Fall camp: Offensive observations

Fall camp: Offensive observations

Football

Fall camp: Offensive observations

KNOXVILLE — Tennessee approaches their final week of fall training camp before game week preparation for West Virginia.

The offense has been interesting to keep up with throughout 14 practices and two scrimmages. Many position units are up for grabs in regards to starters being named.

Below are observations of UT’s offense as fall training camp comes to an end.

Quarterback

The quarterback position has had the most attention since practices kicked off, and rightfully so.

Graduate transfer Keller Chryst has came in and competed well enough for redshirt sophomore Jarrett Guarantano to not have won the job or created separation to be named the starter. Chryst provides a status quo of being a serviceable quarterback in a transitional season before the future of the position can take off with either true freshman JT Shrout, 2019 commit Brian Maurer or with a veteran Guarantano making up the quarterback room. Will McBride will also be a junior in 2019.

Pruitt talked highly of Shrout following the Vols’ second scrimmage and will be interesting to see how he is used with the new redshirt rule in place this season. If the Vols have one quarterback in place against West Virginia, Shrout could see action in game two and three against East Tennessee State and UTEP and could still preserve a redshirt or also be in-line to play if needed with experience as the season plays out.

Going into the final week of camp before game week, the battle between Chryst and Guarantano remains close with both in position to take the first snap against West Virginia. Whoever finishes better down-the-stretch will win the job.

Below on Fox Sports Knoxville’s ‘It’s Optional’, Trey Wallace and I discuss the quarterback competition.

 

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Wide receiver

Like the running back unit, the wide receiver group is strong. Marquez Callaway, Jauan Jennings, Brandon Johnson, Jordan Murphy, and Josh Palmer appear to be a steady five-man rotation with incoming freshman Cedric Tillman having flashes during fall training camp.

 

 

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Offensive line

The Vols are in a much better position upfront than they were during the spring.

Trey Smith is the anchor of the unit and it remains to be seen where he will play during the first game. Regardless if Smith plays at guard or the tackle position, he will make the offensive line better and will make his teammates better.

Where Smith is placed on the offensive line will be interesting to see where Drew Richmond is placed. Cole Cubelic of the SEC Network joined the Vols Wire podcast and discussed Smith, Richmond and the Vols needing to name a starting five soon.

Graduate transfer Brandon Kennedy brings a championship mindset to the line from Alabama and appears to be the center.

The Vols also have other options throughout the unit with K’Rojhn Calbert, Jerome Carvin, Jahmir Johnson, Ryan Johnson, Riley Locklear, Nathan Niehaus, and Marcus Tatum. Chance Hall continues to get back to where he can play.

 

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Running back

Tennessee’s strongest unit, not only on offense but the team, is in the backfield. The Vols are deep with a plethora of running backs. Ty Chandler, Trey Coleman and Tim Jordan return with new additions from graduate transfer Madre London and incoming freshman Jeremy Banks. Having a presence in the running game will allow for the wide receivers to feed off the unit’s success and help out with the passing game to stretch the field vertically.

 

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Tight end/H-back

JUCO transfer Dominick Wood-Anderson gives Tennessee physicality in the blocking game, while also being able to be a factor in the passing game. The unit was thin until he showed up with Eli Wolf, Austin Pope, LaTrell Bumphus, James Brown, and Princeton Fant making up the group.

Fant and Pope will also provide needed help at H-back.

 

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