This is a big one for the Tennessee Volunteers. I wish it were big for another reason, but Butch Jones is fighting for his job and his season. A win on Saturday wouldn’t right the ship, but it would stop some bleeding.
Here are four things that I’ll be following closely.
Will the offense change with Jarrett Guarantano?
For five weeks in a row, Butch Jones and Larry Scott tried to fit Quinten Dormady into this offense. It just wasn’t working and the turnovers were starting to pile up. Now, they’ve officially made the change. I don’t think many of us believe Guarantano is the instant savior, but I am excited to see if they maximize his legs. We’ll see if they take advantage of that and run more option looks.
How will Tennessee replace Darrell Taylor?
Tennessee defensive end Darrell Taylor is suspended indefinitely after a fight in practice with Trey Smith. He was set to miss a half of this game anyways after his fight during the Georgia game. Tennessee will start Kyle Phillips in his place, but look for Deandre Johnson and Matthew Butler to get into the rotational mix in Taylor’s absence.
Can Tyler Byrd back up his talk?
On Thursday, Tennessee receiver Tyler Byrd took a bit of a jab at South Carolina cornerback Rashad Fenton. Byrd was responding to a tweet from the official South Carolina Football Twitter account, which highlighted “Fenton island.” Byrd has just two catches all season, but maybe he knows something that we don’t. You’ll hear about this one during the game for sure.
Can Butch Jones get over the Will Muschamp hump?
It’s been well documented. Butch Jones has never beaten Will Muschamp, dating back to his time at Florida. It’s a bit staggering to think about. Muschamp was able to beat a ranked Tennessee team last year, all but killing the Vols’ SEC East title hopes. Muschamp has never lost to Tennessee as a head coach, but he did catch the Vols when they were down with Derek Dooley while at Florida. Still, Muschamp is 5-0 against the Vols. That’s pretty embarrassing when you consider how bad he was at Florida. It’s kind of ironic now that he needs a win over him to potentially save his job.
What are y’all watching for?