Two concussions in two weeks — that’s what Brian Maurer is dealing with right now. Tennessee’s freshman passer has flashed in big ways over the last three weeks, but since that first start against Georgia, he’s been knocked out of two consecutive first quarters.
Now with two head injuries in back to back weeks, his status going forward is unknown.
“They’re evaluating Brian,” Jeremy Pruitt said after the Alabama game. “So we’ll see what happens. Jarrett did some really nice things while he was in the game. So we’ll go back and just reevaluate like we do every week.”
Jarrett Guarantano was not as good as he was a week ago in a relief role. He missed throws, and of course, had that fumble on the quarterback sneak late in the game. He finished 7-16 for just 55 yards as the offense struggled for the rest of the night.
So what happens if Maurer can’t go against South Carolina? Tennessee used Jauan Jennings in some wildcat looks and put JT Shrout in the game late after it was out of reach. Has Guarantano played poorly enough to where Pruitt and Jim Chaney would consider looking to Shrout?
Tennessee has several winnable games to finish the year, starting this weekend. Maurer has elevated the offense when he’s been available, but there’s a real chance that he might not be able to go against the Gamecocks.
Let’s assume he’s out — are you giving Shrout an opportunity? Or are you trotting out Guarantano one more time? Or maybe you go full Kentucky and play a receiver (Jauan) at quarterback.
You certainly know what Guarantano is at this point. But what is Shrout? The little we’ve seen against Chattanooga and in the spring game showed an unpolished passer without much touch. Still, considering Guarantano’s lack of confidence, it may be worth a look.
Expect some sort of update on Brian Maurer’s condition on Monday at noon.