Tennessee football: Leadership starts on offense

tennessee football

Tennessee football heads to Athens, Georgia this weekend. The matchup marks the third game for the Volunteers this season. The Vols came out strong the first two games, advancing their winning streak to eight. Tennessee’s record is 2-0 this season, which brings positive attention to the program. Jeremy Pruitt is the head coach, but a handful of guys lead the team on the field, especially on the offensive side.

Let’s take a look into who those players might be.

Trey Smith

Trey Smith is a veteran offensive lineman for the Volunteers. He is a first-round draft pick contender, and ESPN ranked him in the top 20 for college football players. The Volunteers got lucky when Smith decided to finish his senior year and not declare for the NFL Draft.

Smith has talked about his desire to prove himself to the football world and said his stay was not a hard choice to make. The veteran knows the program’s ins and outs and has the experience to help develop his younger teammates. It is his constant hunger and work ethic that makes him a leader on the offensive side. Three weeks ago, Pruitt spoke highly of Smith.

“He’s had a plan, he’s really tried to work his plan while he’s been in college as far as getting involved in his community. He’s got a big heart. He’s a guy that has worked extremely hard to overcome some things from a health perspective to be able to go out there and play like he does on Saturdays.”

Jarrett Guarantano

Jarrett Guarantano is the Volunteers’ quarterback. With that said, he has no option but to be a leader. The senior quarterback went through a lot of scrutiny and hardships but never gave up. For the 2020 season, the veteran is doing relatively well. Guarantano has thrown for 449 yards, two touchdowns and zero interceptions. He worked hard over the offseason to improve his football IQ and passing consistency. As the quarterback, he has to play the lead role every second of every game. If he has a bad game, the offense won’t gain momentum. It will not succeed. Overall, Guarantano does a great job leading the offense with the ball in his hand.

Ty Chandler

The senior running back is an absolute beast this season. Ty Chandler is a natural-born leader, especially on the football field. This season, Chandler has rushed for 176 yards on 32 carries and scored one touchdown. He leads the SEC in rushing yards. With the Volunteers wanting to gain depth in the running back department, the younger RBs are lucky to have the chance to learn from Chandler.

Eric Gray

Luckily for Tennessee football, there is another star running back on the team, but he isn’t as experienced in the SEC as Chandler. Does that phase him? No. Eric Gray is a sophomore running back. With 28 carries, he rushed for 145 yards and two touchdowns. He averages 5.2 yards a carry. Gray is young but plays a critical leadership role on the Vols’ offense.