Jarrett Guarantano arrived at Tennessee after being regarded as one of the most touted high school quarterbacks in the nation. He has yet to live up to that hype on Rocky Top but considering he has worked with a different offensive coordinator in each of his four seasons at Tennessee and the offensive line failed to protect him more often than not in his first season as the team’s unquestioned starter under center, it’s hard to fully evaluate the job he’s done in Knoxville.
The Volunteers are hoping to put all those issues behind them entering the 2019 campaign and they all start with the offseason hire of offensive coordinator Jim Chaney. Chaney is back in his second stint on Rocky Top after being lured away from Kirby Smart’s Georgia program. Considering the unusually long hiring process that Pruitt took to find his newest OC, it would have been tougher for Tennessee to land a more accomplished coordinator with SEC ties.
Following the first day of spring practice, Guaranatano was asked to share his initial thoughts on Chaney’s new-look offense on Rocky Top.
“There’s not much different from last year to this year, just a lot of different verbiage everyone has to get accustomed to,” Guarantano said on Friday. “That’s about it really, I think he’s a great addition to the staff. I think everybody is excited to have him.”
While the offense may look the same in some regard, Guarantano is pleased to report that Chaney’s offense utilizes its tight ends more this season. That should be music to the ears of starting tight end Dominick Wood Anderson.
“I think this offense is tight end implemented so I think that the tight end is going to get the ball a lot. That’s definitely good for Dom, he’s a good receiver,” Guarantano continued. “And I think just being able to bring back all those guys on the offense is really going to help us in the long run.”
According to Tennessee’s signal caller, there were two areas of his game he worked on this offseason. One was a fundamental and the other was physical. Tennessee’s rising junior claims this offseason was all about working to get the ball out quicker.
“I tried to get quicker as the offseason went. I’ve been focusing on my release, on my footwork. I think with the offense coming in, there’s a lot of answers coming in, a lot of hot throws, I get to control the protection. I’m very excited for that,” he noted. “It’s just me being the master of the offense now.”
As for his physical development, Guarantano says he’s put on a significant amount of good weight this offseason to help his game in the fall. Last season, a banged-up Guarantano struggled to finish out the season strong and he was forced to exit two games completely once mid-October arrived.
“It was difficult going through the whole year always banged up, always having some injuries but I think that definitely helped my mental toughness along the way and I think that it’s only going to prepare me for the future when I have bumps and bruises. I want to do a better job of taking care of my body as well during those times,” Guarantano continued.
“I put on 20-25 pounds and it was definitely needed. I was weaker as the season went on so I knew I had to put on a lot more weight. That was definitely my emphasis.”