BRYAN - The Tennessee Volunteers went 5-7 last year, and they ended 2018 on what you could call a low point. The Volunteers lost their final two games against Missouri and Vanderbilt by a combined 58 points.
"There was a lot of learning opportunities in that season. Being able to look back and watch that tape, and being able to see different things that you had success with or different things that you would like to change. It also helps your development and growth as a player," Tennessee Quarterback Jarrett Guarantano reflected.
"Being able to go into this year knowing that we need to be more consistent. Being able to be comfortable with the defense we have now. Just being able to have that confidence to go out there and play," explained Linebacker Daniel Bituli.
"We lose a couple of games probably cause we maybe we didn't fight the way we needed to fight like we did at the beginning of the year. You go back, well whose fault is that? It's obviously my fault as a head football coach," said Tennessee Head Coach Jeremy Pruitt.
The Volunteers feel like they've already improved from last year. On defense, they come back more experienced and now know what it takes to win.
"We're going to be a violent group this year. We're a really confident group going into every game knowing what we need to do and how we need to do it," Bituli stated.
"Our defense can be consistent and getting more takeaways this year, so our offense can have as many opportunities as they want to score touchdowns," said Linebacker Darrell Taylor.
On offense, Quarterback Jarrett Guarantano returns. He feels his protection will be better this year.
"Being able to have younger guys come in and work hard, we definitely needed that. I'm really happy with the actual success that they had this off-season, and I think they're going to have more success coming into the season," praised Guarantano.
Head Coach Jeremy Pruit is entering his second year with Tennessee, and the Vols are all-in for 2019.
"We're really excited with where we're headed. Coach Pruitt and his coaching staff have done a great job with communicating on what needs to be done in order to win games. Guys in the locker room are just focused on his leadership. We're just following his lead, and he'll take us there," exclaimed Bituli.
"I'm as excited about this football team as any I've ever been around. It's not about how many games we're going to win or anything like that. I know that's how you're measured. It's just about being around the people and how they go to work and how far they've come in the last 18 months," Pruitt said.
Tennessee kicks off their season August 31st at home against Georgia State.
2019 Tennessee Football schedule:
Sat. Aug. 31 Georgia State
Sat. Sept. 7 BYU
Sat. Sept. 14 Chattanooga
Sat. Sept. 21 at Florida
Sat. Sept. 28 Bye
Sat. Oct. 5 Georgia
Sat. Oct. 12 Mississippi State
Sat. Oct. 19 at Alabama
Sat. Oct. 26 South Carolina
Sat. Nov. 2 UAB
Sat. Nov. 9 at Kentucky
Sat. Nov. 16 Bye
Sat. Nov. 23 at Missouri
Sat. Nov. 30 Vanderbilt