Tennessee’s offense never moved past mediocrity last season (22.8 points and 325.5 yards per game), so coach Jeremy Pruitt made big moves within his coaching staff.
First Pruitt hired Jim Chaney from Georgia as offensive coordinator, and then he brought in Tee Martin as passing-game coordinator. Martin was the Volunteers’ quarterback on the BCS championship team in the 1998 season.
A look at the stat sheet shows why Pruitt made the moves. The Vols ranked 108th in scoring offense last season and 122nd in total offense on their way to a 5-7 record, 2-6 in SEC games. Most of the key contributors are back, and the Vols’ top two recruits, according to the 247Sports Composite ranking were offensive tackles, Darnell Wright and Wanya Morris (Grayson High School).
Players to watch
Quarterback Jarrett Guarantano. Guarantano completed 153 of 246 pass attempts (62.2%), with 12 touchdown passes and three interceptions.
Receiving corps. The Vols’ top nine in receiving yards last season all return. Marquez Callaway leads the way. He caught 37 passes for 592 yards in 2018. Josh Palmer (484) and Jauan Jennings (438) each topped 400 yards receiving.
Linebacker Daniel Bituli. The Vols’ middle linebacker, Bituli (a 6-foot-3, 252-pound senior) recorded 79 tackles (39 solo), with one sack and 6.5 tackles for loss.
Before the Vols play the Bulldogs
The teams each have a bye the week before they meet each other. Tennessee opens the season at home against Georgia State and faces BYU and Chattanooga at Neyland Stadium before its first road game, Sept. 21 at Florida.
The last time against Georgia
The Bulldogs won 38-12 last year at Sanford Stadium, the Dogs second consecutive win in the series, after Tennessee won the previous two. Georgia dominated on the ground last season, rushing for 251 yards on 50 carries. The Dogs had more than 37 minutes of possession time and recorded 26 first downs to Tennessee’s 11.
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