Guarantano’s stock is as hot as mid-July Moderna stock right now, passing just over 60% and two touchdowns through two games.
Guarantano faces his first real test this season, against a stingy Bulldog defense that has allowed just one passing touchdown this season.
This Bulldogs defense is strong, just as strong as last years in fact. So far, they have allowed one touchdown this year, as well as 248 yards per game.
Thankfully, Guarantano faces a top 20 defense every single day in the Volunteers.
Last weekend, against the Missouri Tigers, Guarantano passed with a calm, collected manner that I hadn’t seen before.
This year Guarantano has rushed for more touchdowns (three) than he has his entire career behind what appears to be an All-American offensive line.
This game hinges on whether Guarantano can avoid throwing an interception, and lately, he has been red hot.
Former National Championship winner, Tee Martin, had a lot of praise for Guarantano.
“He’s playing really good football, and he understands the plays, he understands what we’re asking him to do, he’s operating at the line of scrimmage really well. We do a lot of checking at the line of scrimmage, we do a lot of things that require the quarterback to operate pre-snap, post snap, and you can see the growth in him being comfortable in his second year in Jim Chaney’s system,” Martin said. “This is the first time in his career he’s had a coordinator for two years in a row. So, I am happy for that young man; he has done a phenomenal job for us.”
It appears having the same coordinator has been a huge benefactor for the Guarantano himself as well as for the Vols this season.
Eric Gray/Ty Chandler
Gray and Chandler have both been lights out this season. Chandler currently leads the SEC in rushing yards with 176.
Gray comes into this game ranked eighth in the SEC, with 145 rushing yards.
Last weekend against Mizzou, Gray led the Vols in rushing with fewer carries than Chandler. However, they both are almost identical when it comes to their longest carries on the season.
I put Gray and Chandler together because so far, they’ve been the perfect one-two punch that the Vols have needed this season.
So far this season, the true freshman has seen little action. However, I could see the former four-star out of Irmo, South Carolina, seeing more action as the season progresses.
What better time than the most important game of the season for Hyatt to step up?
In his senior season, Hyatt had 66 receptions for 1,361 yards and 26 receiving touchdowns.
This weekend is just screaming for Hyatt to have the breakout game we’ve all been waiting for. After all, he is a true freshman preseason All-American.
The Shamburgler is back, ladies and gentlemen, after a long-awaited offseason, he has been cleared to play.
While I’m not completely sure why he has been out, I would assume it had been due to contract tracing.
That being said, last year was Shamburger’s breakout year, where he racked up 47 tackles, three sacks, and a pick for the Vols at the STAR position.
This weekend should be huge for him as he looks to get back into the flow of the game.
Last year he started in all but one game, so it’s good that the Vols have him back in a game that could come down to the wire depending on how the Vols perform.
What can I say? I love the Canadian. Palmer has been absolutely lights out for the Vols this season, leading the team in all statistical categories so far for the receiver position.
Palmer has been electric in every single game as a receiver, coming up with big play after big play at the most important times for the Vols.
This weekend, I expect the Bulldogs to cover him heavily to try to get Guarantano out of his comfort zone.
While that does make me nervous that Guarantano might try to force a few throws, I think that Palmer will persevere and play well.
I can’t single out a single offensive lineman on this list after the performance they put on against Mizzou last weekend.
All five of them are proving that they are, as a unit, one of the best offensive lines in the country, which is why after last weekend, they were dubbed “The TVA,” a nickname derived from 1930’s Tennessee Valley Authority, put in to help create jobs during the Great Depression by then president Franklin D. Roosevelt.
I expect them to get their first real test this weekend against a stout Georgia defense that has 10 tackles for a loss and five sacks this season.