Pruitt: Players dictate who plays at QB

Orange & White Nation

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Tennessee football coach Jeremy Pruitt didn’t indicate that the Vols quarterback rotation would be ending anytime soon.

Pruitt spoke to the media Wednesday during the team’s bye week. Tennessee (5-5, 3-3 in the Southeastern Conference) is coming off its third straight win, a 17-13 victory over Kentucky.

Freshman quarterback Brian Maurer started the game but was replaced by junior Jarrett Guarantano. Guarantano played despite surgery on his nonthrowing hand earlier in the week.

Pruitt said Wednesday that Guarantano’s limited reps in practice has been a reason why he’s come off the bench, and added his experience makes him a better fit to come off the bench than the Vols other quarterbacks.

“The starting job is not as important to me as who is playing effectively, efficiently and gives us the best chance to win,” Pruitt said. “It’s kind of like basketball, you’ve got five guys out there, but you may have two guys that come off the bench that give you 35 points.”

“We play a lot of players. I know the quarterback position in itself is a little unusual to play a lot of guys this day in time. I have a belief that Jarrett gives us a great opportunity to win football games. I believe Brian Maurer and J.T. Shrout give us opportunities to win football games.

“The players on our team trust us. They believe in what we are doing. Whoever we send out there first it’s because we feel like it’s the best plan for us. The players dictate that not me. They decide who plays.”

Pruitt said the team is taking extra time this week to address academics, football fundamentals, and heal injuries before the final two games of the regular season.

“There’s certain guys on our team that won’t be able to practice today and are better off resting,” he said. “There’s others that need to take reps because they haven’t taken some in a long time.”

The Vols travel to Columbia, Missouri, to take on the Tigers on Nov. 23. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. on SEC Network.

“I’m excited about the opportunities we have to finish this season but the clock is ticking,” Pruitt said.

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