The Tennessee Volunteers opened their spring practice on Tuesday.
After going 9-4 in 2016, the Vols feature several question marks they hope to answer in the upcoming weeks.
Here’s what transpired during the opening practice.
Quarterback battle begins
With the departure of Josh Dobbs, one of the most decorated quarterbacks in program history, the Vols have an important decision to make at quarterback. Junior Quinten Dormady obviously has the experience, but redshirt freshman Jarrett Guarantano is the fan-favorite.
Both quarterbacks participated in downfield passing drills. Dormady displayed more consistent accuracy, but that’s to be expected from a more polished quarterback. A few passes sailed on Guarantano, but there’s no denying his arm talent. When he completed deep passes, he showed an ability to hit his receivers perfectly in stride. As previously mentioned, Dormady showcased more accuracy, his his completions didn’t have the same “wow factor” Guarantano’s had.
During post-practice interviews, both Guarantano and Dormady expressed that while they’re engaged in a hyper-competitive quarterback battle, both remain supportive of one another.
New coaching staff makes its debut
It’s no secret that Butch Jones’ coaching staff has undergone a multitude of changes over the course of the offseason. Instead of taking a hands-on approach on practice Tuesday, Jones allowed his coaching staff to gain comfortability with the players and opted to remain in the background.
Other questions that must be answered
Aside from quarterback and coaching changes, there are plenty of other areas to keep an eye on. With the departure of Josh Malone, wide receiver Jauan Jennings will likely be Tennessee’s No. 1 option at wide receiver, but it’s unclear who will step into the No. 2 role. In addition, with the losses of Derek Barnett and Corey Vereen at defensive end (along with Jonathan Kongbo’s transition from outside to inside), the Vols must also focus on who will control the edge on defense.
As spring practice progresses, the answers to these questions will be much clearer, but as of now, it’s much too early to tell.
Featured image by David Bradford