The Tennessee Volunteers moved to 2-0 today, getting a convincing win over the Indiana State Sycamores. Here’s what stood out to me during the game.
The Quarterback Battle is done.
In the “tune-up” win today against Indiana State, we finally got a look at highly touted quarterback Jarrett Guarantano. To be blunt, it didn’t go smoothly for for the redshirt freshman. After seeing him and Dormady play, you understand why this staff felt a little more comfortable with Dormady out there.
And let’s be clear — this was Guarantano’s first live game action, so a performance like this wasn’t too surprising. The main difference between the two was simply command. Dormady looked more in control and more comfortable out there.
Guarantano did show us some flashes, however, particularly down the field. He threw two outstanding deep balls, but his receivers couldn’t haul them in. This would have made his stat-line look a lot better, but the coaching staff will see that on tape. I thought Guarantano was better pushing the ball down the field than Dormady was.
He was able to cap the game with a nice toss to Jeff George, who made a play on the ball for him.
Guarantano finished 4-12 for 41 yards and a touchdown. Dormady finished 13-18 for 194 yards, two touchdowns and an interception.
Rush Defense Concerns?
Tennessee faced another gimmicky offensive attack today. Once again, stopping the run was an issue. You would really like to see a team like Tennessee totally shut down a bottom tier FCS rushing attack, but the sycamores were able to get things going on the ground.
LeMonte Booker rushed 15 times for 76 yards, gaining five yards per carry. It wasn’t a huge deal for Tennessee with their big lead, but this wasn’t exactly reassuring as we head into SEC play.
Former Tennessee Volunteer Albert Haynesworth aired out his frustration on Twitter during the game.
2&1 and we line up on the first down line!!! We will have the worst rush defense in the SEC!!! But good news is we are CHAMPIONS OF LIFE!!! pic.twitter.com/3Pha2EHope— Albert Haynesworth (@haynesworthiii) September 9, 2017
It isn’t time to panic yet, but it’s my main concern as Tennessee heads to Florida next week.
Josh Palmer has definitely stepped into the role that Josh Malone vacated last year. The freshman receiver was peppered with targets deep, but wasn’t able to come down with any. He was able to separate more than once, however. This is the main area where Quinten Dormady has to improve. Plenty of yards were left on the table this afternoon.
Running backs everywhere.
Freshman running back Ty Chandler looked outstanding this afternoon, taking the opening kick back for six. He added four carries for 14 yards on the ground. Sophomore Carlin Fils-Aime was even more impressive, taking three carries for 41 yards and two touchdowns. Tim Jordan even got in on the action with four carries for 22 yards. Running back depth was once a big concern, but Tennessee appears locked and loaded at the position now.
What stood out to you?