Tennessee broke their six game losing streak this past Saturday against Vanderbilt. Jeremy Pruitt met with the media on Monday to discuss their performance and look ahead to the Aggies.
The Vols have been working on their game plan for Texas A&M ever since the game was postponed a few weeks ago. Looking back on the Vanderbilt game this past Saturday, Jeremy Pruitt was impressed with the defense, especially on third down.
“Defensively, first of all, we were much better on third down. It’s far and away the best game that we’ve played on third down in a long time. The one drive in the first half, we let them convert a third-and-10. They checked and we probably should have checked there to a different call, we didn’t, and they get a first down and then converted a couple.”
The Tennessee quarterback situation will continue to play out this week, as Pruitt said that both Harrison Bailey and JT Shrout will play against the Aggies. Both quarterbacks will continue splitting reps this week in practice,
“Well, I really think you would rather play one, but we got two guys right now that I think are really competing hard in practice in J.T. (Shrout) and Harrison (Bailey). We are giving them the same amount of reps and I’ve told both of them that we will look at these last three games and give them the same opportunity.”
Tennessee will hold Senior Day on Saturday, but Jeremy Pruitt still doesn’t know how many guys will participate. The seniors have the ability to return next season, if they choose.
“I think there may be some guys that may participate and some guys that may not. I don’t know. We’ve really been focused on improving as a team every single day. When you talk about this kind of unique circumstance we have with guys getting their eligibility back where they can play another year, we’ve kind of treated it like it would be a junior that may be thinking about declaring for the draft”.
There were two plays on Saturday that Jeremy Pruitt said he installed into the game plan himself. JT Shrout was a part of a trick play, after coming in for Harrison Bailey to run it.
“I like to put in one or two plays a week. I actually put in two this week and neither one of them worked. We ran a reverse to Kenney Solomon. Kenney Solomon is probably the fastest guy on our team. Probably, if we had gotten one block out there, we would have gained nine or 10 yards, but we only gained one, I think. Then, we put a reverse pass in there, getting in wildcat. We’ve jumped in wildcat a couple of times and we’ve never thrown a pass out of it. They just happened to bring field pressure, so we didn’t get it off and took a sack, so that was my fault because I put the play in and I told Jim (Chaney) to run it at that time. I thought it might work, but it didn’t.”
Jeremy Pruitt was impressed with the work Dee Beckwith has put into learning the running back position. This showed up on Saturday, as he received a few carries.
“I like him at running back. When we recruited him, we didn’t know exactly where we’d play him, we just knew we wanted him on our team. This guy has a lot of versatility. We started him off at wide receiver, but when he got here, he was a lot bigger than he was when we signed him. He’s a guy that continues to grow and develop, but he’s really good with the ball in his hands. So, putting him back there at running back and trying to create a home for him has been really good for him.
The Vols had another player enter the transfer portal on Monday, as wide receiver Brandon Johnson announced his intentions to transfer. The receiver has seen his role in the rotation diminish, as others have stepped up for the Vols, including Velus Jones Jr.