KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee coach Butch Jones has made it clear his offensive scheme is encompassing enough to work regardless of which quarterback is under center.
Junior Quinten Dormady and redshirt freshman Jarrett Guarantano have their differences, as QBs coach Mike Canales explained Friday, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
“What we have in the room is a young man that’s very strong and multiple (Dormady) and able to throw the football,” Canales said at the press gathering in the Ray and Lucy Hand Digital Studio.
“Another one that’s a little more spread (Guarantano), but he’s very capable — they are both very strong throwers we all know that — so one may run a little better than the other type of deal.
“We have one that’s a gunslinger (third-team QB Will McBride) and has been in a spread offense and that’s what he’s used to, so it’s being able to take their strengths and playing to it, and make it work into our system.”
Timetable For Tennessee QB Battle
Dormady figures to be the starter for the opening game against Georgia Tech on Sept. 4 based on his experience, but Jones has committed to playing two quarterbacks — likely if Guarantano “earns” that role and shows enough presence and command of the offense.
Of course, things could change as Guarantano grows more comfortable with the offense, or even from game to game, as circumstances dictate.
Canales said he likes the fact the Vols’ offense can feature different facets, depending on who is under center.
“It’s nice we have guys that are different, (because) we don’t want the same type of kid, cardboard box personality or cardboard box skill set,” Canales said. “It’s nice to have guys that have multiple skill sets in the room.”
The personalities are just as different, and Guarantano has the sort of dynamic personality that has enabled him to lead and motivate teammates from the time he has arrived.
Tennessee Football QB Personalities
“With Quinten, a little more stoic, a little more poised, it’s just his personality, a little more quiet and reserved, doesn’t come out of his shell a lot unless he has to,” Canales said. “He’s done a great job of leading through the summer.
“Jarrett he’s a little more outgoing, a little more — I want to use the right word — he has that personality that glows. It’s just how he is.”
Canales summed things up by making it clear nothing has been decided at the quarterback position, even if circumstances would seem to favor one over the other in the early season.
“They understand it’s a global position, and they understand they have to be the CEO of the offense and their personality has to come out on the field, even if it’s something they are uncomfortable with,” Canales said. “But I think they understand as a leader they have to step on toes when it’s needed and lead from the front and push from the back, as well.
“This team is looking for someone to step up in that position.”
Tennessee Football QB Priorities
Canales didn’t back away from the concept of having a 2-quarterback offense, either, referencing how College Football Hall of Famer Steve Spurrier famously played two quarterbacks at Florida in the 1990s.
“Biggest thing is we’re gonna try to get two quarterbacks ready, or all three quarterbacks ready to play in that room, they are a snap away from being the next guy,” Canales said. “When coach Jones is ready and the time is right we’ll make that decision.
“What’s important is that they push themselves and they compete and not compare, that’s really important. I thought we got past that in the spring, we got better at that, just competing and not worrying about the other, and making sure we’re better than the day before.”