Six Vols To Watch For This Saturday Against Alabama

Harrison Bailey

Last weekend against Kentucky was embarrassing. I’m writing this with hope that Tennessee will have a new starter at quarterback this week.

Eric Gray

KNOXVILLE, TN – OCTOBER 17, 2020 – Running back Eric Gray #3 of the Tennessee Volunteers during the game between the Kentucky Wildcats and the Tennessee Volunteers at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, TN. Photo By Andrew Ferguson/Tennessee Athletics

Gray seems to have taken Ty Chandler’s job as the premier back for the Vols. Gray carried the ball 24 times for 128 yards, for an average of 5.3 yards per carry against the Wildcats. While Chandler did have the Vols’ lone touchdown, Gray doubled his carries, which is why I have Gray on this list over him.

Harrison Bailey

KNOXVILLE, TN – OCTOBER 17, 2020 – Quarterback Harrison Bailey #15 of the Tennessee Volunteers during the game between the Kentucky Wildcats and the Tennessee Volunteers at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, TN. Photo By Andrew Ferguson/Tennessee Athletics

That’s right folks, you heard it here first. I think Bailey finally gets the start over Jarrett Guarantano.

For those who are unaware of what the true freshman brings to the table, last year for Marietta High School, Bailey threw for 4,674 yards, 50 touchdowns and 10 interceptions on his way to a state championship. For context, Bailey played in division 7A, against some of the toughest opponents in the state of Georgia, a state known for producing top recruits.

While we only saw on drive with Bailey last weekend, he threw a bullet between two Wildcats to fellow true freshman Malachi Wideman. If Bailey does start against Alabama, the coaching staff needs to reassure him that he won’t lose the starting job.

If you want your freshman quarterback to succeed in the dog-eat-dog world that is SEC football, you need them to have the confidence to go out and play.

Henry To’o To’o

KNOXVILLE, TN – OCTOBER 20, 2020 – Linebacker Henry To’o To’o #11 of the Tennessee Volunteers during practice on Haslam Field in Knoxville, TN. Photo By Kate Luffman/Tennessee Athletics

Is it really a “Vols To Watch” article from me if To’o To’o isn’t on this list? Against Kentucky, To’o To’o was great. He had eight tackles, one sack and two tackles for loss. Against Georgia, he had 11 tackles and two tackles for loss. He is arguably the most consistent player the Vols have on defense.

So far this season, To’o To’o has racked up five tackles for loss, one interception and one sack. To’o To’o has already passed his sack total from last season and is on his way to breaking last season’s total tackles in less games.

Quavaris Crouch

KNOXVILLE, TN – SEPTEMBER 14, 2019 – Linebacker Quavaris Crouch #27 of the Tennessee Volunteers during the game between the Chattanooga Mocs and the Tennessee Volunteers at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, TN. Photo By Andrew Ferguson/Tennessee Athletics

Crouch is already on his way to passing his total tackles from last season.  Last year, Crouch has 28 tackles and half a sack. This season Crouch has 24 tackles and one forced fumble. With Jeremy Banks nursing an injury from last weekend’s game, we may be seeing Crouch start this weekend against Alabama.

When the Vols landed Crouch and To’o To’o two years ago, I knew they would eventually play together. I think Crouch will play well this weekend, but Alabama still terrifies me.

Latrell Bumphus

Bumphus had himself a game last weekend despite Kentucky’s dismantling of Tennessee. So far, he has grabbed himself 10 tackles, a sack and one and a half tackles for loss.

While that wasn’t what I expected from him at the beginning of the season, I believe we could see Bumphus play well in Saturday’s game. My main reason for picking Bumphus though, is that I want to see more out of him. I had high expectations out of him this year and I’m not giving up hope.

Josh Palmer

ATHENS, GA – OCTOBER 10, 2020 – Wide receiver Josh Palmer #5 of the Tennessee Volunteers during the game between the Georgia Bulldogs and the Tennessee Volunteers at Sanford Stadium in Athens, GA. Photo By Andrew Ferguson/Tennessee Athletics

That’s right ladies and gentleman, the Canadian is back. Against Kentucky, Palmer had one catch for 11 yards. In his first three games, Palmer had 14 receptions for 227 yards and three touchdowns. That’s the lowest he’s been held to the entire year, which leads me to believe that he is definitely not the problem, but Guarantano is.

Hopefully, if Bailey starts this weekend, I think Palmer will recover from his poor performance against Kentucky.

That’s all I have for this weekend folks. Tune in two weeks for more players to watch.