An immense SEC East game is approaching for the Tennessee Vols football team this Saturday, and head coach Butch Jones has rendered a huge change. On Tuesday afternoon, Coach Jones announced he would be starting redshirt freshman quarterback Jarrett Guarantano against South Carolina.
BREAKING: Jarrett Guarantano will start Saturday vs. South Carolina. Dormady’s future unclear (@Volquest_Rivals first)
— FOX Sports Knoxville (@FOXSportsKnox) October 10, 2017
As most fans have been aspiring for Guarantano to be at the helm for the past couple weeks, it seems this may be Coach Jones’s last-ditch effort to preserve this already disappointing season for the Vols. It looks to be the right move anyway; however, as quarterback Quinten Dormady’s performance has been less-than-average so far this season The move comes after a rough three-game stretch where the Vols lost in excruciating fashion in Gainesville and put up seventeen and zero points against Massachusetts and Georgia, respectively. Therefore, there was really no other direction Jones could move here other than breaking out the young Guarantano.
Guarantano has not necessarily proven anything to justify being the starter thus far, but Jones has not placed him in a situation to display his talent either. The dual-threat quarterback has made sporadic entrances in nearly every game the Vols have played, unable to gain a consistent rhythm with the struggling offense. Now, Jones is clearly liberating Guarantano in hopes to give his offense a spark and hopefully prevail over Will Muschamp’s stingy South Carolina squad.
With the benching of quarterback Quinten Dormady, it gives the impression as if the former starter’s future is very vague with the team.
The locker room was said to be strong 24 hours ago, now Guarantano named the starter vs. SC and Dormady is now contemplating future at UT.
— Dan Harralson (@danharralson) October 10, 2017
No one knows what “contemplating future” means for certain, but this may be indicating Dormady could be considering leaving the program in an abrupt fashion. While this is nothing to jump to conclusions over, it would prove no shock if Dormady were to leave as more surprising things have occurred in Tennessee football in the past three years. Perhaps Dormady was irritated by the naming of Guarantano as the starter this week. No one may truly know, but it is most certainly difficult not to feel some sympathy for the junior quarterback. Expectations were high, as always, for Tennessee football this year, and neither Dormady nor the team has lived up to them mid-way through the season. Yes, there have been drastic injuries, media attacks, booing from fans, and many other distractions, but no one seems to give athletes a break no matter the circumstances in this day and age. If this is the end of Dormady’s short-lived starting tenure for the Vols, one could not blame him for leaving to find a better opportunity to play and succeed in another program.
After Tennessee was blanked in their last game vs. Georgia, expect them to come out firing against the Gamecocks this weekend. Jarrett Guarantano’s skillset generates many more options for the Volunteer offense such as his ability to run when faced with pressure. Also, Tennessee’s offense looked to be somewhat predictable every time Dormady ran the read option with running back John Kelly or whoever was in the rotation at the time. With no disrespect, Dormady is simply not a threat to leave the pocket in a burst of speed nor pull the ball and run on the read option. In reality, on one of the few times he did keep the read option against Massachusetts, he fumbled the ball. Look for Guarantano to utilize his dual-threat ability this Saturday in the different phases of the Tennessee offense. It may be their only cure for what has been a dreadful start offensively to the season for the Big Orange.
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