5 Predictions For The 2017 Vols Offense
Last year, we had a few key pieces of our offense depart. I have a few predictions about how things may lay out this season. This offense will be exciting under first-year offensive coordinator, Larry Scott. Next Tuesday is similar to Christmas when the Vols kick off against Georgia Tech on ESPN at 7PM CST.
1) Two Quarterbacks Will Play, But One Will Come Out a Clear Winner.
I think we have two extremely talented quarterbacks. Butch has been known to be stubborn when it comes to starting the best option at quarterback. Just refer to Joshua Dobbs’ first two seasons when Justin Worley started over him. Dobbs came in and was the spark on offense. Worley played check down Charlie and got sacked a shit ton. He got sacked so much, they benched him just because of the cumulative hits.
All indications seem that Quenten Dormady will start, and Jarrett Guarantano will come in for quite a few snaps. I think if Dormady plays well in the first few games, he will keep the job and Guarantano may be on bench duty. If Dormady struggles early, and we lose a game or two, Butch may finally start Guarantano.
Personally, I believe we would be better off starting Guarantano. The Butch Jones offense does not do well without an athletic and mobile quarterback who can make plays outside the pocket. By all accounts, Dormady’s athleticism is underrated, but we need someone who can rip off 25-yard plus QB runs. Dormady has better football IQ and accuracy, Guarantano has better athleticism and arm strength. Let’s also not forget that Guarantano was the 247Sports Composite Number 1 Dual Threat Quarterback coming out of high school. If we start Dormady, I expect a slightly better version of the Worley offense, but not quite as good as it was with Dobbs.
2) Aside From Injury, John Kelly Rushes For Over 1000 Yards
Although our offensive line is facing a few suspensions and injuries right now, I still think it will be a solid unit. John Kelly only had five games with 10 or more carries and still managed to rush for 630 yards on 98 carries. I think he will easily go for 1000 this season if he can stay healthy. I question Kelly’s size to be an all down back in the SEC and think there is a strong possibility for injury. However, if he does manage to stay healthy, I think he will be an absolute monster in the SEC. He is the fastest guy on the entire roster, and his yards after contact are with the best in the conference.
Bama’s Bo Scarbrough edged out teammate Joshua Jacob, averaging 4.75 yards after contact, per carry in 2016 – tops among returning SEC RBs. pic.twitter.com/EsbTfE7Q75
— PFF College Football (@PFF_College) June 29, 2017
I even think he has the potential to be a darkhorse Heisman candidate, but I don’t want to get ahead of myself. I can’t wait to see Kelly in the backfield this season. I really enjoy watching him on the field.
3) Jauan Jennings Will Become our First Receiver With Over 800 Yards In a Long Time
In the Butch Jones era, we haven’t had much luck with the receiving corps. Even the most talented guys have had mediocre careers under Jones. I think that is going to change this season with Jauan Jennings getting most of the targets. We have already have seen what Jennings can do. Refer to him ending Teez Tabor’s career last season against Florida and catching a last minute Hail Mary against Georgia.
He’s the ultimate competitor and is all about winning. Just get the ball to Jennings and he will do the rest. I think he’s the best receiver we’ve had since Justin Hunter. He’s talented, athletic and wants you to put the game on his shoulders. I love me some Jauan Jennings. As far as our receiver depth, it’s Jauan Jennings and everyone else. My only concern with him is his off the field behavior. I hope he doesn’t get suspended.
4) Offense Will Look Very Similar With a Few New Twists
I expect this to be a run-heavy offense, using some read option plays and designed QB runs just like we have seen in the past. I think the “twist” will be that we will run a lot more two tight end sets. Larry Scott was tight end’s coach last year, and really likes this group of guys. Recently, Ethan Wolf’s brother, Eli Wolf, was awarded a scholarship. Hopefully, we see some more Jakob Johnson as well.
I expect to see some bulldozing for John Kelly and some nice pass plays on these sets. It should help with the inexperience at quarterback. I also expect to see some trick plays and wildcat with John Kelly and Jauan Jennings. The biggest difference will be Larry Scott’s play calling. I expect that he will take a few more chances and won’t be as predictable as Debord was in certain game situations.
5) Trey Smith Finishes as an All American Freshman Offensive Lineman
Trey Smith is the highest ranked recruit we’ve had under Butch Jones. Drew Richmond was also a highly ranked offensive lineman, but it was clear he wasn’t ready to play when he stepped on campus. Trey Smith physically does not look like a freshman and so far his recruitment ranking has matched up with what they see on the practice field. Now, with all the adjustment with the offensive line he will probably be switched back and forth from guard to tackle.
I wouldn’t be surprised if he starts at right guard, but ultimately ends up as a tackle. There have only been good things to say about Trey Smith from the coaches. I’m excited we have him for at least three years.
Smokey covers the Tennessee Volunteers for the SoBros Network. He loves a good backpacking trip, but hates taking a shit in the woods. Follow on Twitter: @SoBroSmokey