New RTI contributor Murphy Carlton is the author of this article
Jeremy Pruitt is putting a lot of trust into new offensive coordinator Jim Chaney and his staff to turn the 2019 Tennessee Volunteer offense into a prolific SEC-caliber unit. While the 2018 offense showed flashes of greatness, the inconsistencies from players across the entire offense hindered the group from reaching their full potential. The play-calling from former OC Tyson Helton was also heavily scrutinized throughout the season.
Pruitt is hoping that with Chaney and a new-and-improved offensive coaching staff, this offense will be able to put up a lot more points and be more productive. According to Pruitt, he is starting to see results in practice.
“We’ve been more consistent running the football, and we have less mental errors this year than this time last year,” Pruitt said after practice on Tuesday.
The offense having less mental errors is huge because it shows that the offensive players are picking up on Chaney’s playbook easily. There were a lot of mistakes on the field last season that were made because players made a mental error that resulted in a missed block or running the wrong route.
Not only that, but the overall install process for the new offense seems to be going smoothly according to Pruitt.
“We have some guys with play-making abilities on the offensive side that have some experience putting in a new system,” Pruitt stated. “I think it’s been relatively easy for the guys, just watching from afar at it. You couldn’t tell it was a new system.”
The experience that most of UT’s starters have has been paying off so far this spring, and it will be interesting to see how smooth the offense plays in the Orange and White game this Saturday.
Running the ball more consistently is going to be key for the offense’s success this season. Running the ball successfully opens up the passing game, but in order to win in the SEC, an offense has to run the ball efficiently and effectively first and foremost.
Rising junior running back Ty Chandler will more than likely be the starting running back this fall. Chandler is someone that should benefit tremendously from Chaney’s offensive style.
With Chaney as the offensive coordinator at Georgia last year, they had two running backs — D’Andre Swift and Elijah Holyfield — carry the ball more than 150 times. Ty Chandler had only 115 carries on the season last year. Having an offensive system that leans heavily on running the ball will provide Chandler and UT’s other backs more chances to get touches and make things happen.
Pruitt was also asked about the progression of the offensive line. Right now, it’s not where Pruitt would like it to be, but there’s been improvement throughout the spring.
“It’s not where we want to be, but there is a lot of positives,” Pruitt explained. “We have guys that have really improved this spring.
“I think up front, you have to know what to do. If you know what to do and who you’re blocking, you give yourself a chance. You have to have the proper technique.”
The 2019 offensive line should definitely be an improvement from the 2018 group, but it still remains a question as to how much they will improve.
The Orange and White game will be an early sneak-peek into what this offense will look like next season. We may not see drastic results just yet, but look for the Vols to show off some new tricks this Saturday in Neyland.