In just a matter of hours now, we’ll see Tennessee’s shiny new offense take the field for the first time in a real live game. When we think about what it will look like, our minds naturally go to the quarterbacks, running backs and wide receivers. But what about the offensive line?
The front had a lot of ‘beef’ under Jeremy Pruitt, as Jim Chaney ran a more traditional, pro-style attack. Tennessee wanted to control the line of scrimmage in 2020, and seemingly on paper had the pieces to do just that. However, as you know, that didn’t happen and Tennessee ended up going 3-7. So naturally, once Jeremy Pruitt was fired, it made sense to go in a totally new direction.
In steps Josh Heupel, who has been working to transform his inherited roster into a leaner, faster attack. That meant slimming some offensive linemen down and getting them in the best shape of their lives, in preparation of operating at warp speed.
Now through spring and fall camp, players have seen enough of the system to have an opinion. On Monday, Tennessee starting offensive guard Jerome Carvin described what he loved about the new approach.
“I love just going to line up, and seeing the defense not putting their hands down, standing up, gasping for air,” Carvin said. “As offensive linemen, we love that. It’s like a shark smelling blood in the water. That’s how I kind of feel about it. I love just flying off the ball, seeing the defense not even set up. It’s great.”
That’s exactly what Josh Heupel is hoping to see. Plenty of teams have spread offenses, but few play with the pace that he wants. It worked in the AAC, it’s worked in the Big 12 — and really it’s worked in the SEC at Missouri. How quickly can Tennessee get it up and running at full speed? We’ll start to find out on Thursday night, but we’ll really get a good snapshot of it when Pitt comes to town on September 11th.