BYU Football: Previewing the Tennessee Volunteers Offense
The Volunteers are not going to be the same team that lost to Georgia State.
BYU Football's second game of the season features SEC foe Tennessee. Although the Volunteers lost to Georgia State in their season opener at home, there is no reason in the world to think that this is going to be an easy win for the Cougars.
Starting next week, the previews will be based primarily off of what BYU's opponent has done this season in 2019, however because there is only a sample size of one to look off of, this weeks preview is going to look at both what they did last week and what happened last season.
Overall Stats (Reflected by 2018 and 2019)
2018/19 Record: 5-8 (No Bowl Game)
Best Win: 30-24 Win @ Auburn
Worst Loss: 38-30 Loss to Georgia State (Last week)
Head Coach: Jeremy Pruitt (2nd season)
History vs BYU: 1st Meeting
Returning Starters: 10
Key Losses from 2018: None
Impact Players: WR Jauan Jennings, QB Jarett Guarantano, RB Ty Chandler
Injuries: No significant injuries
2019 Outlook: While it is no surprise that Tennessee went 5-7 last season in Jeremy Pruitt's first year as the head coach, it would be very surprising to see them do that again or worse. Pruitt is a proven coach that has been a key factor to several successful Alabama, Florida State and Georgia teams. With essentially the entire offense returning, they should go up from their 22.8 points per game last season to the 25-28 range.
What BYU has to do: Prevent the big play. Tennessee isn't built to have 10 play 85 yard drives. When they score, it is normally because of at least one or two explosive plays. If the Cougars can limit those, barring some more pick sixes or fumbles in the red zone, Tennessee may find it hard to reach 24 points, a mark that has normally led to wins for the Cougars under Kalani Sitake.
Something else they have to do is get pressure in the backfield. Last week against Utah, BYU had nearly zero pressure in the Utah backfield. Jarrett Guarantano is the kind of quarterback that if he is given time he can make big throws, but without it he throws a lot of balls away and misses his mark often leading to interceptions.
Finally, Tennessee is going to come out swinging and the Cougars have to be ready to counter punch. There are going to be forced throws, extra efforts that expose the ball and other mistakes that BYU HAS TO CAPITALIZE ON. Essentially, they have to do what Utah did to the Cougars when those opportunities present themselves.
After last week's performances, Tennessee is going to come out with fire and their foot on the gas. That is going to lead to a lot of opportunities for the Cougars to make plays. BYU won't get all of those and the Vols will score 14 really easy points in the first half. However, they will also forces two preventable turnovers which will turn into points the other way.
The second half will be a more balanced attack and BYU will flex their muscles up front and not let the running game going. I believe that Tuiaki will call more blitzes and Guarantano will not have the time to hit open receivers. Tennessee may score a few points late, but it won't be enough to beat the Cougars.