Jeremy Pruitt was hired as the head coach of the Tennessee Volunteers this offseason and the former Alabama defensive coordinator got to work immediately. The Volunteers finished a very disappointing 4-8 last season, so Pruitt certainly has a lot of kinks to work out. He's already secured the number 20 recruiting class in the nation, so he looks to be well on his way to turning things around, but here are a few questions he will have to deal with at his SEC media days conference on July 18.
3. Can Tennessee at Least Finish in the Top Half of the SEC East?
The Georgia Bulldogs under Kirby Smith dominated the SEC East last year, going 7-1 in conference games and 13-2 overall, just barely losing the national championship to Alabama. Smart, who like Pruitt, was a defensive coordinator under Nick Saban at Alabama, has his own questions to deal with , but really his sights are set on taking down the Crimson Tide more than anything. Can Tennessee, who finished 0-8 in conference play last year, even attempt to compete with the big boys in the best conference in the country? Can they at least be top four?
2. Can Tennessee Beat Florida?
The Volunteers face off against the Gators in their fourth game of the season. The September 22 matchup will be big for several reasons. Both teams are led by new head coaches (Florida with Mississippi State's Dan Mullen), both teams only won four games last year, and both teams should have similar talent levels this year. For whatever reason, however, many are predicting that Florida will do far better, perhaps even making the Top 25. This will be Pruitt's first game against a conference opponent and his first big chance to prove himself.
1. Who Will Win the Quarterback Battle?
Many teams in the SEC are dealing with tight quarterback battles, and Tennessee is no different. The Vols have four guys in the mix: Jarrett Guarantano, Keller Chryst, WIll McBride, and JT Shrout, but really it's just between Guarantano and Chryst. Chryst is a senior who started some games for Stanford the last couple years and proved his ability to at least manage the game. Guarantano is a redshirt sophomore who played in most of Tennessee's games last year. It'll be a close contest.