Coming off of what Tennessee coach Jeremy Pruitt believed was a strong week of practice, the first year coach once again has questions to answer.
There are a lot of positives we can build off of,” Pruitt said at his weekly news conference.
The Vols suffered their third loss in as many seasons to South Carolina Saturday, and their fifth loss in 2018.
This loss in Columbia differs from the previous defeats in that this was the first time Pruitt’s team was in a close game deep into the fourth quarter. The result, however, is still an “L”.
“We’ve got to focus on us and try to improve,” Pruitt said. “I think when we do that, it shows up on Saturdays. We’ve got to take it in a game and finish in a game.”
The Vols had a chance to finish against the Gamecocks after being up 21-9 in the second half. But after a furious rally from South Carolina to put the home team ahead, Tennessee’s scoring opportunities became few and far between.
Often maligned quarterback Jarrett Guarantano, coming off a collar bone injury suffered against Alabama, saw most of his success in the first half and finished passing for 207 yards with two touchdowns completing 27 of 39 pass attempts.
With calls to give backup Keller Chryst playing opportunities, Pruitt defended his starter.
“They took the same amount of reps,” Pruitt said. “You don't want (Guarantano) looking over his shoulder. If we needed to make a move, we’d make a move.”
Tennessee will now have to once again bounce back from a loss for its homecoming opponent, UNC Charlotte.
“We’ve got a really good opponent this week in Charlotte,” Pruitt said. “Their coaching staff has a ton of experience. They’re very well coached, offensively and defensively.”