After plunging into the abyss that is evaluating Tennessee’s offense, head coach Butch Jones discovered what was missing:
The Vols didn’t score touchdowns.
“We did everything we wanted to do except score touchdowns,” Jones said at his weekly Monday press conference at Ray and Lucy Hand Digital Studio.
Tennessee managed only three field goals against the Gamecocks and have gone ten quarters without scoring a touchdown.
However, according to Jones, the Vols still managed to establish somewhat of an identity against South Carolina.
“I thought we played our style of football against South Carolina,” Jones said. “We rushed for 100 yards in the third quarter… We played to our style of football. We played winning football, but just didn’t win. We didn’t have the final element.”
Despite starting the game on a positive note offensively, the final tallies weren’t pretty. The Vols finished with 253 yards of total offense and converted only 3 of their 13 third-down attempts.
Jones optimistic about Guarantano moving forward
Although the final numbers — 11-of-18, 133 yards — don’t pop out, Jones was very pleased with Jarrett Guarantano’s debut performance. According to Jones, the redshirt freshman brought energy and leadership to the table.
However, Guarantano also held onto the ball too long at times, resulting in seven sacks.
“We’ll continue to evolve the offense with Guarantano,” Jones said. “It’s all about playing to his strengths.”
Evan Berry, who has missed the last four games due to injury, will practice today, but Jones could not confirm at this time if Berry would be available for Saturday’s matchup against Alabama. Linebacker Jakob Johnson will also practice today.
Kicker Aaron Medley missed Saturday’s game due to an illness and will continue to miss time because of it.
The Task Ahead
Tennessee travels to Tuscaloosa this weekend to take on the top-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide, who Jones praised immensely on Monday.
“Probably the most complete football team I’ve seen (in a long time,” Jones said.
Currently, the Crimson Tide are 34-point favorites over the Vols, the largest spread in the rivalries history. It comes as no surprise, as Alabama has outscored its four SEC opponents by a combined score of 193-31.