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Biggest Storylines Going Into The South Carolina Game

Finally, say it out loud if it puts things in perspective. It’s been a long time coming, but we’re finally back.

Here are the biggest storylines going into Tennessee’s long awaited season opener against South Carolina.

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Pruitt’s Extension

Maybe it’s a little recency bias since this news broke Thursday. But Jeremy Pruitt’s contract extension through the 2025 season seems significant. Some are saying it’s well earned after salvaging a respectable 8-5 season from a rocky start. Others are saying Pruitt has done nothing to warrant the show of faith from Phillip Fulmer.

Either way, every game this season is an opportunity for Pruitt to show that he is indeed worth it. It all starts today against South Carolina.

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Tennessee’s Win Streak

Will Tennessee be able to buck the recent trend of starting seasons slowly? Or will the trend continue and Tennessee’s six game win streak come crashing down?

This season has already been a little weird, with all the Covid and problems that came with it. But the strangest part may be the conference only schedule. There are no ramp up games. There are no warm up games against out of conference opponents or FCS teams. We’re jumping right in with both feet to a difficult run of games.

With that said, it’s completely reasonable to expect Tennessee to extend their win streak at least two more games.

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South Carolina’s Offense

They don’t know who all is going to start along their offensive line. Their potential star running back got hurt before he could even take a snap. They have one of their top five receivers returning from last year’s already shambolic wide receiver corps. They’re breaking in a new quarterback. It’s their first year under the mercurial offensive mind of MIKE BOBO. All under Will Muschamp, who is known for heading up offenses that are just serviceable enough to win games they probably shouldn’t now and then, maybe, sort of.

No one knows what the Gamecock offense is going to look like these first few games.

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Jarrett Guarantano

Oh boy. What is there to say that hasn’t already been said about this dude? It’s his first season in his career he hasn’t had to learn a new offense. He is known for either carrying his team to a good win or being the almost sole reason his team loses. There has been no in between.

True fans want Guarantano to succeed this season. Mainly because if he succeeds, Tennessee will succeed. But if he doesn’t succeed…we’re back to square one. This team will go as JG goes.

Oh boy.

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Pass Rush

Tennessee is replacing the majority of their sacks from last season (read: Darrell Taylor and Daniel Bituli). There’s no telling who will step up and replace their production. Obviously, if Tennessee can get to SC quarterback Collin Hill early and often, it’ll keep the SC offense from ever taking off. And since the SC offensive line is already sixes and sevens, It’s just a matter of who, not how.

Meanwhile, Aaron Sterling and Kingsley Enagbare return for SC. Both of them are looking to make a convincing case for NFL scouts early in the season as high-level pass rushers. And remember when I told you Will Muschamp offenses are always kind of a joke? Yeah, his defenses are normally legit. This will be an early test for this Tennessee offensive line.

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Cade Mays


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