Tennessee football coach Butch Jones tackles quarterback change question

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Quarterbacks get more of the blame and credit than is often deserved, Tennessee coach Butch Jones said following Saturday’s game.

Jones, however, said the quarterback position would be open for completion during the bye week in the wake of the Vols’ 41-0 loss to No. 5-ranked Georgia (5-0) on Saturday.

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“Every position is up for a look in the bye week, so we have no stating positions,” Jones said, asked about the role of redshirt freshman QB Jarrett Guarantano moving forward.

“We’ll compete during the bye week, and the individuals who have the best week of practice and the best week of preparation for South Carolina will be the ones that are on the field first.”

Tennessee (3-2) plays host to the Gamecocks (3-2) on Saturday, Oct. 14 at Neyland Stadium after sitting idle this coming weekend.

Vols’ junior Quinten Dormady has started each of the first five games and is the more experienced of the two quarterbacks, but he has been taken out in each of the past two games with the offensive sputtering.

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Dormady has also struggled with turnovers this season. Dormady has thrown six interceptions and fumbled twice.

Jones said that hasn’t been an issue in practices, and he said the offense has been built around Dormady’s abilities.

Everything points towards the quarterback, he has to take care of the football, but I think it’s also a by-product to everyone around them as well,” Jones said. “We’re not running the quarterback, we’re letting him see the field in the (shot) gun, and we’re running a pro-style type offense, so I do think we’re fitting his style.”

Guarantano, who completed 6 of 7 passes in relief of Dormady, brings the threat of the run to the offense as a dual-threat quarterback.

A move to Guarantano would signal a change in Tennessee’s offensive philosophy — moving away from a reliance on receivers, and putting more emphasis on the run game with less variety.

“IT’s just who gives us the best opportunity to win and has consistency with the offense and what we’re doing,” Jones said, asked about changing quarterbacks and philosophy. “It’s not just the quarterbacks, it’s every position.”

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