KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee football coach Butch Jones likes the idea of a full-fledged, Orange team vs. White team scrimmage at Neyland Stadium this Saturday
But with the amount of players sidelined by injuries, or still recovering from offseason surgeries, it’s obviously not possible.
“In a perfect world, yes, we would like to scrimmage all out,” Jones said Monday night at Lee Stadium after appearing on the SEC Network. “Unfortunately, we’re not going to be able to this spring, so we’ll try to make it as competitive as possible in other ways.”
Tennessee’s annual Orange and White Game, which begins at 4 p.m. on Saturday, has been one of the most attended spring scrimmages in the SEC since Jones took over and invigorated the program.
Jones sees to it his players are available before the game with a fan appreciation function, autographs available from 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m., Gate 7 opening at 12:30 p.m.
The Vols, coming off back-to-back Top 25 seasons less than four years removed from the worst stretch in program history, have a quarterback derby on their hands that promises intrigue.
Jones has kept the players mostly under wraps, but on Saturday, he’ll trot them out there for all to see.
And he’ll pay close attention to who does what.
Junior Quinten Dormady is a coaches’ son, and prototypical pocket passer from Texas who also possesses decent mobility.
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Redshirt freshman Jarrett Guarantano is the confident athletic option, brash enough to suggest Tennessee is “soon to be SEC champion,” but still learning to run the team.
Redshirt sophomore Sheriron Jones has shown both a pocket presence and mobility, representing a good mix of the skills Dormady and Guarantano possess, and showing why Florida and Ole Miss also offered him scholarships when he was coming out of high school in California.
It’s likely that part of the reason why Jones is willing to put his quarterbacks on display at the Orange and White Game is because they have impressed so much under first-year QB coach Mike Canales.
“We’ll do the quarterback challenge,” Jones said of the drill work pitting the quarterbacks against one another. “I think it’s a great measuring tool for us as coaches to see how they will compete when there’s all eyes on them and they are in front of Vol Nation.”
Jones said Tennessee will also conduct the “Circle of Life” drill, other one-on-one competitions and “some situational football.”