Tennessee's QB Competition Could Reignite with Seven Week Camp Leading into Week 1

Matthew Ray

The SEC announced their plans to move forward with a 10-game, conference-only schedule. There are still unknowns with the schedule, such as how the two remaining games will be filled, where the open weeks fall, and so on.

One detail to emerge since the news of the 10-game schedule is that pre-season camp will run for seven weeks, and it is a key detail for Tennessee, unless the SEC opted out of it, which seems unlikely.

One of the biggest storylines heading into Spring practice was the ongoing quarterback battle that was expected to wage on into Fall camp. Just a few short days after the start of Spring practice, it was canceled.

Now, schools will get a chance to work with a more expanded timeframe, and it could reignite Tennessee's quarterback competition.

The Vols quarterback room is crowded with RS-Senior Jarrett Guarantano, RS-Sophomore JT Shrout, Sophomore Brian Maurer, and Freshman Harrison Bailey.

Despite not taking a snap at the college level, many believe Bailey will factor into the quarterback position at some point this fall, with Guarantano serving as his primary competition.

Each quarterback in front of Bailey has at least one start under their belt, stacking the deck against him even more.

Sources have indicated to VR2 on SI that Bailey has made considerable strides in the weight room, and has protected the football well during his first couple of weeks of practice this summer, but there is some hesitation at times. It is a good sign that Bailey is not pressing, but he has let some opportunities pass, and he turns to the check down instead. That is different than the typical gunslinger-style mentality most are accustom to with Bailey.

On the other hand, sources have indicated Guarantano may be showing his most progress yet. He is adjusting to a new receiving corps and doing so effectively, in addition to hearing that his timing and consistency has improved.

Both Bailey and Guarantano have shown impressive body transformations over the last three months, and both looked suited to hold up physically against an all-conference schedule.

Maurer flashed his athletic ability at times last season but made several freshman gaffes, and his biggest concern is his durability. After a season, where he left multiple games with injuries, how can he bounce back in 2020?

Shrout has been limited in his reps during his time at Tennessee, but he flashed his natural arm talent last season, but there are obviously concerns over his ability to be the guy, as Tennessee opted for an injured Guarantano over Shrout at the end of 2019.

Football in the fall is going to look vastly different, but will the expanded pre-season camp have the Vols quarterback depth chart looking different? Seven weeks is plenty of time to create separation, as the Vols focus on a likely home opener against Florida. 

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