The Tennessee football team continued preparation for a “big, physical” Kentucky team with its third practice of the week on Wednesday at Haslam Field.
The Vols practiced in shells and shorts as they get ready to take on a Wildcat team that has won two of its last three games.
“They have a really good football team, they’re good in special teams, they play smart, they play together, they’re tough, and they’re physical,” head football coach Jeremy Pruitt said. “We have a heck of a challenge and we have to get our guys to where we play our best game which we have not done yet.”
Tennessee will look to pass for more yards in the matchup with Kentucky for the sixth straight meeting. Four Vols – Jarrett Guarantano, Brian Maurer, Jauan Jennings and J.T. Shrout – have all taken snaps at quarterback this season. They will go up against a Kentucky defense that ranks third in the SEC in passing yards allowed per game (180.5).
“Up front (Kentucky) has physical guys that create negative plays, draw double teams,” Pruitt said. “They have lots of playmakers in the front seven.
“They replaced a lot of guys in the backend and they are playing extremely well. They’ll give you a lot of different looks and Mark (Stoops) always does a fantastic job. This is one of the best defenses in our league, which means it’s one of the best defenses in the country.”
Tennessee is the only team in the country to have four different players start at quarterback and win during the 2019 season. Though three players took snaps against UAB, Pruitt doesn’t believe it messes up their rhythm.
“I don’t think who plays the position has anything to do with the rhythm,” Pruitt said. “I think the production at the position has a lot to do with the rhythm… The way we practice with our guys taking multiple reps with each group, there shouldn’t be an issue there.”
Taylor, Vols Defense Look For Another Breakout Performance Against Kentucky
Senior linebacker Darrell Taylor made history last season against Kentucky, recording four sacks during the Vols’ 24-7 win over the No. 11 Wildcats. He became just the third player in program history with four sacks in a game.
Despite more success this season leading to him facing double teams from opponents, Taylor has still posted an SEC-leading six sacks, while Tennessee as a team is tied for second in the league with 23 sacks.
“We are always trying to find ways to affect the quarterback,” Pruitt said. “Darrell is a guy that has ability. We have other guys that have ability.
“That is something that we are looking for each week. A lot of that has to do with how you disguise in the back end. You can bring all the pressure you want, but if they know you’re bringing it they are just going to get rid of it. We have to do a good job back there.”