‘Voice of the Vols’ Bob Kesling Sizes Up Tennessee Football


Tennessee didn’t get to enjoy spring football.
Let’s hope that doesn’t hold true for this fall.
The ‘Voice of the Vols’ Bob Kesling says the program has picked up some momentum with their winning record last year and some prize recruits.

Freshman quarterback Harrison Bailey hasn’t played a game for Tennessee, and he has barely practiced.
Yet he’s a fan favorite of Big Orange nation.
Said Kesling:”You know he’s much anticipated, but as we all know, the most popular player on most teams is the back-up quarterback. This is a very talented young man. There’s a lot of promise for him, but Jarrett Guarantano has played a lot of football at Tennessee. He’s a guy that’s a veteran. I don’t think he will give up his spot without a pretty good fight. If Guarantano is not the starting quarterback, that’s probably a good sign for Tennessee because somebody else has really stepped up.”
Kesling says the quarterback battle may not have been the top priority if spring ball had progressed as normal.
Said Kesling:”Well I think you had to look at play-makers. They lost some big time play-makers at the wide receiver corp when you look at Jauan Jennings and Marquez Callaway moving on, so you have to come up with a play-maker there, and then creating more turnovers on defense. That’s what Jeremy Pruitt always talks about. You can never have enough play-makers on both sides of the ball, and I think that’s what Tennessee is really trying to establish this spring.”
Perhaps the biggest relief for the Vols.
They finally have some offensive linemen aided by the return of Trey Smith.
Said Kesling:”Well you’ve got to go back to when Coach Pruitt came in. I think he had only four offensive lineman on the whole roster, and most football teams you need to have fifteen at least that to practice if nothing else. In this league you can’t win if you can’t play in the offensive and defensive lines. And I think Tennessee is in a position where they feel pretty good about the depth and quality they have on both sides of the ball.”
With the start Tennessee had last season, a third year for Jeremy Pruitt on Rocky Top didn’t look promising, but Pruitt and the Vols persevered.
Said Kesling:”Jeremy Pruitt is still learning his way a little bit. I think Pruitt took a big step last year in becoming that head coach, so I think he has really grown into the role. I think you are going to see now that he is going to start taking big steps towards being one of the top coaches in this league.”

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Rick Nyman grew up in Anniston, Alabama and attended the University of Alabama. His television career started at WJSU-TV in Anniston where he had the opportunity to cover SEC football with Alabama and Auburn. Anniston is just 20 minutes from the Talladega Speedway, so NASCAR was a big part of his sports coverage. Due to this he was able to interview Davey Allison, Dale Earnhardt, Jeff Gordon, and several other top-name NASCAR drivers. Rick's next television job was in Savannah, Georgia, where he covered basketball player Kwame Brown (now with the Washington Wizards), who later became the first ever high school player selected as the top pick in the NBA draft. He covered the PGA Tour's annual swing thru Hilton Head and also had the opportunity of covering the Atlanta Falcons Super Bowl appearance in 1999 in Miami. Rick especially enjoys all the atmosphere, tradition and drama of college football. He also likes profiling sports personalities and learning what drives them both on and off the field. If he's not covering sports, he's either watching Seinfield or David Letterman, playing golf, reading, or working out. What he enjoys about Chattanooga is the passion people have for sports. The mountainous region of Chattanooga reminds him of his hometown of Anniston, which also has big, beautiful trees and plenty of hills. You can contact Rick at rnyman@wdef.com.