QB Analysis: Vols Finding More Big Plays with Guarantano

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    Photo By Amanda Izzi/Tennessee Athletics

    Tennessee needs more out of its quarterback when it faces off with No. 1 Alabama on Saturday. And they need it for the rest of the season as well.

    The Vols rank among the worst in the SEC when it comes to completing passes downfield. Quinten Dormady’s first five games as starter were average at best on underneath routes, but when Dormady targeted receivers 20 ore more yards down the field, the Vols had no hope.

    College Football Film Room broke down just how bad Dormady was at downfield passing via twitter on Thursday.

    Dormady’s 30.6% completion percentage is among the worst in the conference. Only Florida’s Feleipe Franks and Texas A&M’s Kellen Mond has a worse completion percentage on throws of 15 or more yards down the field. The Vols have attempted just as many if not more deep passes than Georgia, Arkansas, Alabama and Florida, but they have a far worse percentage than all of them.

    Two of Dormady’s six interceptions also came on deep balls. Against Georgia, the junior quarterback was 0-for-9 on passes targeted ten or more yards past the line of scrimmage with an interception.

    Jarrett Guarantano has been much better in deeper passes thus far. Despite having little time to throw, the freshman completed most of his passes targeted downfield against South Carolina last week.

    Guarantano was 3-for-4 on targets 20+ yards down the field. The one incompletion was a deep pass batted down at the line of scrimmage by a defensive lineman.

    Guarantano was also 4-for-5 on passes between 10 and 20 yards of the line of scrimmage. Additionally, he completed eight of his nine attempts to the left side of the field as well regardless of distance.

    Tennessee is starting to open up more space down the field for its new starting quarterback. And by moving Brett Kendrick to the right side of the offensive line, Butch Jones is giving Guarantano more blindside protection when he rolls to his left.

    Those new numbers from Guarantano are encouraging, but the sample size is still small. If the offensive line can give the redshirt freshman more protection, Tennessee may be able to move the ball more with long passes moving forward.