In what is hopefully going to be a blowout, there shouldn’t be too much in terms of drama on Saturday at Neyland Stadium. But there’s still plenty to watch for. Here are five things to look for this weekend.
Time to cut it loose?
There was a notable difference in what we saw in the spring game vs. what we saw against West Virginia. Granted, a spring game setting doesn’t exactly compare to a game against a top 20 opponent, but still. It was worth noting how conservative the offense was against the Mountaineers.
We saw Jarrett Guarantano play a really solid game at quarterback last weekend, but we didn’t see many aggressive shots down the field. Considering the weapons the Vols have (Marquez Callaway, Jauan Jennings, Josh Palmer), I’d love to see some attempts at some big plays against ETSU.
Backup quarterback auditions
Jeremy Pruitt has already declared that Keller Chryst is going to play, at least some. Pruitt said he’d like to solve the backup quarterback position over the next two weeks, potentially meaning that we could see Will McBride or maybe even JT Shrout.
New offensive line combination
Starting center Brandon Kennedy’s season is over, meaning the Vols will have to come up with a new combination up front. Ryan Johnson will get the start at center this week, but what happens at the guard positions remains up in the air. Jahmir Johnson is a good bet to fill one, but we may see a few faces rotate in throughout the game.
Different faces at running back?
Ty Chandler is more than likely out against ETSU, meaning the carries will likely go to Tim Jordan to start on Saturday. You can bet Madre London will see his touches too, but I’m interested in potentially seeing some work from freshman Jeremy Banks and maybe even Princeton Fant, who moved back to running back this week.
Young cornerbacks getting more comfortable
Alontae Taylor and Bryce Thompson were thrown into the fire against one of the best passing attacks in the country and were asked to play press-man coverage for a good part of the day. Tennessee struggled in the secondary, but the blame doesn’t belong solely on those two. Still, Saturday will be just their second career games as college players. With an easier matchup coming, I’m interested in seeing the two of them gain confidence and settle in a little bit before SEC play.