ATLANTA — Tennessee escaped its opening game Monday night with a 42-41 double-overtime victory over Georgia Tech.
The No. 21-ranked Vols (1-0), however, did not escape the scrutiny that comes with playing a nationally televised game on ESPN.
Analyst Kirk Herbstreit speculated on Tennessee making a quarterback change after the Vols managed only 7 points in the first half. Later, in the second half, Herbstreit pointed out backup quarterback Jarrett Guarantano was not engaged with Dormady or assistant coach Mike Canales on the sideline.
“A lot of people wonder why Quinten Dormady got the start over Guarantano,” Herbstreit said. “As a backup quarterback, wherever the play callers are, whether you have a headset on or you’re signaling in plays, you should be somewhere where the offenses are called so you are getting the play call and you’re learning.”
Tennessee’s No. 3 quarterback, Will McBride, was sitting next to Guarantano and also not near the play calling nor Dormady.
It could be as simple as a sideline management issue with a new offensive staff, more so than Guarantano having any sort of attitude.
In fact, Guarantano tweeted out his happiness with the victory on Tuesday, which would seem to indicate his attitude is just fine.
— Jarrett Guarantano✞ (@BroadwayJay2) September 5, 2017
Coach Butch Jones management of quarterback snaps is a different issue.
Jones said the situation would dictate how many quarterbacks played, and after the come-from-behind victory, he explained why he stuck with Dormady.
“We knew our possessions were going to be minimal in this football game, and we needed consistency and we needed continuity,” Jones said. “It’s just the ebbs and flows of the game, and when your receiving corps is down some guys and all of that, the last thing you want to do is continue to make changes.
“We had some offensive linemen go down and we had to put some new guys in there, and they did a remarkable job of being ready, and then the guys battling back.”
Herbstreit said in the first half he might have played Guarantano earlier in the game.
“I might give him a series or two, to try to see if he could create a spark,” Herbstreit said. “It’s not as if Dormady has played terribly, but he also hasn’t played masterfully, either. I’d give the freshman a chance and see what he could do.”
Herbstreit also said that “you could crush one quarterback by going to the other.”
Jones final word Monday night was, “Jarrett will get his opportunity, but each game is different in and of itself.”
Here’s today’s podcast with WNML’s Josh Ward and SEC Country’s Mike Griffith