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COLUMN: O-Line is the Key to Success for UT Against UAB

by | Oct 31, 2019

The Tennessee Volunteers-UAB Blazers match-up is growing closer and closer on the horizon as we are now only a day away from the big meeting. As Vol fans are growing more and more excited to watch Jeremy Pruitt’s squad face-off against the Blazers in what could be the Vols’ 4th victory of the season, there is one position group that must perform to its full potential in order for Tennessee’s homecoming celebration not to be spoiled by the pesky Blazers. That position is the offensive line.

At the beginning of the season, the Volunteer faithful were extremely concerned about the big men up front after two years of abysmal play from the position group. While the offensive-line are by no means world-beaters, they surprised many and have proven to be the most improved area of Tennessee’s team by far. With Trey Smith back on the field after suffering blood clots in his lungs and 5-Star freshmen offensive tackles, Wanya Morris and Darnell Wright joining the program, Will Friend’s unit was able to make a monumental step forward this season.

While inconsistency at the quarterback position held the offense back for most of the season, the stars seemed to all align together as everything clicked for Tennessee’s offense in their 41-21 victory over South Carolina last week. The offensive-line gave the quarterback time to throw the ball and for the first time all season, Jarrett Guarantano was able to deliver an accurate ball to his receivers who were shredding the Carolina secondary all game long.

Now the young position group is in for another steep challenge as they are facing a UAB defense that loves to blitz the quarterback. You can expect them to go after whoever starts at quarterback for the Vols from start to finish as that is what they have done all season, and in a game where they can really make a name for themselves against a major SEC program on the road, at night, you can definitely expect more of the same from Bill Clark’s team.

Additionally, it appears that the Vols’ talented young gunslinger, Brian Maurer may be able to get the start after missing most of the Alabama game and all of the South Carolina game following suffering back-to-back head injuries in a two-week time span. Maurer can not afford another injury to the head and it is up to his offensive line to protect him, assuming he gets the start.

You can watch the Volunteers attempt to get their 4th victory of the season and take a major step in getting to their first Bowl Game since 2016 at 7:00ET on ESPNU.

Luke A. Thomas

Luke A. Thomas

Senior Writer

Luke was born in Murfreesboro, Tennessee and grew up with a passion for SEC Football.

His career in journalism started in 2016 when he covered his hometown MTSU Blue Raiders. He would later go on to cover the local Vanderbilt Commodores before he would begin covering the Volunteers. He wrote for SBNation, covering UT Athletics before joining Volunteer Roadshow in May of 2019. At Volunteer Roadshow he covers all things Tennessee, with a focus on UT Football and Basketball.

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