Takeaways from Vols Loss to South Carolina

Tennessee Vols lose to South Carolina
Photo Credit Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

While Saturday’s game against South Carolina is a game that Tennessee fans want to forget, there are still plenty of things this team can learn from and take away moving forward.

Guarantano is the Guy

Redshirt freshman quarterback Jarrett Guarantano showed what he is capable of and what he can bring to the table going forward into his career during his first career start on Saturday.

The young quarterback showed a lot of poise and confidence throughout the game, especially in the last drive during the final minute of the game. Guarantano led the Vols over 70 yards down the field with no timeouts remaining.

He made some freshman mistakes, but that was expected. This kid has a bright future with the program, and fans should definitely be excited.

John Kelly Remains Best Player on the Team

Kelly didn’t have his best game on Saturday when it came to overall statistics, but he still showed how dynamic of a player he is.

Kelly is still top five in the SEC in rushing and averages nearly five yards per carry. Despite a hot start, Kelly only had four touches in the second half against South Carolina.

If Tennessee wants to make a run at three straight years with eight wins, they need John Kelly to carry them there.

Defense Must Generate Pass Rush

The Tennessee defense only had one sack against a depleted South Carolina offensive line on Saturday.

If there is one thing that makes a team successful in the SEC, it’s knowing how to get to the quarterback. And with at least two more games against good offensive lines (Alabama and Kentucky), the Vols need to find a way to put pressure on the quarterback and try to force turnovers if they want any chance at all to win one of those games.

Butch Still Can’t Get the Job Done

Butch Jones has taken so much heat over the last few weeks, and hasn’t given anybody a reason to think he doesn’t deserve it.

His play calling at the end of the game on Saturday was very questionable, to say the least. Jones decision to run a bootleg pass play to the short side of the field with only one second remaining from the two-yard line instead of giving Kelly, his best player, a chance to make a play is puzzling.

This quote from his press conference speaks for itself:

An ugly loss to South Carolina, accompanied by a poor explanation as to what went wrong, continues to frustrate the Volunteer faithful who are left wondering what more will it take to unseat Jones.

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About Taylor Hodges 14 Articles
My name is Taylor Hodges, and I live in Montgomery, Alabama, where I am the assistant sports information director at Faulkner University. I am a lifelong Tennessee Vols and Indianapolis Colts fan, and I am a lover of all things sports. I love writing about sports, and I hope to continue to do so as a career for as long as possible.