KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Saturday marked the final time Jarrett Guarantano and Will McBride had the stage to themselves. Tennessee’s top two quarterbacks on the depth chart had all spring to impress the coaching staff without interference from Stanford transfer Keller Chryst or incoming freshman JT Shrout.
Guarantano was the clear winner of the day, both individually and in terms of team success. His Orange squad posted a 34-7 victory over McBride’s White side, and the sophomore completed 15 of 27 passes for 226 yards and 2 touchdowns on a mostly mistake-free afternoon.
However, coach Jeremy Pruitt stopped short of showering his MVP quarterback with praise.
“You look at one day’s work out there, that’s not really a true indication of how spring actually went,” Pruitt said. “We’ll know who our quarterback is probably when we go to Charlotte [vs. West Virginia in Week 1], about halfway through the fourth quarter. We’ll have a good idea of who our quarterback is at that point.”
Here’s a closer look at the quarterbacks’ performances:
Tennessee quarterback comparison
|Jarrett Guarantano||Will McBride ||Bart Harris|
|Short left (<10)||2-3, 19 yards, TD||2-3, 8 yards|
|Short middle||1-1, 5 yards||2-4, 10 yards|
|Short right||4-5, 23 yards||0-1, 0 yards|
|Left (<20)||2-4, 28 yards||1-2, 18 yards|
|Middle||1-2, 23 yards||0-2, 2 INT|
|Right||1-1, 16 yards||0-1, 0 yards|
|Inter. left (<30)|
|Inter. middle||2-2, 58 yards, TD||1-1, 35 yards, TD|
|Inter. right||1-7, 20 yards||0-1, 0 yards|
|Deep left (<40)|
|Deep right||1-1, 34 yards||0-1, 0 yards||0-1, 0 yards|
|Way deep left (40+)||0-2, 0 yards|
|Way deep middle|
|Way deep right||0-1, 0 yards||0-1, 0 yards||0-1, 0 yards|
- Guarantano threw a great deep ball down the right sideline on his first drive, but his receiver’s arm was held by the covering defensive back (penalty not called).
- His first touchdown pass was a jump-ball toss to Marquez Callaway to the left side of the end zone. The defensive back had time to make a play, but Callaway outjumped him and snared the football at its high point.
- Defensive end Kyle Phillips planted Guarantano on the ground during a second-quarter trick play. Guarantano was “blocking” in the middle of a double-reverse when Phillips shoved him to the turf. Phillips also had a two-hand-touch “sack” later in the game.
- Facing fourth-and-6 in the fourth quarter, Guarantano fired a perfect bullet past a linebacker to Josh Palmer, but the receiver couldn’t hang on.
- Guarantano’s second touchdown pass was a bullet down the middle of the field that Ethan Wolf was able to corral with one hand following a slight deflection. The 29-yard score was the final offensive play of the game.
- McBride’s first throw was a play-action bomb that sailed just out of Jordan Murphy’s reach. It was more or less a perfect ball; one that most receivers would have grabbed.
- A similar deep throw in the fourth quarter looked like it would land in Murphy’s hands, but the safety swatted it away at the last moment.
- McBride had another chance to throw deep in the fourth quarter, but a double-reverse pass took too long to develop and he was forced to rush his release (the ball was underthrown).
- After a long drought without a pass attempt, he badly overthrew two passes in the second quarter.
- He didn’t record his first completion (a 5-yard pass to running back Trey Coleman) until the 3:28 mark of the second quarter.
- McBride tossed 2 interceptions, but neither was completely his fault. On the first, his receiver had two hands on the ball (thrown slightly behind) before it bounced into the defender’s hands. In the second half, a pass rusher hit his arm as he released the ball, leading to a fluttering pass down the middle that linebacker Shanon Reid made an excellent read on.
- He earned some redemption near the end of the game, leading a 9-play, 85-yard drive that finally put his White team on the scoreboard.
- Harris only got three plays on the day, but the coaches let him throw the ball all over the field in that time. His final play was the most impressive; Harris evaded a sack, rolled right and fired a deep pass that should’ve gone for a touchdown … had receiver Brent McPherson not underestimated his quarterback’s arm strength.
What did you think of the quarterbacks’ performances on Saturday? Let us know in the comments section below.