Following rough outing, Jeremy Pruitt discusses how Jarrett Guarantano can bounce back
Tennessee has opened the season with an unthinkable 0-2 record after dropping home games against Georgia State and BYU and is now set to welcome Chattanooga to Neyland Stadium desperately seeking the program’s first win of 2019.
Jeremy Pruitt met with the media Monday to discuss the latest with his Volunteer program and one of the popular topics in Knoxville came up early during the press conference — the struggling performance of Jarrett Guarantano after two weeks of play.
Following the offseason hire of veteran offensive coordinator and highly regarded quarterback coach Jim Chaney, most believed the junior signal-caller would improve following a consistent 2018 season which was Guarantano’s first as a college starting quarterback. So far, the opposite has occurred and Tennessee’s starting quarterback has regressed despite the fact he doesn’t have another QB pushing for playing time behind him for the first time in his college career.
When asked what has been holding Guarantano back, Pruitt offered up this assessment of his starting quarterback.
“I don’t think anything is holding Jarrett back. Let me tell you, Jarrett Guarantano has practiced extremely well. From spring to fall camp, okay? And has made some really nice plays in both games,” Pruitt said on Monday. “Jarrett will tell you, just like I tell you — we all, myself included, everyone has to raise their standard and expectations in this program. Okay, and be a little more consistent — that’s everybody. He’s no different than anyone else.”
While that may be the case, Guarantano has had real issues seeing the field in two games this season. When he’s not missing wide-open players on the field, he’s finding others late and missing throws that would either lead to points or put Tennessee in position to score points on drives.
Is that something Tennessee can help him find success with moving forward? Pruitt believes it is.
“I think one thing is, we have had some pretty nice pockets most of the time but there was a few times on Saturday when they rushed four guys and we had one guy get beat, that really collapsed the pocket and there’s no time to throw the ball,” Pruitt offered up. “One time, we had a really nice drive going in the second quarter and the balls on the 30-yard line and it’s first and 10, we are going to take a play-action shot and as soon as we turn around, we get a sack and we try and throw the ball away and get an intentional grounding. We have got to be more consistent upfront.”
Finally, when asked about what Guarantano needs to specifically do to correct these errors, Pruitt put it on himself and the entire team to improve following the team’s 0-2 start.
“Let me tell you, he’s done a lot of really nice things, but so have a lot of people in the program, right? There’s not much difference in winning and losing,” he continued. “If you look at Saturday’s game, there’s probably 80 plays on offense and right about that on defense. You never know when the play is going to present itself that could decide the outcome of the game, so that’s why you try to create the right habits in practice and you practice it until you don’t get it wrong. That’s what everyone in our program has got to do, including him.”