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Backup quarterback job still open for Tennessee ahead of opener

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Who will it be?

Georgia State v Tennessee Photo by Silas Walker/Getty Images

It’s game week, but Jeremy Pruitt isn’t ready to announce who has won the backup quarterback gig just yet. Jarrett Guarantano will be the starter, but the Volunteers have options behind him, including two players that saw action in 2019.

Five-star freshman quarterback Harrison Bailey enrolled early back in January and was ready to make some noise in this battle, until spring practices were canceled. That set him back, basically ending his hope of playing this fall before they even began, but he’s remained engaged in the backup quarterback battle during fall camp.

There seems to be some momentum surrounding J.T. Shrout, who is entering his third season in the program. As Pruitt points out, he’s had the most reps of anyone in the battle.

“It is still open-ended heading into the weekend,” Pruitt told reporters on Monday. “We will make a decision over the weekend and see who gives us the best opportunity. With Harrison and Brian, both of those guys have missed practices for different reasons during fall camp. J.T. has obviously had the opportunity to take more reps, but we are giving both of those guys a chance.”

Brian Maurer entered camp as the favorite to win the job after starting a few games last season. His progress was derailed by a couple of concussions, which ultimately gave Guarantano his starting job back.

Whoever wins the battle, Tennessee is in a much better spot depth-wise as they enter 2020 than they were in 2019. We at least have somewhat of an idea of what each passer brings to the table, outside of Bailey.

Look for an official depth chart to be released at some point this week, likely with plenty of “-OR-” designations.