Pruitt assesses play of Maurer and Bailey against Arkansas

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    Tennessee was forced to play three quarterbacks in its 24-13 loss to Arkansas in Fayetteville on Saturday night.

    Jarrett Guarantano helped guide Tennessee to a 13-0 halftime lead, but suffered a head injury on the second possession of the third quarter while trying to scramble for a first down. Guarantano was 5-of-8 for 42 yards before getting hurt. He had not thrown for a touchdown or an interception, while adding 31 rushing yards on five carries.

    Brian Maurer got the first opportunity off the bench in the midst of Tennessee’s defense allowing 24 unanswered points to the Hogs. Maurer saw three possessions and all three resulted in a three-and-out, which resulted in his benching. He finished 0-of-4 passing.

    “Brian (Maurer) came in and Brian ran around a little bit, but couldn’t get nothing going there so we went with Harrison (Bailey) there,” Vols head coach Jeremy Pruitt told reporters over Zoom following the game.

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    True freshman Harrison Bailey was the third and final quarterback to play. Redshirt sophomore J.T. Shrout didn’t make the trip to Fayetteville.

    Bailey played the final two offensive possessions of the game for the Vols and both resulted in an interception on balls that were tipped into the air. On the first one, Bailey tried to find Jalin Hyatt over the middle of the field on a fourth-and-four, and Arkansas should have been called for pass interference. Bailey threw his second interception on a heave to the end zone on the final play of the game.

    “We’re running four verticals and they’re dropping eight,” Pruitt said of Bailey. “He didn’t really try to force the ball. He took check downs, down the field. Based off the time there, he was going to have to force one in there. But it’s something he can learn from.”

    Bailey finished the game 6-of-9 passing for 65 yards to go along with his two interceptions. He did not throw any touchdowns.

    The Vols return home next Saturday to take on No. 7 Texas A&M. Kickoff is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. ET on ESPN. The Aggies are coming off of a dominating 48-3 win over South Carolina on the road.

    Ben McKee is a graduate from the University of Tennessee and has a degree in Journalism and Electronic Media. He covers Tennessee football, basketball, baseball, and the Lady Vols for RTI, and he's also the host of the RTI Podcast. You can also hear Ben on the morning sports radio show "The Swain Event." He's the producer and co-host along with former Vol wide receiver Jayson Swain.