Interim head coach Brady Hoke mum on Vols quarterback situation, explains tweaks

Interim head coach Brady Hoke mum on Vols quarterback situation, explains tweaks

November 15th, 2017 by Rob Harvey in Sports - College

Tennessee associate head coach and defensive line coach Brady Hoke makes his way back to the locker room before an NCAA football game between Tennessee and Southern Mississippi at Neyland Stadium on Saturday, Nov. 4, 2017, in Knoxville, Tenn.

Photo by C.B. Schmelter /Times Free Press.

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KNOXVILLE — At his news conference Wednesday, interim Tennessee football coach Brady Hoke was asked about the team's two quarterbacks — freshman Will McBride and redshirt freshman Jarrett Guarantano.

Hoke answered by talking about his defensive ends.

The Volunteers and Hoke are giving nothing away regarding which quarterback will start Saturday night when Tennessee hosts LSU. However, Hoke did mention that Guarantano was healthier than he has been.

"I will tell you both quarterbacks were at practice yesterday, and having Jarrett healthier than he was is a plus," Hoke said.

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Guarantano sat out this past Saturday's loss at Missouri with an ankle injury that occurred during the first half of a home win against Southern Mississippi game the week before. McBride started and played all of last week's game, finishing 16-of-32 passing for 139 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions.

Junior running back John Kelly gave a bit of hint that Guarantano was back at practice Tuesday. But Kelly has one goal in mind for whoever will start at quarterback against LSU.

"I think we're going to have to go out there and protect whoever is out there at quarterback," Kelly said on Wednesday. "I know Jarrett has been getting some good reps this week, and we just have to go out there and protect them."

As for other injuries, Hoke didn't give anything else away. When asked about the offensive line injuries and if anyone would be back for Saturday's game, Hoke said "it's trending that way."

Scott to sideline

Hoke said offensive coordinator Larry Scott will move down to the sideline for Saturday's game after spending all of this season calling plays from the coaches' box.

Hoke mentioned it was Scott's idea to come down to the sideline for the game, and he added that Nate Ollie, a graduate assistant, will be coming down to the sideline, too.

"Nate and I have worked together with the defensive line," Hoke said. "I think there will be times when I need to maybe not be with those guys on the sideline or handling substitution patterns."

As for those moving up to the box, Hoke said wide receivers coach Kevin Beard could do so.

Headset for Hoke

Another change Hoke announced Wednesday was that he would indeed be wearing a headset on the sideline.

Hoke was at the center of controversy in his four years as head coach at Michigan (2011-14) because he did not wear a headset on the sideline. As Michigan began to lose during his last few years there, the controversy over the headset grew among fans and Hoke was quoted as saying "wearing a headset is overrated."

However, when he was asked about it Wednesday, Hoke didn't shy away from answering.

"You know, it's funny," he said, "I was just going to tell you I am going to wear a headset."

Contact Rob Harvey at sports@timesfreepress.com.


This story was updated Nov. 15 at 10 p.m.


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