The Orange and White Game has a recent tradition that it will showcase once again on Saturday. It’s called “Coaches’ Evaluation Day”.
This will be the fourth time since 2009 that UT fans will be able to evaluate a new head coach and his coaching staff in the Vols’ annual spring game. Forget the checkerboards, Rocky Top or even the Tennessee Walking Horse. It’s Coaches’ Evaluation Day!
Here is what you can expect to say and/or hear as you walk away from Neyland Stadium on Saturday:
“Man, I think Jeremy Pruitt really has those guys playing hard!”
“That looks like a team that can easily win eight games this season!”
“Wow, that Pruitt fella has much better hair than our last coach!”
Hope springs eternal.
As commonplace as those comments have become over the last 10 years, I feel sure that there are more important and pertinent aspects at play on Saturday. Here are realistic statements that UT fans should hope to be making after the Orange and White Game:
“Jarrett Guarantano played well.”
This would mean a lot for UT’s immediate future. Understandably, Guarantano has had an up-and-down spring camp. That’s no surprise. He was recruited to play in a spread offense. Now, he’ll be in a scheme that is far more traditional. The Vols are hoping Stanford graduate transfer Keller Chryst can be a factor in UT’s quarterback competition when he arrives this summer. However, having Guarantano comfortable in UT’s new offense as soon as possible would be awfully helpful.
“Jonathan Kongbo looks like I always pictured him.”
The Vols could use a playmaker up front as Pruitt installs his defense. Kongbo has the ability and the motivation to be that type of player. The senior is physically gifted and has just one season left to impress NFL Scouts.
I could also include Shy Tuttle as a potential explosive playmaker in the front seven. I believe Tuttle will be that if he’s healthy. Therefore, his performance on Saturday really doesn’t have much of an impact in my mind. He needs to be healthy when the season starts. If so, he’ll be an asset for the Vols.
“(Insert name here) had a great game in the secondary alongside Nigel Warrior.”
Take notice. Warrior will be a good – and possibly great – player for the Vols this season. He just needs some help. It would be very uplifting for UT if they could find another proven playmaker in the defensive backfield. Don’t be surprised if Alontae Taylor makes an explosive play on Saturday. After being moved from receiver, he’s shown continued improvement.
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