So far, this Kentucky Football season has been defined by missed opportunities. Chris Rodriguez’s should-have-been-a-touchdown run at Auburn. The missed two-point conversion. AJ Rose’s deuces and fumble in the end zone vs. Ole Miss and, of course, the missed field goal and point-after attempt. Thankfully, the Cats got back on track vs. Mississippi State, shutting out Mike Leach’s Air Raid offense, which Jeremy Pruitt said is just one reason Kentucky should be undefeated heading into Saturday’s game vs. Tennessee.
“They play good defense and probably should be 3-0,” Pruitt said yesterday. “They lost a tough one against Ole Miss and I think we all saw what happened down at Auburn on the play that was reviewed there. They very easily could be 3-0. They’ve been one of the better teams in our conference for the last several years. They’re committed to running the football. They believe in their plan. They’re a physical team that’s disciplined. They play well together. It will be a tremendous challenge for us.”
Backup quarterback Joey Gatewood made an appearance in the Mississippi State game, leading the team down the field on Kentucky’s final drive for a field goal to make it 24-2. Pruitt said the Vols are prepared for Gatewood if Stoops makes the switch, even just for a series.
“I think they’re similar quarterbacks,” he said of Gatewood and Terry Wilson. “He played a little bit this past week, so we have to be ready for everything.”
On Tennessee’s side, Pruitt insisted the Vols are sticking with Jarrett Guarantano at quarterback despite Saturday’s struggles vs. Georgia. Guarantano threw for 215 yards, two touchdowns, and an interception vs. the Bulldogs, but was also -40 yards on ten carries.
“Well Jarrett is our quarterback. He gives us the best opportunity to have success. When you have 1st and 20, it’s tough to make first downs. When you have 2nd and 15, it’s tough to make first downs. We didn’t do a very good job protecting. We didn’t play very fast on the perimeter. It’s the way the game goes. I played quarterback. When you don’t have a lot of success, the quarterback takes too much blame. When you have a lot of success, the quarterback probably gets too much credit. Offensively, our struggle Saturday was not because of one independent person. It was a team effort. We understand that. It starts with us as coaches to put our guys in a better position to have success.”