Garrison Barrett and Eli Dorton

Volunteer quarterbacks Garrison Barrett and Eli Dorton.

CHURCH HILL – The Volunteer Falcons will be counting on a sophomore quarterback, Garrison Barrett, in 2019 as Eli Dorton moves to defense.

While Dorton welcomes the change to defense and part-time quarterback, Barrett says he’s ready for the challenge.

Barrett played a couple games at quarterback down the stretch last season, which he thinks was plenty of preparation for this year.

“We played a lot of new guys last year,” Barrett said. “We’ve got a year under our belts and are ready to hit it hard. You know what to expect, how to play it. I got a couple of games in.

“It’s just a lot different from middle school or JV,” he said. “It’s a lot more physical. You get used to it.”

If he’s worried about leading the Falcons, Barrett certainly doesn’t show it, displaying a laid-back, carefree demeanor.

“It’s pretty good,” Barrett said of early-season workouts. “I’m working hard, trying to go through things. I think we’ll be pretty good this year. We have a bunch of threats on the outside.”

Barrett credited his teammates for making his job much easier.

“We’ve got a bunch of great players,” he said. “Clay Snapp is a fantastic lineman. We’ve got Braden (Allen), who works his tail off in the weight room. We have a bunch of threats on the outside, a great running back and a good defense.”

Barrett is equally comfortable with the offensive scheme.

“We have a nice RPO (Run Pass Option) set. You can run it. If they play off, we can throw the hitch. Or if you’re passing, you can throw the Go (-route). If you like the box we’re sitting in, you can just run it and get a couple of yards,” he said.

In the RPO, the quarterback makes the read at the line of scrimmage and decides if it will be a run or pass, Barrett said.

“We have so many threats, we have Cameron Johnson, a fantastic runner. We have Peyton Derrick on the outside and H.P. (Hayden Powell), Sal (Andrew Salyer), Luke (Bellamy). We have a bunch of threats this year,” Barrett said.

“All the wide receivers are running routes on every single play, so if I pull and throw it, they should be ready to catch the ball,” Barrett said. “If I run it, the line does a great job of blocking our schemes and Cameron does a great job of hitting the holes.

“The best part about it is it’s fast and we have an option to do something every play, so if someone wants to play off on the defense, we can kill ‘em either way,” Barrett said. “We have a great chance of making the playoffs.”

Volunteer head coach Justin Pressley is obviously comfortable with Barrett running the offense.

“If we protect for him, which I think we should be doing a good job for him this year, he should have a really big year,” Pressley said.

“He’s a smart kid. He’s just going to be a sophomore. But he’ll make good decisions. He’s a great athlete. He’ll make the right decision every time and we really want to be able to stretch the football,” Pressley said.

“We thought that was something we really needed to focus on this year, to be able to stretch it deep. He’s a guy who can make all those throws on just a one-step drop and throw. He’s going to be big for us,” Pressley said.