KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee’s quarterback competition involves every facet of the game, and of the position itself.
Vols quarterbacks coach Mike Canales channels his inner-Jon Gruden in the position room, and borrows from New England coach Bill Belichick where appropriate.
“A lot of our meetings are like Jon Gruden’s quarterback camp — we get on the board and we force them to be able to draw it up,” Canales said. “They have to draw the defensive scheme and be able to explain it and talk the nomenclature of the defensive scheme and offensive scheme and be able to tell me like I’m a freshman.
“That’s why I tell them, you’re on the board, you’ve got to explain it like you’re a coach, and they’ve done a great job.”
Junior Quinten Dormady has shown the greatest understanding of the offense and game management skills, but redshirt freshman Jarrett Guarantano is picking up things quickly and Will McBride is developing.
Canales, takes the Belichick approach when managing the quarterbacks competition.
“Every day is a competition, and I tell them, ‘Just go out there and don’t compare, just compete,’ “ Canales said. “Don’t worry about beating someone else out, just do your job on the field.
“Bill Belichick said it best, ‘Just do your job.’ “
Canales said he’s sure that Guarantano has been fueled by the perception that Dormady is winning the starting job.
“I’m sure it probably did motivate him, tt would push anybody wouldn’t it?” Canales said. “If you’re that guy, you’re going, ‘wait a minute I’m still in the mix, we’re battling, we’re competing.’
“ It probably put a little fire in him and made him compete even harder in summer workouts and that’s great.”
McBride, meanwhile, is evolving even better than Canales could have expected from the true freshman.
“He just has a better understanding of the offense, has a little more knowledge of it,” Canales said. “He’s kind of coming out of his shell little bit more. He’s got a little swag to him, I like that.
“He’s comfortable in his own skin and he’s opened up a lot more, and in the quarterback room he says a lot more than I expected him to do at this time, but that’s good because we’ve got to be able to tease each other in the room and feel comfortable with each other. It’s comfortable.”
Mike Canales summer press conference