It’s the beginning of the end for Team 121’s quarterback battle. The Vols took to Haslam Field for the first day of fall camp on Saturday, and a decision is nearing for Butch Jones and his staff. Redshirt freshman Jarrett Guarantano and junior Quinten Dormady make their final cases in the fight for the starting quarterback job. And Guarantano is pleased with where he stands right now.
“During the summertime, we got a lot done,” Guarantano said after Saturday’s practice. “We were able to get some 7-on-7, and I was able to watch some film from the spring, and that really helped me out a lot.”
Guarantano went on to further emphasize the importance of the 7-on-7 drills over the summer. It wasn’t just important to the quarterbacks, but the drills were important to everyone on the field. It was the first time under Butch Jones that the Vols were allowed to run 7-on-7 work over the summer.
“Even going out there to get some live reps, being able to see some coverage, balls coming on different patterns, it helped everybody,” Guarantano said of the summer work.
Following the exit of offensive coordinator Mike Debord, one of the most significant changes to Tennessee’s coaching staff this offseason has been at Guarantano’s position. Mike Canales was hired to be Tennessee’s quarterbacks coach after serving as an associate head coach, running backs, and tight ends coach at Utah State in 2016. He had previously been a quarterbacks coach at Snow College, Pacific, South Florida, N.C. State, Arizona, and North Texas.
And according to Guarantano, Canales has been an asset to the Vols’ QBs so far.
“Coach Canales was a great addition and he’s done a great job with me,” Guarantano stated. “He’s a really heart-warming guy. He’s always there, not just for the quarterback group but for anyone on the team.”
When asked about a two quarterback system, Guarantano’s reply was short and simple. Guarantano said he would do “whatever helps the team win” in regards to being part of a dual-quarterback system.
The redshirt freshman concluded his afternoon with the media by addressing the pressures around him.
“You feel the pressure,” Guarantano answered. “Growing up, my dad was always on me. I had a lot of cameras in my face, so I’m kind of used to it. It wasn’t like this now, but I think I can handle it.”
If Guarantano wins the starting job for the Vols, he will be the youngest starter Tennessee has had at quarterback since Josh Dobbs took over midseason in 2013 as a true freshman. But according to Guarantano, he’s ready for the challenge and pressure.