The Tennessee secondary has been a bit of a letdown to this point in the 2020 season. Now filled with veteran bodies, the Volunteers still rank 70th against the pass this season. Jeremy Pruitt noted this week that the group has been banged up since camp, while also dealing with quarantine restrictions this fall.
No excuses, because this is 2020 and everyone is being forced to deal with the same issues, but it’s tough to develop chemistry as a unit with multiple bodies out during each practice session.
However, on the other side of that coin, it forces you to rep somebody else with the first team. Perhaps one beneficiary could be a guys like Key Lawrence — a highly-touted four-star prospect from the 2020 class.
“We’ve moved a few guys around. Just an example, like Keyshawn Lawrence,” Pruitt said this week. “He’s a guy that we recruited in here to play corner, so all during the summer when we had the walk throughs, he played corner and as we practiced a couple of days he looked really good, but we didn’t think maybe he was going to be in front of Alontae or Bryce, but we thought, hey, this a guy we want to find a way to get him on the field.”
Lawrence was the 81st overall player in the class, per the 247Sports Composite rankings. He signed as a safety, but as Pruitt noted, has been working mostly at cornerback since arriving in Knoxville. With the current veteran status of the cornerback depth chart though, Lawrence has had multiple opportunities to work elsewhere in the secondary.
“He practices at safety for probably seven or eight practices, and then we lose all of our corners to quarantine and to be able to practice, just to have numbers we move him back to corner,” Pruitt explained. “This week, we’re going to play him a little bit at STAR in this open week just to see from a conceptual standpoint how he does there because he’s a guy that continues to kind of show up.”
Tennessee is currently working through its bye week ahead of a suddenly important matchup against Arkansas. With the Vols sitting at 2-3, it’s natural to work in some new blood at position where you are struggling. Might Lawrence be one of those guys?