tennessee win a few games.
More Pressure From The Defensive Line
When Pruitt announced he was coaching the defensive line after firing Jimmy Brumbaugh, I questioned the move. But, after a moment of reflection, I realized the defensive line hasn’t been great this season. They haven’t been bad, but they haven’t been game-changing.
Through the first five games of the season, the defensive line has ten total sacks.
The defensive line is going to have a chance to prove themselves in the next five games. In the SEC, both lines of scrimmage are important for success. The Vols need the d-line to step up.
Quarterback Play HAS To Be Better
Jarrett Guarantano wasn’t terrible against Alabama, but the Vols still needed more from the quarterback position.
So, what’s the solution?
I wish I knew.
It seems like every time the backups get a chance to prove themselves; they play equally as bad. Last season Brian Maurer threw five interceptions on just 72 passing attempts. Against Kentucky, J.T. Shrout threw an interception on his only passing attempt of the game.
And, there’s Harrison Bailey, who we haven’t seen enough of yet.
Hopefully, the BYE week creates healthy competition and gives the younger guys enough reps to feel comfortable during the games.
The season isn’t over; the Vols have to get better at a few spots on the field. It’s time for Pruitt to show he can create magic again late in the season.