So far this year, redshirt sophomore quarterback Jarrett Guarantano has been effective as the Vols’ starting quarterback. And he showed on Saturday that he can be cool under pressure too.
According to the college division of Pro Football Focus, Guarantano was exceptional against the blitz during Saturday’s game against UTEP. Guarantano was nearly perfect when facing extra pressure, completing seven of his eight pass attempts for 113 yards and his lone passing touchdown when the Miners brought extra pass rushers.
Jarratt Guarantano had quite the game today against UTEP – especially when they sent extra rushers pic.twitter.com/dKTwmawF8k
— PFF College (@PFF_College) September 15, 2018
For the whole game, Guarantano was 12-of-16 for 168 yards and a touchdown. He’s now completed 75 percent or more of his pass attempts in two of Tennessee’s three games to start this season. The redshirt sophomore completed 76 percent of his 25 pass attempts against West Virginia in the Vols’ season opener.
Though he hasn’t been asked to do a great deal as a passer so far this season, Guarantano has excelled at what he’s done. One the season, he’s completing 72.2 percent of his 54 pass attempts for 494 yards and two touchdowns.
More importantly, Guarantano doesn’t have a single turnover through three games this year.
Tennessee’s coaching staff has more or less asked Guarantano to be a game manager to start this season, and he’s thrived in that role. He hasn’t just been a dink and dunk quarterback, though. Guarantano has completed three passes for 50 or more yards so far this year, and he has seven completions for 20 or more yards as well.
Guarantano and the Vols’ offense will truly be tested this next weekend when Tennessee opens up SEC play against the Florida Gators. The Gators currently have the top passing defense in the SEC, only allowing 131.3 passing yards per game through three games this season. But Florida has also only had 73 pass attempts against them so far, which is the second-lowest amount that any SEC school has faced in the 2018 season.
Regardless, the level of play is about to amp up for the Vols, and all the improvements they’ve shown over the last couple weeks will be put to the test. But Guarantano is off to a solid start so far this year, and that has to give him confidence heading into the teeth of Tennessee’s schedule.