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Pruitt: Harrison Bailey will ‘definitely’ play against Florida

Change coming?

Tennessee vs Auburn Photo by Andrew Ferguson/Collegiate Images/Getty Images

Could this be the week that Tennessee makes a change at the quarterback position? The move is past due, as Jarrett Guarantano’s turnovers and inefficient play continue to break the back of the Volunteers on a consistent basis.

Following a disappointing effort from Brian Maurer against Arkansas, the alternative to Guarantano seems to clearly be freshman Harrison Bailey. The former five-star prospect has now seen action in three games this year, each time in mop-up duty. With Tennessee sitting at 2-5 and just three games left, why not try a new direction?

Jeremy Pruitt somewhat agrees, finally, though he wouldn’t commit to naming Bailey the starter.

“Harrison will definitely play Saturday,” Pruitt said on the SEC teleconference on Wednesday. “To what extent, we’ve not decided yet.”

On the season, Bailey is 14 of 23 for 175 yards and two interceptions — both of which came in desperation time against Arkansas. Bailey was able to lead a touchdown drive against Auburn in the fourth quarter, perhaps giving the Tennessee offense something to build off of going into December.

“I feel like the three games that he’s played in, obviously the situations were probably favorable to him at the time,” Pruitt said. “But I thought he handled himself really well. He continues to improve. So the more practice that he gets, probably the more comfortable he is in the system and his surroundings and the people around him.”

Pruitt told the media on Monday that Tennessee had one quarterback in quarantine due to contact tracing, but didn’t mention which one. Obviously, that could play a role in who plays against the Gators on Saturday.

Tennessee is a three-score underdog against Florida this weekend. Kickoff is set for 3:30 p.m. ET on CBS.