After three days to digest his first collegiate start, which ended in a troubling 15-9 loss to South Carolina, Jarrett Guarantano saw a lot to be gained from the performance.
“I think it was a very good learning experience,” Guarantano said Wednesday evening on Vol Calls. “I think there’s a lot of things I can learn from and get better from. I think all around it was OK. We didn’t come up with a win, which is really the reason that I’m out there, but I think there’s a lot of stuff that I can definitely get better at work this week.”
Guarantano completed 11 of 18 passes for 133 yards with one pass to Brandon Johnson going for 39 yards but not another going for more than 16. He was sacked 7 times, but didn’t throw an interception. There was obvious downside to the lack of big plays and the sacks, but the positive was that he was reasonably accurate and didn’t put the ball in the wrong hands.
“I thought he prepared very well all week long,” Butch Jones said. “His confidence, the quarterback intangibles, we did not turn the football over. Particularly in the first quarter, in the first half, we did not have any negative yardage football plays. … If it’s not there, the ability to run and create a couple yards with your legs and stay on schedule. I liked a lot of things, but that was his first game. There’s a growing up progress.”
Guarantano had a chance to win the game at the end, but his pass went through the hands of Johnson in the end zone.
“I thought probably one of the best throws Jarrett had was the last play of the game on the sprint out,” Jones said. “I think that shows you the type of competitor and that type of situation, he saved his best for last, but we just weren’t able to execute.”
Jones was asked if he considers Guarantano similar to Pat White, whom he worked with while an assistant at West Virginia.
“Pat was really the first evolution truly of dual-threat quarterback and being able to run some different things with the RPOs,” Jones said. “Jarrett has some similarities to Patrick, but Jarrett has a lot of differences in terms of being a drop-back passer, being able to do some things. For us, it’s just about staying on course, and Jarrett being a student of the game and really soaking in as much game repetition and live repetition as you can.”