By: John Dunn
The All Vol Call in Show/Daily News
August 30, 2019.
It's finally here -- the long awaited kick of for the Tennessee football season has finally arrived. In year two of the Pruitt regime, the Volunteers are looking to show clearly measurable success on the field. That "measurable success" begins in game one, with Georgia State. Below are predictions from some of our staff.
John Dunn: Without trying to team bash, Georgia State just doesn't have the talent or the bodies to contend with the likes of Tennessee. I look for the Vols to come out strong and fast, which is a stark contrast to what we have seen in the past. If this game is played at the same pace as the Charlotte game from last season, it will show that we still have a lot of work to do, or that the team is looking ahead to their week two match up with the BYU Cougars. I expect Jarrett Guarantano, Ty Chandler and Jauan Jennings to have big games for the offense. I expect Darrell Taylor to accumulate three sacks on the afternoon, either solo or assisted. It's going to be a long day for Georgia State.
Prediction: 42-10; Tennessee.
Rachel Ward: In the season opener against Georgia State, I don’t think that winning will be a concern. Fans are eager to see the Vols perform after Pruitt has had a full year with the team, as well as, after the introduction of some new coaches who have proven to have success in the past at various locations. In my opinion, all eyes will be on Jarrett Guarantano and the offensive line. The return of offensive coordinator Jim Chaney will be something to look out for in terms of how the style of offensive play will be changed from last season. One of Chaney’s talents comes with the development of his QB’s. In 2009, Jonathan Crompton voiced how much he grew with Chaney’s guidance. It will be exciting to see Guarantano after a whole off season under Chaney. It will be interesting to see if J.T. Shrout or Brian Maurer are thrown into the mix at some point on Saturday as well. Looking to the offensive line, UT fans across the country were thrilled to hear that star Trey Smith had been cleared to play. His presence alone could be substantial in helping boost the morale of the offensive line. Veterans or true freshmen, Pruitt has firmly stated that he will put the best guys out on the field, regardless of how long they’ve been at Tennessee. Strengthening of the offensive line to provide pass protection for Guarantano and the opening of pockets for the run game will be something to look out for on Saturday, but might not fully be seen until next weekend’s BYU matchup.
Prediction: 37-10; Tennessee.
Darrell Winstead: This is an important game for Tennessee right out the gate. This is the first of three very winnable games to start the season. Being able to start the season 3-0 would go a long way in helping the Vols get to the six-win mark that allows teams to become bowl eligible. They’ll start out with Georgia State, then follow that with BYU and UT-Chattanooga. Tennessee really needs to take advantage of this game versus the Panthers. They need to tighten up any loose ends and correct any focus issues, so they don’t linger into the season. It's a good opportunity for them to fine tune and polish up their game. They shouldn’t have much trouble rolling past a team that only won two games a year ago. However, it's always important to get started on the right foot, and this game should allow them to do just that. I expect both sides of the ball to dominate early and often.
Prediction: 36-13; Tennessee.
Wesley Hayes: Jeremy Pruitt and the Vols will look to fine tune and get back-ups in as soon as possible against the Panthers. I think the Vols should win heavily, based on talent alone, but a few things could make this an uncomfortable football game if Tennessee gets caught looking ahead to BYU. Look for the defense to try to get pressure early and often on Panther’s QB, Dan Ellington. Ellington competed nearly 60% of his passes and threw 12 touchdowns to 5 interceptions in 2018. Also, look for Jim Chaney to try to establish the run and take a few shots off play action. The Vols will easily have the best athletes on the field, but concentration, effort, and consistency will determine how “easily” they handle business on Saturday. It’s up to Jeremy Pruitt and his staff to have this team come out firing for a much needed quick start to the 2019 season.
Prediction: 55-10; Tennessee.
Matthew Whalen: Tennessee's secondary will have to grow up quickly on Saturday. Georgia State will throw multiple spread concepts at them and have a mobile quarterback. The Vols will completely out-match the Panthers on both offense and defense and should have no issues establishing dominance early and often.
Prediction: 45-10; Tennessee.