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Let’s All Just Agree To Give Jarrett Guarantano Another Chance

Jarrett Guarantano

Okay, hear me out!

I know what you’re thinking. “Why should he get another chance? He’s already gotten so many!”

Well, you’re not wrong.

Going into his third year as starting quarterback for Tennessee, Jarrett Guarantano doesn’t exactly have a stranglehold on the spot. There’s no need to recap all the reasons why. You probably already know, but if you don’t, watch the Alabama game last year.

And despite all of the debilitating errors he commits and all the trouble he causes for the rest of the team, he keeps getting sent back out.

Let’s try and rationalize why. And why he deserves another chance this season to prove his worth.

JG The Recruit

Before even setting foot on campus, JG was put behind the 8-ball with his recruiting ranking. How’s that you may ask.

Guarantano averaged two yards a carry over four years and 250 attempts in high school. Yet, for some reason, he was considered a dual-threat quarterback. To make matters worse, he was the number one ranked dual-threat quarterback in his class.

And his passing numbers? According to 247, in four years as a high school quarterback, he had 3000 passing yards and 28 touchdowns. Total. Over four years. There were other quarterbacks in that class that cleared those numbers in their senior year alone.

The point being, JG wasn’t as good as his recruiting ranking suggested. At best, if his high school stats are any indicator, he was a three-star recruit. Why is that a problem?

When one of the best quarterbacks in school history (Josh Dobbs) is a pure dual-threat, and he hands the reins to “the number one dual threat in the country,” expectations are high. Unreasonably high.

In this way, 247 and the recruiting suits are partially at fault for JG’s unreasonably high expectations and ensuing fall from grace at Tennessee.

The Current State Of QB At Tennessee

It’s gotten to the point where fans are regularly asking for one of the returning backups from last year, Brian Maurer or JT Shrout, to step in and lead the offense. But this is Maurer’s second year and Shrout’s third year, and neither of them have managed to wrangle the starting spot away. Even after both of them saw extensive playing time last year. JG still is apparently the best option at QB.

Don’t believe me?

Apparently, the QB situation behind JG is so muddy; even the coaches can’t even figure out who the second-best option is. And given the depth and experience of this coaching staff, that’s more of an indictment of Maurer and Shrout than it is Pruitt and company.

“BUT HARRISON BAILEY!!!” you’re probably shouting at your screen.

I get it; we all want Harrison Bailey to be good. And he was clearly very good in high school. But in a year of so much uncertainty, why try and run HB out before he’s ready? Hell, Bailey probably hasn’t even gotten to settle into the routine of practices with all the cancellations and time he has missed.

The point being, you can 100% put someone into an SEC schedule too early. ‘Member Nathan Peterman? I ‘member Nathan Peterman. So why throw Bailey to the wolves when you’ve got a perfectly good JG waiting in the wing who has already gone through the SEC ringer multiple times? Let Bailey marinate and let JG dodge the bullets of ten SEC games. He’s better equipped to do so, at this point.

Reasons for Positivity

The big one this year has been repeated ad nauseam all offseason. Everybody already knows this is Guarantano’s first season with the same OC as the preceding year. And the value of that continuity, especially in a season this weird, can’t be understated.

Jeremy Pruitt has said as much:

When you do the same thing over and over, it creates confidence. So I would suspect that he’s got to have a lot more confidence heading into this season, as opposed to the previous season because the terminology is the same and the people around him are the same. I feel like he’s demonstrated that at practice.

When one of the biggest gripes last year about JG was his hesitancy and lack of confidence, that’s a good sign.

Also, this offensive line should be nuts when healthy and cleared to play. That may bode better for the run game than it will the passing game. But given JG’s history of holding on to the ball for far too long, it should serve as more of a bailout than the past couple years.

JG has also improved gradually every year he has been at Tennessee in yards/attempt, total passing yards, and touchdowns. Which is a good sign, right? Don’t look into any of his other stats. Please.

Conclusion

JG could be good this year. He could also go back to his habits of making game-changing mistakes in quick succession. There’s no telling. So let’s all agree to at least give him until his first interception this year before we try to get him back to the bench. Then we can go back to what we as Vol fans do best: overreacting to bad things as early and as often as possible. It’s what makes us elite as fans. God, I’ve missed college football.

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