Jim Chaney discusses his growing relationship with Jarrett Guarantano, what Tennessee QB needs to work on in camp
Jim Chaney’s return to Tennessee was arguably the biggest coordinator hire in the entire Southeastern Conference this offseason for many reasons. Not only did Jeremy Pruitt manage to weaken a division opponent while at the same time drastically improve his staff, with the hire of Chaney, Tennessee’s defensive-minded head coach can now have full confidence in his offensive play-caller to know what to do in just about every situation that arises on the field.
In addition to all the pros you get with Chaney as a coach, Pruitt shared his thoughts on just how easy his offensive coordinator is to talk with off the field.
“Working with Jim for the last six months, he’s really easy to talk to and he is a funny guy, has a great personality, witty and really, really smart,” Pruitt said on Thursday. “I’ve sat in his meetings with the offensive staff and with the offensive players and he captivates them. He has a really good teaching progression and knows what he is talking about and I believe in him, I’m sure our coaches believe in him and our players believe in him. He’s a guy that’s done well for a long period of time. And the guy just seems to get better every year.”
That comment is noteworthy for a number of reasons, but one stands out heading into the 2019 season. Tennessee’s starting quarterback Jarrett Guarantano has been forced to work with four offensive coordinators in his four seasons in Knoxville. That level of turnover is obviously not constructive for developing as a player on the field or for relationship building off it.
Now with Chaney back roaming the sidelines on Rocky Top, Guarantano has someone he can fully trust to develop him into an elite signal-caller. According to Chaney, the relationship between the two has gotten off to a great start.
“It’s very good, very sound. I’ve enjoyed Jarrett,” Chaney said on Thursday. “Hopefully, he’ll have a good season for us and he’s hungry to do so. He’s a very good student of football. He has a good aptitude and he has a good feel for the game. I like Jarrett. We’ve developed a good relationship thus far.”
In previous years, it’s been unclear how much control of Tennessee’s offense Guarantano has had on the field. Chaney left no room for any grey area when it comes to how much of the offense the redshirt junior will have to work with this season on the field.
“As much as he can handle. I think any good offense allows your quarterbacks to change plays when they need to,” Tennessee’s offensive coordinator said when asked how much freedom Guarantano would have in the offense. “As a play-caller, you can sit there and be right about 60 percent of the time. Somebody’s got to get you right that other 40 percent or you’re living in a bad situation. The expectation for him is to get me out of my horrible calls to some good calls, which I think he can do and I trust all of our quarterbacks to be able to do that, but he should be able to do it at a higher rate because he’s played more football.”
After working together in the spring, Chaney has a clear vision for what Guarantano needs to work on heading into fall camp and laid it out for the junior signal-caller during his recent media availability.
“Playing clean football, distributing [the ball] around to our playmakers and not letting him think that everything rides on his shoulders,” Chaney said of the goals for Guarantano heading into camp. “I’m more worried about him learning all the protections and continuing to develop in that mindset so he keeps himself protected.”