I think we can all agree that Tennessee fans have a love-hate relationship with Jarrett Guarantano. But what family doesn’t have a little bit of that?And maybe there has been a little more hate, but it’s all love down the back end of the season. Regardless of what we think, Coach Pruitt knew the value of his quarterback early.
Football is and will always be a team sport. But I think it’s fair to say that Guarantano had probably the biggest hand in the early-season woes. Through the first 5 games (1-4), Guarantano was 61/98 for 750 yards with 7 TDs and 4 INTs. There were many questionable calls on JG’s part that could have ultimately made these games 3-2 instead of 1-4. Then you get to the Alabama game and that momentum-shifting scoop and score really just set people over the edge. I can’t say I didn’t have some things to say, but ultimately it’s the coaching staff who call the shots.
A New Leaf
Now lets look at the new and improved Jarrett Guarantano. Through the last 6 games (5-1), JG is 67/111 for 1,067 yards with 7 TDs and only 1 INT. While the numbers aren’t drastic, the player is completely different. He is smarter with his decisions, puts the team in better positions, and is dedicates to this program. Just this past week you could see the emotion that this kid brings to the table. After having a career-high game beating Missouri 24-20, Guarantano gave his post-game interview with tears. Tears earned by a performance that also earned him SEC Offensive Player of the Week honors.
One more year?
In the early games Tennessee fans would have given you one of two answers about the QB situation. First, it’s time to pull Guarantano and put one of the young guns in. Second, they can’t wait for the season to be over so we can see highly touted Harrsion Bailey in 2020. I wrote multiple pieces about it expressing my own views and was ready for a change. As stated before, the coaches know what they are doing and made the right call. They have done a great job developing Jarrett and if things are on the up and up, I might like to see prime Guarantano for an entire season. While he did just have his career game, I hope he shatters those numbers this weekend against a struggling Vandy. That is something we can all be thankful for. According to him, this may not be his last ride.
It’s the season to be thankful folks, so lets do just that. At this point, we expect to finish out the season 7-5 plus a bowl win to top it off. As far as long term goes, what do you want? Have you just had enough of the emotional roller coaster? Or would you like to see a much-improved vet at the helm next season?