After the BYU game, Tennessee fans have grown increasingly frustrated with quarterback Jarrett Guarantano. Judging by Jeremy Pruitt’s demeanor on the sidelines, it’s safe to say that the frustration is also being felt by the Tennessee coaching staff.
The only problem? Tennessee probably doesn’t have a better option right now. Redshirt freshman JT Shrout and true freshman Brian Maurer are the only options to turn to, but neither have any playing experience.
When pressed about the quarterback situation this week, Pruitt publicly stuck with Guarantanto. But with a game against FCS Chattanooga on Saturday, might we see Shrout or Maurer get some playing time? Maybe even both?
“I think both of these guys have potential to be really good players,” Jeremy Pruitt said earlier this week. “We have to give them an opportunity to be in the game to do that at some point and see where they’re at.”
Pruitt has yet to commit to a backup quarterback just yet this season. The home opener against Georgia State figured to be a spot where you might give some reps to both guys, but — uh — that game didn’t exactly go as planned.
“Right now, it’s like I tell them every week, we don’t have a backup quarterback until you guys decide it for us,” Pruitt said. “We were hoping to be able to get these guys in the game at some point and see how they play. They’re really that close.”
The Chattanooga matchup will be the last opportunity for a bit to settle this on the field. Maybe this is a hint from Maurer on the possibility of playing against the Mocs.
I need all of Vol Nation in Neyland on Saturday https://t.co/K78dDCOF0l— Brian Maurer (@maurerera_2) September 13, 2019
Maurer flashed in the spring game before tossing two interceptions in the second half. The former three-star recruit comes from a spread offense in high school which demanded much less responsibility from him as a signal caller.
Is he ready to take the field on Saturday? That answer is probably meaningless — what exactly does Tennessee have to lose at this point? Both Shrout and Maurer should get drives against the Mocs, no matter what the score is. Pruitt and Chaney need to see who responds in live action, especially ahead of a trip to Gainesville.
Guarantano is likely Tennessee’s best option right now, but it’s beyond time to see what else is on the depth chart.