Finally, in Tennessee’s eighth game of the season, change is coming under center. According to a report from Matt Zenitz, Harrison Bailey will start at quarterback today, replacing Jarrett Guarantano.
Sources: Tennessee will start freshman Harrison Bailey at QB vs. Florida today.— Matt Zenitz (@mzenitz) December 5, 2020
Jeremy Pruitt acknowledged earlier in the week that Bailey would at the very least get playing time in the game but maintained that he hadn't made a final decision on a starter. It will be Bailey.
Per a report from Jimmy Hyams on Friday, Guarantano was the Tennessee quarterback in quarantine this week that Jeremy Pruitt spoke of. Though the wheels were already turning here, Guarantano’s quarantine may have been the final straw in the situation.
Jarrett Guarantano is the Tennessee QB who was in isolation, according to sources. Jeremy Pruitt said he had a QB in quarantine but didn't ID him. Guarantano did not practice last week. He returned to practice this week. It's not known if he had the virus or was in close contact.— Jimmy Hyams (@JimmyHyams) December 4, 2020
Zenitz also reports that Guarantano will be available to play today.
So it’ll be Harrison Bailey, the former five-star prospect, getting his first career start against the No. 6 Florida Gators today. It’s something that we’ve all been calling for, especially considering how Tennessee’s season has fallen apart. At this point, you may as well get him some experience and build towards 2021.
Bailey has seen time late in losses to Kentucky, Auburn and Arkansas, but really hasn’t had any substantial playing time. He certainly hasn’t been able to prepare as the starter throughout a game week, but that all changes here.
Florida’s defense has proven to be leaky at times this year, so maybe Bailey is able to find some opportunities to attack today. Still, it’s going to be difficult for the Volunteers to keep up with Kyle Trask and Kyle Pitts on the other side of the ball.
At the very least, this gives us some added intrigue here and a look at the potential future of Tennessee football.