Dormady appeared to have a slightly stronger arm during the opening periods, Guarantano was a step quicker in drill work.
Both appear talented enough to make a case to lead the Vols this season, though coach Butch Jones made it clear there is no timeline to name a starting quarterback.
Guarantano made himself an early fan favorite, showing great confidence and charisma in his interview sessions. Plus. he drew praise from George Whitfield after spending spring break grooming in his skills with the QB guru.
On Tuesday, the first day of Tennessee spring practice, this redshirt freshman from New Jersey “won the press conference,” so to speak.
Guarantano stared down the media and delivered a money quote that is just as sure to excite Tennessee fans as it is to draw jeers from rivals at Alabama, Georgia and Florida.
“Every single step is watched,” Guarantano said, asked about the scrutiny he faces as an elite athlete at Tennessee. “I go to class, I’m being watched, I’m on Twitter I’m being watched …
“But that’s what comes with the job. That’s what comes with being the quarterback to a big university — a university that’s soon to be the SEC champions, and it’s going to be even crazier in the future.”
At 6-foot-4, 211 pounds, Guarantano looks every bit the part of being the 247Sports composite rankings’ No. 1-ranked dual-threat QB in the 2016 recruiting class, showing mobility, an electric arm and supreme confidence.
No doubt in Dormady
In the other corner of this spring football heavyweight bout, coming in at 6-4 and 225 pounds, there’s Dormady, a subtle Texan with a quiet confidence and unmistakable resolve.
“I’m just trying to be myself, I’m not going to change,” Dormady, who will be a junior next fall, said after Tuesday’s practice. “The only thing is just trying to be consistent. (But) I’m not going to change who I am. I am who I am, and I’ve been this way for 21 years.
“This is my third spring, so I’ve been through the ups and downs.”
The Tennessee quarterback battle will be talked about and speculated on through spring drills, the offseason and likely into fall camp.
Maybe even the regular season.
Flashy Guarantano versus reserved Dormady.
“I think I’m a guy who is able to run the ball, definitely able to fire completions,” said Guarantano, flashing a smile. “I have a pretty strong arm. I have to get better at being vocal with the team, being more of a leader, but I think I’ll get accustomed to that as time goes on.”
Dormady was direct but short with his answers, clearly ready to get into the video room after the first day’s work.
“My strengths, I feel like I can make all the throws,” Dormady said. “There’s always things to improve. No one is perfect, I’m just trying to be consistent.”
Guarantano welcomes the scrutiny and the bubble he’s living in, having been a star athlete throughout his life.
“Every single little action is being watched and being filmed,” Guarantano said. “But I came here to be the best, (so) whatever it takes.”
Dormady is dug in, intent on winning the job after waiting his turn in line behind Josh Dobbs the past two seasons.
“We’re always helping each other out, but it’s constant competition,” Dormady said. “Whether it be in the meeting room or answering questions or out on the field.
“It’s the same in there as it is out here.”