Tennessee football coach Jeremy Pruitt opened the 2020 football season with his press conference on Monday afternoon.
Pruitt spoke about his starting quarterback, “This will be Jarrett Guarantano’s first time having the same offensive coordinator in consecutive years. I think it has to give him confidence that the terminology is the same, the people are the same.”
When asked if they’ve narrowed down the number two spot at quarterback, Pruitt said, “It is still open-ended heading into the weekend. We will make a decision over the weekend and see who gives us the best opportunity. With Harrison (Bailey) and Brian (Maurer), both of those guys have missed practices for different reasons during fall camp. J.T. (Shrout) has obviously had the opportunity to take more reps, but we are giving both of those guys a chance.”
After hearing a good amount of praise for JT Shrout, it’s hard not to think he has wrapped up the number two spot, at least for the opening game.
In regards to players potentially missing the upcoming game against South Carolina, Jeremy Pruitt will not be releasing any numbers. “In fairness to the guys that are playing, I am not sure it is fair to release numbers from a competitive standpoint.”
The big question in regards would have to be Tennessee offensive linemen Cade Mays. Pruitt was asked if he had heard anything from the SEC in regards to his eligibility.
“We’ve got no indication as of yet. I’m sure that they will. It just makes too much sense not to. We’ve planned all along for Cade (Mays) to be able to play. If you look at what went in to the waiver process it is pretty evident that the young man deserves an opportunity to play.”
Last week, Eric Gray returned to the practice field, which was a welcoming sight for the running back room. Gray missed a good chunk of practices, so having him back in the rotation with Chandler is huge for this Tennessee group.
“Starting with Ty and Eric (Gray), I think both of these guys have had good camps. Eric obviously missed some days during the camp, but Ty’s been there the whole time. You continue to see improvement. Those guys compete with each other, compete very hard every day. It’s good to have both of those guys back there. They’re good leaders for the other guys.”
Pruitt was also asked about how many freshmen could see the playing field on Saturday in Columbia. He said he didn’t know how many it would be but did add one thing about numbers.
“We’ll play 70 guys on Saturday.”
Jeremy Pruitt discussed the confidence he has in this football team, as the first game approaches.
“I have confidence in every position we have. Our guys have worked hard, and we have good competition in every position. Are there some guys that have had a lot more practice time than others? Sure. Will that dictate how much they play? It possibly could. We don’t want to put somebody in a situation that they’re not ready for. I have a lot of confidence in our team. Are we where we need to be right now? Absolutely not. We’ve got to continue to improve and get better. That’s the goal. Improve every week this year.”
Game week is here. The Vols will practice this week before hopping on a plane for Columbia on Friday.
We will hear from Jeremy Pruitt again on Wednesday, as preparations continue for the Gamecocks.
Follow FOX Sports Knoxville for continuous coverage of the 2020 Tennessee football season.