If you thought the Florida game couldn’t get any harder this weekend, think again. Tennessee is dealing with contact tracing, dating back to testing after the Auburn game.
Jeremy Pruitt met with the media on Monday afternoon to preview the upcoming game against Florida while updating the covid situation.
Pruitt said about 16 players are currently under quarantine but hopes to have some available for the game on Saturday. He also mentioned that the Vols had two positive cases from testing last week. The Vols are also down one quarterback due to tracing, according to Pruitt. I’ve been told that Jarrett Guarantano wasn’t practicing last week before the Vols were let go for Thanksgiving. Now, that could be for several things.
Sources have told me that Tennessee is missing key starters on both sides of the football. It could be difficult for these players to return, especially going off the SEC rule of an acclimation period. The Vols did not practice on Saturday or Sunday, but they did test on both days, I am told.
I will be surprised if Tennessee has all of these players back by Saturday because of the mandated 14-day quarantine. But, if the contact tracing began 48 hours before the positive test, then this could be how the players in quarantine could get out of tracing. Jeremy Pruitt addressed the matter today.
“We do have some guys that are in quarantine that won’t be able to practice this week, but will be able to play on game day. It’s an unusual circumstance, but we’re working through it and the next guys are getting ready to play.”
Speaking of the Florida Gators, Jeremy Pruitt has been impressed with the team Dan Mullen has put on the field.
“When you look at Florida, I think right now they’re playing as good as any team in the country. Offensively, they’ve been very efficient especially at the quarterback position.”
The Gator’s offense will be tough for Tennessee to stop on a regular day, not factoring in the potential spots where they could be missing players. Jeremy Pruitt spoke highly of TE Kyle Pitts.
“In all my years coaching, he’s probably the most talented guy we’ve played against.”
Harrison Bailey has been getting a good amount of quality reps in practice and game situations, which Pruitt spoke about on Monday.
“He works hard every single day. He’s developing more leadership around the rest of his teammates. That’s part of being a quarterback is getting the other 10 guys to be at their best. He continues to do what we ask him to do.”
I expect Bailey to receive a good chunk of the first-team reps this week in practice. If everything continues to stay the norm, he could potentially be starting on Saturday against the Gators.
The Vols will hit the practice field on Monday afternoon, for the first time since players left for Thanksgiving. Pruitt has talked about depth at many positions; well, now is the opportunity for those players to take advantage of the situation.