Tennessee’s teach is building on 6-sport winning plod

Tennessee proved a season within the past it would discontinuance extra than just appropriate compete with the Volunteers winning their ideal six video games, capped by a comeback bowl victory.

Now the Vols must point to they are able to play that approach from the open.

“We obviously admire a few journey coming support, and we now admire got many folks within our program that admire a extremely accurate notion,” coach Jeremy Pruitt. “I’m talking higher avid gamers for what we desire to discontinuance.”

Pruitt heads into his third season with the Vols hiking out of a 1-4 open that had some fans attempting the coach fired. Tennessee is also ranked No. 25, the Vols’ first look in The Connected Press rankings since Sept. 10, 2017.

Winning eight video games for a second straight season gained’t be easy because of of the Southeastern Conference’s blueprint to play a 10-sport, league-handiest schedule.

“From now not vivid if we’d play in April to now surely having a schedule, I declare it’s very thrilling,” heart Brandon Kennedy mentioned. “We love to play and we’re ready to play as a crew. We’ve been working laborious this offseason with the original protocol and the full lot.”

QB WATCH

Senior Jarrett Guarantano is the starter heading into the season despite a shaky performance within the Gator Bowl victory over Indiana. Freshman Harrison Bailey became quarantined because of of COVID-19 protocols, and he’s competing with J.T. Shrout and Brian Maurer for the backup space.

Guarantano is also within the identical offense for consecutive seasons. He proved his toughness ideal season having fun with thru death threats, losing his starting job and even having fun with after breaking a bone in his left, non-throwing arm.

“His procure to the backside of to be a starting, winning quarterback at Tennessee has never been questioned,” offensive coordinator Jim Chaney mentioned. “He’s just appropriate going on the realm and performing at a excessive level constantly. That’s what we strive to procure performed this yr with Jarrett. I’m delighted with him. I admire the child loads.”

PRESEASON ALL-AMERICAN

Senior left guard Trey Smith didn’t allow a sack in 13 video games ideal season and has began 31 of his 32 video games. He also goes into his ideal season because the Vols’ lone preseason All-American. Better yet, the 6-foot-6, 330-pound lineman who overcame career-threatening blood clots has been working in direction of after now not working in direction of at all ideal season.

Joining Smith is left sort out Wanya Morris and factual sort out Darnell Wright support after having fun with as newbies and Brandon Kennedy at heart. Appropriate guard Cade Mays is appealing the denial of his transfer inquire of of after leaving Georgia, which would give the Vols the talented offensive line missing too on the full in recent seasons.

GONE TO THE NFL

Tennessee has to uncover replacements for pass rusher Darrell Taylor, a second-spherical snatch by Seattle and extensive receivers Jajuan Jennings and Marquez Callaway. Taylor will seemingly be more challenging to substitute after ranking second within the SEC with 8 1/2 sacks ideal season, and the defense also lost linebacker Daniel Bituli and defensive support Nigel Warrior.

Brandon Johnson and Josh Palmer are seniors along with Velus Jones Jr., a graduate transfer from Southern Cal. Deangelo Gibbs is provided after sitting out a yr following his transfer from Georgia. Chaney also has 5 newbies pushing for having fun with time, nonetheless any individual must step as much as substitute the major catches Jennings and Callaway made on a popular basis.

VIRUS UPDATE

The pandemic ability Tennessee aren’t ready to snatch attend of the SEC groups coming to Knoxville or the optimism from the season-ending winning plod. Athletic director Phillip Fulmer announced ideal week that seating will seemingly be restricted to 25% of seating capacity starting Oct. 3 against Missouri. The Vols even admire been restricted to handiest two days of spring apply sooner than the pandemic shut the full lot down.

SCHEDULE SCRAMBLE

The Vols swapped a focus on with to Oklahoma and other non-convention video games against Charlotte, Furman and Troy for unparalleled more challenging opponents. Tennessee hosts 13th-ranked Texas A&M on Nov. 14 followed by a time out to No. 11 Auburn.

Tennessee now opens the season at South Carolina on Sept. 26 and visits No. 4 Georgia on Oct. 10. No. 3 Alabama and eighth-ranked Florida focus on with Neyland, though the Gators now relieve Tennessee discontinuance the season Dec. 5.

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Train Teresa M. Walker at https://twitter.com/TeresaMWalker

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More AP college soccer: https://apnews.com/Collegefootball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

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