Continuity will help Helton's offense going forward

Continuity will help Helton's offense going forward

Football

Continuity will help Helton's offense going forward

KNOXVILLE — It is early during the Tyson Helton offensive era at Tennessee after only one game, losing 40-14 to West Virginia.

Although it is early, one thing noticeably missing in Helton’s offense is the NASCAR package.

Helton’s scheme and philosophies have grown with recent stops at USC and Western Kentucky, with his original concepts continuing dating back to his time as quarterbacks coach under his father and offensive coordinator, Kim, at UAB from 2007-11.

Helton has a philosophy with a mixture of what he and his father implemented at UAB – being balanced in running and passing. The balanced attack also goes hand-in-hand with developing player personnel and to understand the scheme well enough to run NASCAR packages, dictating the defense.

Helton’s NASCAR package: — a series of 5-10 plays quarterbacks are comfortable with, operating from play-calling with a quick cadence.

When the play is executed and the whistles blow, an uptempo-style continues unless the staff on the sideline instruct otherwise. The quarterback has full freedom to call plays based on what he feels comfortable running in NASCAR mode.

The package shows how comfortable the quarterback is running the offense and being able to understand when to dictate the defense, running a series of plays that he understands will take over a series and take command of the offense to move the ball and extending the field in the ground game and through-the-air.

Helton’s quarterback in 2011, Jonathan Perry, who passed for 2,042 yards and ten touchdowns after taking over for an injured Bryan Ellis during the season thinks highly of his former coach.

“Coach Helton was a great quarterback coach with an extremely high football IQ,” Perry said in the book Fulmer Hires Pruitt. “He could read defenses in his sleep and his teaching got through to us. His passion for the game rubbed off on all of his quarterbacks. He’s going to dial it up in Knoxville and I am excited to watch. He’ll definitely be a head coach some day.”

Former UAB offensive lineman Darion Smith, who played under Helton and offensive line coach Will Friend, says the NASCAR package “really allowed the offense to get into a good rhythm and the offensive line was better because of the snap count and protection was already determined.”

As Tennessee’s season continues, the continuity on the offensive line will help make the offense more productive as different elements and philosophies of Helton will be on display.

Following the loss to West Virginia, Pruitt discussed the offensive line leading up to the first game.

“I’m not making excuses, all right?” Pruitt said. “I’m just going to tell you the facts. Trey Smith has practiced for eight days. He’s 19 years old, OK? Jahmir Johnson was not here in the spring and has played left tackle most of the time. He played guard. Brandon Kennedy wasn’t here in the spring. Chance Hall just got back this fall.”

With the Vols playing East Tennessee State Saturday and UTEP next week, the next two games are good timing in working on continuity during game action.

Pruitt mentioned that both quarterbacks Jarrett Guarantano and Keller Chryst will play against ETSU, which will go hand-in-hand in working with the offensive line and Helton’s offensive philosophies.

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