Weinke sang the praises of Jarrett Guarantano staying positive at times last season when it was difficult to do.
“You look back, and in any situation you run into, the struggles we had early in the season, you can’t allow those to snowball. It was constant communication with him, regardless of what happened, if he was pulled, or had an opportunity to start or came into a game. There was communication with him every day that he had to stay the course and believe in himself. As we all know, whoever’s played this position, there are times that you’re playing with a whole lot of confidence, and there are other times that you’re not playing with any confidence. I think that was probably the case early on with him when we lost early. But, credit to him, he stayed the course. I feel like he started to gain more confidence and finish the season off right.”
When asked further about Guarantano, Weinke said, “There wasn’t a day that I talked to him that he wasn’t doing something to help himself get better – working out, throwing. He came in here weighing about 228 pounds – looks great trying to keep all of that weight on right now. You see a different level of confidence in him because he understands exactly what we’re trying to get accomplished on every single play.”
You at least have to like the confidence that Weinke has in Guarantano. You also have to remember this is the first time Guarantano has had the same quarterback coach and offensive coordinator for consecutive years.
Weinke also spoke about the wide receiver core, “It’s fun to be out there with those young receivers. There’s a group of talented young receivers that one, just like a new quarterback, they have to learn the system and the nuances of what we’re trying to get accomplished, predicated on coverage and different types of releases. Tell you what, we got a lot of speed on the field now, and I know the quarterbacks like that.”
Brian Maurer has been hampered by a hamstring issue, according to Weinke. This is one of the reasons that Harrison Bailey and JT Shrout have been getting runs with the 2’s during periods that aren’t individual.
Jarrett started off the season with a hit to his confidence, but Weinke said, “When it’s all said and done, it was refreshing to watch him be at his lowest of lows and then rebound. It was continuous talking every single day about what we’re trying to get accomplished and just to take it one day at a time, and things would start to come together. And as we saw, they did later in the season.”
JT Shrout has been a QB who has impressed coaches during the first few weeks of Fall Camp. Weinke added, “J.T. is a guy that works his tail off. He studies the game. He spends extra time in here watching film. It’s important to him, and that’s evident. You see that every day from this young man. I think the advantage now of going into that second year of this same offense.”
Harrison Bailey is trying to catch up with the offense after having to miss the first week of camp. Weinke said, “He did miss a little bit of time, and that always hurts for a guy that was able to come in early and not be able to go through spring ball hurts you a little bit in terms of your growth and development. I think the biggest thing for him is he’s learning a new language. We always say that ‘Hey, when you’re not sure, you’re going to probably play a little bit slower.’ I think the biggest thing for him is to continue to progress, continue to learn the system. He can make all of the throws. There’s no doubt about it.”
The Vols will continue to work through a quarterback competition that is now showing some fire, so whoever receives that nod better be ready to jump into the fray on a dime.
All Images Courtesy Of Tennessee Athletic Communications