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Volunteer as Tribute: UT Offense Preview

Tennessee v South Carolina Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

It’s Hate Week!!!

Have you hated the Volunteers today? Do you hate their stupid yellow orange? That incessant song? An overbuilt stadium that doesn’t fill up in an age of mammoth HD TV’s? Let the hate flow through you. Good. Gooooood.

Hate Tennessee’s offense. It’s kind of sad, but sometimes works in conference. Hopefully, they will be the tribute to the ‘Dores bowl game clinching success.

They have a serviceable QB behind a sieve of an offensive line. Their running game is effective when they get any push. But overall, they don’t score a lot of points and aren’t very effective moving the ball.

They are 59th in S&P+ and 119th in Total Offense. This basically means, they don’t move the ball or score points, but since they play difficult defense like Alabama, UF, and UGA they get graded on a curve. They have a balanced offense with 14 touchdowns in both in the passing and rushing game. They have 1760 yards on the ground and 2218 in the air.

Jarrett Guarantano is no guarantee (I’ve been here all season. Please remember to tip your waitresses, especially if we make a bowl). He is a steady hand at the QB position but has had trouble staying healthy (see, sieve OL). He didn’t play against Mizzou and they offense struggled mightily, only scoring 17 points.

He is much better than he was last year. This year he is 140 of 217 for 1768 yards and 11 TD’s with only 2 INT’s. That’s why he is so important to this team. He doesn’t turn the ball over. He throws evenly on 1-3 downs but is most successful in completing passes on 3rd down with 67%, although the Vols are only 39% in 3rd down conversion. However, Guarantano is 80% on 3 & 3-7 (third and manageable) with an average completion of just over seven yards. That’s a great success rate. If they can get to manageable down and distance, they have the athletes to move the chains. It’s getting there that can be an issue.

NCAA Football: Missouri at Tennessee Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

The Vols have a very good WR core with their most successful WR being Marques Callaway. He is 6’2” and has the ability to make big plays. He is 34 with 556 yards but only one TD. Yet, in conference, he averages 20 yards per catch. He is regularly targeted between the 20’s but rarely in the Red Zone.

Jauan Jennings is probably the most important receiver the squad. He is 6’3” and physical. He fights for every pass and blocks in the run game. Jennings is 28 for 387 and has three touchdowns. In conference he is averaging 15 yards per catch. He is targeted most in Vols territory (although that could be a product of the offense not moving the ball well). Jennings is most effective on 3rd down with 13 catches for 214 yards.

On the ground, the Vols have one primary back in Ty Chandler. He is the do everything, home run threat, pass catching extraordinaire. He has six total TD’s. On the ground he is averaging on 4.3 yards per carry in conference, and only 55 yards per game. But in the air, it is just under 10 yards per catch. He sees most of his touches on first down, taking 65 of the teams total 180 plays. Tennessee also has three other players with three touchdowns on the ground.

Tennessee does not move the ball well or score many points (21 per game in conference). They have found some success in the latter half of the season with 24 points against USCe and UK, but it has been too little too late. Yet, they have potential, especially if Guarantano is healthy and in the game. They have skill players who can take advantage of over matched defenders or units.

When a team shows you their true colors, believe them. In Jeremy Pruitt’s first year, the offense can’t quite get it done.