Tennessee still trying to figure out its starting five on the offensive line according to Jeremy Pruitt
Tennessee returns plenty of experience on its offensive line but considering the lack of success from the unit last fall, that’s not necessarily a positive. One thing that has given plenty of Volunteer fans hope? The program managed to land two five-star linemen that both project to play tackle for the team.
Considering the unit has a blend of experience and budding talent, the camp battles on the line of scrimmage are one of the most intriguing aspects of Tennessee’s ongoing training camp.
However, when asked about his potential starting unit on the offensive line during his most recent media availability, Jeremy Pruit offered up little in terms of concrete answers.
“I don’t think we’re anywhere close to finding the first group of five,” Pruitt noted. “I think we’ve got an idea of who the 10 or 11 guys there that we’re working. We’ve worked several combinations and it’s been good for the group. We’ve had several guys that have put a couple of good practices together but we’re looking for consistency with the entire group, so we’ve got good competition there.”
One name that has emerged this offseason as a potential breakout candidate following a strong spring showing is junior Jahmir Johnson. The former junior college All-American started 11 games for the Vols last season at left guard but with Trey Smith likely to return to the lineup, Johnson will have to find a new role on the line moving forward if he plans on starting.
Pruitt was asked if Johnson is struggling to find a role during training camp with Smith and the newcomers filling in roles on the line.
“You know, we’ve played him at left tackle, we’ve played him at left guard, we’ve done that with Wanya (Morris), we’ve moved the guys around a lot,” Pruitt said. “There’s nothing to that.”
Does that mean Johnson could see time on the other side of the line, potentially at right guard?
“Well, I guess you can,” Pruitt continued. “I would say there’s probably a difference in the sets, you probably could get more comfortable on one side than the other. I would think that if you can play one side, with a little bit of work, you could probably play the other side.”
While struggling to fit a talented player into the lineup may be an issue, it’s an issue Tennessee is likely glad to have after years of struggling to simply find capable bodies to fill its offensive line. If Tennessee has multiple players it believes can start on the offensive line, that has got to lead fans into beliving the days of the offensive line being a weakness are finally nearing an end.