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Pruitt: Familiarity with Missouri QB Bryant an ‘advantage’

Orange & White Nation

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Tennessee will take on a tiger who has changed its stripes on Saturday, albeit one that Vols coach Jeremy Pruitt is familiar with.

Missouri quarterback Kelly Bryant transferred from Clemson in January. He made the move after being beaten out for the starting position by Trevor Lawrence four games into the 2018-19 season. A year prior, Bryant started for Clemson in the 2018 Sugar Bowl against Alabama.

Pruitt, the Crimson Tide’s defensive coordinator at the time, had accepted the Tennessee head coaching job less than a month before the game but elected to coach Alabama’s defense through the bowl season.

Alabama would win the national title 26-23 against Georgia a week later.

“I think it’s an advantage playing against somebody,” Pruitt said. “We’ve prepared against them before, and we have a good idea of their skill set. The offenses are different but there are some things they do similar.”

Bryant was 25-of-39 passing for 204 yards and threw one interception in his return from a hamstring injury last week against Florida. He also ran 15 times for 19 yards.

“If you look at what he’s doing now at Missouri compared to what he was doing at Clemson, it’s a little bit different offense,” Pruitt said of Bryant. “But you can see Missouri has done some things to cater to what he does best.”

Pruitt acknowledged both Missouri and Tennessee have had their share of quarterback roulette this year.

“When you change quarterbacks it definitely presents some issues,” he said. “There are very few teams that have multiple quarterbacks that can come in and run the offense. I am sure even the guys that are capable, it is different.”

Pruitt said his Vols are “as healthy as we’ve been in a long time” coming out of the second bye week of the season. All three Tennessee quarterbacks are good to play Saturday.

“(Jarrett Guarantano has) been able to do everything except for clap his hands to take the snap,” Pruitt said. “The way we practice they all kind of get the same amount of reps. We will see as the week goes and narrow it down a little bit and focus on two guys (playing).”

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