For myself, the brightest spot of the Orange and White game was the play of the receivers, along with the more confident arm of Jarrett Guarantano. Tennessee’s redshirt sophomore quarterback is obviously a big part of any equation for the receivers. But for this post, I wanted to focus specifically on the pass catchers.
The day got off to a great start with this jump ball win from Marquez Callaway, who was notable under-utilized last season after bursting onto the scene against Georgia Tech. This is just a ridiculously physical grab and there’s not much Baylen Buchanan — or anyone else — could do about it.
Sometimes it’s as easy as getting the football to your best players. That’s something that the previous regime struggled to do and it was a definite part of the offensive frustration you saw last year.
This catch below was ruled incomplete and out of bounds, but still — it’s another aggressive pass down the field where Guarantano trusts his playmaker. Callaway (of course) comes down with it, but doesn’t get his feet down.
A big theme of the day was taking shots down the field, and that wasn’t limited to just Marquez Callaway. Josh Palmer was heavily involved in the action, hauling in this deep, back-shoulder ball from Guarantano.
Palmer caught another ball in stride earlier in the game and was able to turn up the field for a big gain. He was targeted in the endzone back in the first half, but was unable to convert for a score. That ball was just a touch late from Guarantano.
A guy that has kind of gotten lost in the shuffle this spring has been sophomore Jordan Murphy. He was on that dreadful White team offense on Saturday, so you had to take that into account when evaluating him.
Here’s Murphy getting behind Alontae Taylor and a safety on a deep post. The ball was just a touch long from McBride, but this is a clear win for Murphy.
- Slot receiver Brandon Johnson didn’t have a huge impact on the game, but he did haul in a laser strike from Guarantano over the middle.
- Eli Wolf made a tough snag (throw was behind him) in double coverage to haul in a touchdown on the final play of the game. He led the team with five catches on the day.
- Jauan Jennings was present and in uniform on the sideline, but didn’t see any game action, as planned.
- Tyler Byrd worked with the white team as a receiver as saw a couple of deep targets. He wasn’t able to haul either of those bombs in, but they were heavily contested. Will McBride tried to hit him on a slant early, but the throw was slightly behind Byrd. The pass tipped off of Byrd’s hands and ended up being picked off.
- Latrell Williams hauled in a wide open pass over the middle from McBride and weaved his way through the defense to find the endzone. It was the lone bright spot of the day for the white squad.