KNOXVILLE – Tennessee had a quick turnaround — only five days — following its double-overtime win over Georgia Tech.
The opponent in Week 2 was Indiana State from the FCS.
The importance of the game was to escape without injury and have players start placing their stamp on the offense. For the most part, Tennessee did so in 42-7 victory at Neyland Stadium.
Quarterback Quinten Dormady started for the second consecutive game and was 10-for-12 in the first half with one touchdown. He finished 13-of-18 for 194 yards and two touchdowns.
Butch Jones handed back-up quarterback Jarrett Guarantano meaningful snaps, sprinkling him in with Dormady.
Guarantano finished his first collegiate game going 4-of-12 for 41 yards and one touchdown.
Both Vols quarterbacks looked fluid within the offense and both tried to implement playmakers throughout.
“I thought we left some plays out there in the first half, but if you look at the efficiency of throwing the football, I thought they did some good things,” Jones said. “I’m very encouraged and excited about that. Both of these individuals need to continue to gain valuable repetitions.”
The valuable repetitions are being spread throughout the offense as coordinator Larry Scott continues to determine the identity of his unit.
The tinkering and fine-tuning has several players looking like they’re finding their niche on offense. And they better be. It’s rivalry week with the Florida Gators — a chance to begin conference play in the win column.
Wide receiver Brandon Johnson is among the offensive players who appear to be emerging.
Johnson finished with a team-high eight targets against Georgia Tech, and finished with four catches against Indiana State for 50 yards and a touchdown.
“It felt amazing,” Johnson said. “I give all the glory to God, honestly. I’ve just been working for a long time, and for something like this to happen, it’s a dream come true. I can’t wait to get out there and try to do it again and keep working.”
The touchdown to Johnson shows that Dormady is becoming comfortable with his personnel.
“Based off the coverage that they (Indiana State) were in, I had to change the protection so we could protect it and gave Brandon (Johnson) a check to basically an inside fade,” Dormady said. “He went up and made a play.”
Marquez Callaway continues to lead the Volunteers at the wide receiver position after a game-changing performance in Week 1. In Week 2, Callaway finished with one reception resulting in a 37-yard touchdown.
Jeff George with two receptions for 28 yards and a touchdown, alongside Josh Palmer with one reception for 18 yards, were in the game plan from the beginning with numerous targets as the Vols find replacements for Jauan Jennings, who is out for 12 weeks.
At running back, John Kelly carried the workload once.
Kelly finished with 23 carries, one less than he had against Georgia Tech.
“I’m ready for whatever,” Kelly said. “It doesn’t matter to me. I love it. I’m going to eat it up every time.
“I’m just glad my young guys got to get some of the reps, though, because they’re going to get some more valuable reps coming down the season.”
The young guys behind him are sophomore Carlin fils-Aime and true freshmen Trey Coleman and Tim Jordan.
Fils-aime finished with three carries totaling 41 yards and scored two touchdowns. Jordan had four rushing attempts for 22 yards and Coleman had four attempts for 10 yards.
Another true freshman running back is Ty Chandler. He saw game action versus Georgia Tech and reached the field once again in Week 2. Chandler took the opening kickoff for a touchdown and had four rushing attempts.
Two weeks into the season, Jones likes his personnel offensively as conference play looms.
These guys are going to play, and they need those valuable repetitions,” he said.