Needless to say it’s not easy being a Vols fan in 2019. The Vols have seen their fair share of turmoil in the past few years and as we enter week 7 the Vols sit at 1-4 overall.
It’s weird to think that after the 2nd biggest loss of the season, we probably have the most hope we’ve had all season.
A New Generation
This program is still in a transitional phase. The Vols are trying to push out the last couple of Butch Jones’ recruits that haven’t bought into Pruitt’s philosophy. Once they’re gone this allows Pruitt to build his own program, his own culture, with his young players.
One of the best steps toward creating that culture was pulling Jarrett Guarantano in favor of freshman Brian Maurer . At this point in the season, I feel that a lot of fans have lowered their expectations, and for good reason, so why not try to make the most of it?
When you let a freshman start against one of the best teams in the country you are prioritizing growth and development. Maurer really didn’t have that bad of a game either. Accuracy and decision making may need to be worked on, but he still put up 259 yards on Georgia. More importantly, he appears to have a leader mentality.
More Notable Young Players
Some other young players that are already making an impact for the team are guys like Henry To’o To’o, who has be huge at the LB position with 13 solo tackles and 19 assist. Also there is Wanya Morris and Darnell Wright coming to help Trey Smith on our struggling offensive line, they are finding out how aggressive they need to be in order to be successful in this league. Eric Gray coming out of the backfield with over 200 total yards on the year already. Quavaris Crouch who was literally knocking guys out at practice because he was being so aggressive. I think it is only right that we still expect a lot out of some other young players as well, like the tank Elijah Simmons. Alonte Taylor and Bryce Thompson should both be guys that help lock down the secondary by the end of this year rolling into next year.
By allowing a lot of these young players to get some time, whether it is starting, or just a couple series, Pruitt is grooming them all to be leaders and turn this ship around.
There is so much talent on this team. Typically you wouldn’t have much hope for a team that is currently 1-4 but man am I excited. I’m willing to take the lumps right now if we start to turn in on down the road. This team is more than capable of being great. With that being said, do I think they win out the rest of the season? Not necessarily, but I do believe we are going to see a different energy than what we have seen through the first few games of the season.
Am I saying that our record would be 3-2 right now if we let Maurer start? YES. As I said before, at this point we need to try and salvage as much of the season as possible. With Pruitt putting all of these young players in, I feel that we are doing just that. Hey there are 7 games left, they may surprise us come end of the season and I’m excited to see it. Go Vols!