What happens in 78 days— Big Orange football that’s what

Published 6:00 am Friday, June 14, 2019

I don’t know how many people are like myself, but to think that the Tennessee Volunteers kick off a new season makes me feel like an expectant father waiting for a newborn child to be born.

Now laugh all you want, but after seeing everything that has been transpiring in the Vols camp in the last month or so gives this old Big Orange loving, Tennessee talking football fan a little light at the end of a long tunnel.

To say that I am glad that the bring masons have moved on would be an understatement as second-year head coach Jeremy Pruitt along with AD Phillip Fulmer have been rolling heads and making the changes necessary to get the Vols back to the top of the heap in the SEC.

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Granted, it may not happen this year, but if things continue on the pace they are currently moving at, it won’t be too far down the road.

All you have to do is look at the recruits that have been eyeballing the Tennessee program to know that something is cooking at a red-hot pace in Knoxville.

There are four and five-star recruits who are backing out of commitments to other top programs which have penciled in Knoxville on their places to visit and when has that happened in Knox Vegas.

Recently during a camp, Tennessee picked up commitments from two prospects from Illinois including a four-star defensive back stud.

You also have to take a look at the changes made in the coaching ranks to realize that Pruitt has been a great student from his other stops, including that dirty word Alabama, and hasn’t hesitated in pulling strings to make sure everyone is marching to the right beat.

Bringing in Jim Chaney as his offensive coordinator from SEC powerhouse Georgia and moving Chris Weinke to quarterbacks coach was huge enough in its own right.

But throw in the addition of a young man by the name of Tee Martin as a coach and all of the sudden top-ranked quarterbacks throughout the nation are looking Tennessee’s way.

It also doesn’t hurt that former alumni Peyton Manning and Jason Witten show up from time to time at their old stomping grounds and all of a sudden you have recruits saying, “Why not Tennessee?”.

I know that quarterback Jarrett Guarantano hasn’t been the player that most Tennessee fans were expecting but I think old Jarrett has learned a thing or two or three and maybe just maybe will have a blowup year underneath center.

And with Weinke who is a former winner of a National Championship and a Heisman Trophy winner as well as being a former NFL player and coach, all of a sudden Guarantano has a mentor who knows all about the life of a quarterback.

Also, did I mention Tee Martin?

Guarantano’s success will also hinge on how his receivers—specifically Jauan Jennings. Marquez Callaway and Josh Palmer respond to the signal caller’s leadership along with a handful of newcomers who look to play into the mix.

Just talking about it makes me get as giddy as a kid in a candy store in Pigeon Forge thinking about the new season.

I look for it to be the beginning of a wild ride for Tennessee football in the years ahead.

78 days—here is to not wishing my life away over football, but I am so ready for it to be ‘Football time in Tennessee.’