Transcript: Vols QB Jarrett Guarantano Friday interview

KNOXVILLE, TN – AUGUST 26, 2020 – Quarterback Jarrett Guarantano #2 of the Tennessee Volunteers during 2020 Fall Camp practice on Haslam Field in Knoxville, TN. Photo By Caleb Jones/Tennessee Athletics

Jarrett Guarantano, R-Sr., QB

On how having the same coaches will help with consistency and his thoughts on the freshmen receivers…

“I’m lucky and I’m thankful to have the opportunity to be with my same coaches for Year 2, and I’m looking forward to the progress that I’m able to make. It’s been an easygoing offseason. I’ve been working pretty hard on just trying to maintain the offense and get better with it. It’s definitely going to be a lot better, just being able to have those guys and the same terminology for another year.

“The freshmen receivers, they’re all very talented guys and I’m excited to get to work with them. They’re all very hardworking and they’re in the complex 24-7, whether that’s in the weight room or they’re up top just getting their knowledge right, so I’m excited for them and I expect them to make a big impact this coming season.”

On the weight that he added in the offseason…

“Going into the offseason, me and Coach (Chris) Weinke decided on some things that I wanted to work on and some things that I wanted to progress in and one of those things was to put on weight and to get my speed back a little bit. So, throughout the whole offseason it was kind of weird doing it, but I had my mom on my weight gain program, and she helped me out a lot with that.”

On how his knowledge of the offense is now compared to a year ago…

 “I think it’s significant, honestly. I feel way more comfortable on the field. It feels like I’m not overthinking many things. I’m able just to read coverages and go through my progressions without having my thought process change throughout the whole thing. It’s definitely more easygoing and it’s way easier on my mind and my body going through some things.”

On his drive to be more consistent and the evolution of the run game with a veteran offensive line…

“Going into February, we wrote down a couple of key things and it was be consistent and lead. I think those were two things that I needed to work on and get better at. That’s been my focus every single day, just going into every day talking about stacking chips with Coach (Chris) Weinke and just being able to grow every single day in a sense of getting better either mentally, physically or just becoming a better football player.

“The running game, I’m very impressed with right now. I think it’s coming along. Eric Gray and Ty Chandler have been doing a real good job. We have a few freshmen running backs that are actually performing pretty well. Being able to have a whole offensive line come back and having some key staples there, it’s looking very good and I’m very excited for it to continue.”

On what it feels like to be able to process everything faster behind center…

“It feels way more comfortable. I feel like my mind’s not going 100,000 different places. I have a pre-snap read, a post-snap read, and being able to really truly understand the offense’s ins and outs, it allows me to move faster, it allows me to see things come open way quicker and deliver the ball more on time and accurately.”

On his decision to remain at Tennessee despite the adversity he’s had to face throughout his career…

 “I’m looking at a big thing on the wall that says, ‘This is Rocky Top’. I was talking to Bill before and those words and just this place means so much to me. I was thinking about my journey here and there’s no place that I would rather be, honestly. Of course, there’s been ups and downs and in life you experience many ups and downs, so it was nothing for me. There were some things I had to grow and learn from and I wouldn’t undo any of this, honestly. I just tell myself some things about the process, not trying to rush it, but there’s no place I would rather be. I’m lucky to be a Tennessee Vol and I wouldn’t change that for the world.”

On building a rapport with the new players when everyone returned and not rushing the process despite having an increased sense of urgency…

 “When we came back to campus there was a lot of indecisiveness whether we were having a season or not, but honestly, it didn’t affect the team that much. We were in here all hours of the day getting some extra work in no matter if you were a senior, junior, freshman or sophomore. So, being able to have a team that’s like that and always wants to get work in and perfect their craft made things a lot easier. We knew that the time was ticking and that we had a lot of new guys coming in that needed to contribute, so there were a lot of extra hours that we had to perform in. I’m happy with our guys’ work ethic up to this point, but there’s still a lot of work to do until South Carolina comes.”

On the main things he worked on over the summer…

We wanted to work more on quicker feet, pocket movement, pocket awareness and just being to get inside and outside the pocket. I think we did a lot of good things throughout our training sessions and I’m excited to get to work.”

On the Culture Committee headed up by assistant coach Tee Martin and what experiences he’s taken away from that…

We meet around every week or so, but it’s been pretty good. As you can see we’re making a change around the University of Tennessee and that’s a tribute to the actual university and the people that are a part of this university that are allowing us to help make a change in the world.”

On how he would characterize the offensive line play during fall camp…

“I’m very proud of the offensive line up to this day. They’ve been working very hard as a group and being able to see them understand the terminology another year has actually helped. We’re another year older up front and I think we have a lot of talent up there. It’s just coming along with work ethic and being able to get on the same page as everybody else.”

On how being an older player helps in knowing how to work during the offseason…

“Going back to the spring, like I said, I was motivated as ever. I didn’t have the season that I wanted to have last year and going into this one, I know I want to have a big year, so it wasn’t very hard for me to wake up every morning ready to work. I knew that there were a lot of things I wanted to work on, rather that was foot quickness, rather that was accuracy, rather that was ball placement on all my throws, so being able to have a focus every single day and saying I’m going to get better at this certain thing every day, it wasn’t too hard for me. This is something that I’ve learned over time. Probably when I was younger, I wouldn’t have been this way. It kind of takes a sense of maturity and a sense of getting older and being through some things that have brought me to this point.”

On some examples of things that being Year 2 in a system allows him to do as opposed to Year 1 in a new system…

 “Just in my game there’s a lot less indecisiveness. There’s the pre-snap read, post-snap read, there’s the communication aspect, there’s being able to talk guys through some things. It’s a complete different sense of feel out there with me I feel like right now. Just in the sense of myself, I feel like I’m more comfortable. I feel like a lot of the guys see that I’m more comfortable and confident in my abilities and the way that I can mentally inject my way into the game. I’ve always felt like I was a smart football player but being able to have Year 2 under the same offense, it allows me to kind of show it a little bit.”

-UT Athletics

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