KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – We all remember what happened when Tennessee faced off against South Carolina last year. The Gamecocks spoiled the Vols chance at the College Football Playoff, in big part thanks to Spencer Rattler’s six touchdowns.
The senior quarterback hasn’t missed a beat this season, as he is coming off an 18-of-20 passing and three score performance against Mississippi State, earning him SEC Co-Offensive Player of the Week honors.
“He’s playing extremely well right now,” said Head Coach Josh Heupel. “He was dynamic in that football game, but he has that in his arsenal. For us, the line of scrimmage is important. We have to do a really good job, and we have to get them into third-and-long. Last year, we didn’t get off the field on third-and-longs. Some of that was coverage, some of that was him extending and making some really special plays. We have to do a great job of bottling him up and applying pressure at the same time.”
Rattler threw for almost 500 yards against Tennessee last year, and is currently completing 74% of his passes this season.
“He understands coverages, and sees rotations,” added Heupel. “He takes himself to the right spot based on the coverage and the beaters that they have up on their schemes. He’s got the ability to extend and make plays with his feet. He’s accurate with the football. You’ve got to do a great job. You’ve got to control the line of scrimmage. You’ve got to apply pressure to him. You can’t let him out of the pocket, at the same time. When he does scramble, you’ve got to match the personnel out in space. He created a bunch of big plays against us last year outside of the pocket. He’s a really good football player that poses a problem. We’ve got to do a really good job up front and on the second and third levels in our coverage.”
Tennessee hosts South Carolina Saturday at 7:30 p.m. inside Neyland Stadium.