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Orange and White Game: What We’re Watching For

The game itself might be full of vanilla, but who takes the field first in a couple of spots will be noteworthy.

NCAA Football: Tennessee Volunteers football practice Calvin Mattheis-USA TODAY Sports

It’s the quarterbacks, of course. But there will be a little more to take note of, even if this year’s Orange and White Game is more like an Orange and White Festival or Orange and White Flag Football (don’t you think people would still come for that?).

What Butch Jones doesn’t want: one of the quarterbacks looks tremendous, one of the quarterbacks looks terrible. All signs point to Quinten Dormady and Jarrett Guarantano taking this thing well into August; especially if it’s Guarantano who looks great and the upperclassman Dormady who struggles, I’d imagine the head coach would look at it as unnecessary noise between now and Georgia Tech.

Remember, not too long ago Tyler Bray went 5-of-30 in the Orange and White Game. There’s not much of anything that can happen in this game short of an injury that you want to get too worked up about, though we’ll inevitably do just that by Saturday night. But a little more significant are the decisions that will have been made before that game starts. We can learn a little bit about Team 121 by noticing a few things:

  • If we see the first team offense, who starts at wide receiver next to Jauan Jennings? If it’s Marquez Callaway, prepare to see him on a whole lot of “new names to watch” lists between now and August.
  • If we see the first team defense, who starts at linebacker next to Darrin Kirkland, and if the Vols show any base 4-3 looks who’s on the other side? The Vols have plenty of options here, and it’ll be interesting to see if anyone has separated themselves.
  • Will Butch Jones again name team captains? This came off hollow last year because they promoted a big surprise so much people were disappointed when this was the final outcome. But having Alvin Kamara be in that mix was an interesting development. If he goes that route again this year, who would those players be? Who will establish themselves as a leader on this team?

What few answers are available can be seen at 4:00 PM ET tomorrow, with the SEC Network carrying it live.