So, last year, Jeremy Pruitt decided to move Alontae Taylor from wide receiver to cornerback and I had a tough time figuring out why.
Here were the Vols, in desparate need of a deep threat, and there went Pruitt, taking that away from Jarrett Guarantano, eventual king of the deep ball.
But as the season wore on, I got a good sample of what my foot tasted like as Taylor became one of the better players on defense. He also filled a need at cornerback as well, so it was double-foot-in-my-mouth time.
You would think that I learned my lesson, right? Ha. You obviously don’t know me very well.
About a week ago, Pruitt decided to move then-inside linebacker Quavaris Crouch to outside linebacker. Honestly, I didn’t think much of it at the time, but as time went on, I started to wonder about it more and more.
Why make the move? Especially with a 6-foot-1, 246-pound freshman who has only played on the inside throughout his career? Sure, Crouch has the athleticism and explosiveness to play the position, but does he have the bend, the length, or strength to fight off a tackle?
It’s a very curious move by Pruitt and his staff. One that requires out-of-the-box thinking and that will be questioned until the results are shown on the field.
Is it worth being questioned, though?
It’s no secret that you want to get your best athletes on the field as often as possible and it’s no secret that Crouch is one of Tennessee’s best athletes. It’s likely that he would’ve been buried behind the likes of Daniel Bituli, Will Ignot, J.J. Peterson, and Henry To’oto’o on the depth chart. So, it’d make sense to put him on the outside - even if it’s just to get him on the field - where the Vols need a lot of help.
And let’s not forget the fact that Pruitt’s defense is a fluid one. Just because he is listed at outside linebacker, doesn’t mean he’ll lineup outside of opposing tackles on every snap.
When you add in the loss of edge rusher Jordan Allen a few days after Crouch was moved, then it makes even more sense and it honestly makes the coaching staff look like they have a crystal ball in their back pocket.
However, the biggest question still remains: will Crouch’s abilities translate to his new position?
Only time will tell, and that time is approaching quickly.