They don't have the passing capabilities of Oregon's Marcus Mariota or the breakaway speed of Florida's Tyler Murphy, and they certainly don't have the hostile-environment experience of the Gators' Jeff Driskel.
But when South Alabama trots out its dual-threat quarterback tandem of Ross Metheny and Brandon Bridge on Saturday at Neyland Stadium, one commonality will remain from some of the quarterbacks the Vols have already faced in 2013.
The Jaguars' signal-calling duo will have Tennessee's full attention.
"Both of them can run," UT linebacker Brent Brewer said. "One is very consistent at passing. The other one is pretty good at passing too ... I know both of them are very good. They can both run, so we got to contain our lanes and just play hard.
"You have to prepare for both of them."
A transfer from the University of Virginia, Metheny — the more passing oriented of the two — will get the first crack under center as he's started all three contests this season. The Stephens City, Va., native took over the lead role last year and was a bright spot throughout the program's first season of Division I Football Bowl Subdivision competition. Metheny has carried that production into his senior campaign, accounting for seven of USA's 11 touchdowns, while amassing nearly 700 total yards in 2013.
"He's a great decision maker, manages the offense really well," UT defensive coordinator John Jancek said. "It looks like he's a very smart player, knows where to go with the ball."
Bridge — the additional piece to the Jaguar quarterback puzzle — joined the South Alabama squad in 2012 after transferring from Alcorn State. The Toronto-area native attended the Manning Passing Academy in July and has quickly become a source of unprecedented athleticism and speed for the Jaguar offense.
Bridge is responsible for seven plays of 15 yards or more, six of which came in USA's second half comeback victory over Western Kentucky.
"When the really athletic quarterback comes in, you have to have awareness," Volunteer defensive line coach Steve Stripling said.
"We've talked about that," Stripling added. "It started in the meeting room on Monday and it has carried over to the field. We can identify when he's on the field, identify what plays can hurt you, obviously, quarterback runs – those types of things – keeping him in the pocket. We just talked about making him be a quarterback. Don't let him run around."
While the Jaguar signal-callers garner most of the praise, a diverse and unselfish group of pass catchers play an integral part in the offense's success. Headlined by junior tight end and Preseason All-Sun Belt Conference selection Wes Saxton, USA currently has four players with more than 100 receiving yards and three individuals with double digit receptions.
"Their slot receivers are really quick, really fast," Jancek said. "Those are the guys we're really focusing in on."
Defensively, the Jaguars implement a variety of blitz packages that generate pressure from all angles. This assertive game plan has many beneficiaries, most notably Rotary Lombardi Award Watch List member and preseason All-SBC defensive end Alex Page.
He and tackle Romelle Jones have combined for 4.5 sacks, while cornerback Qudarius Ford and linebacker Enrique Williams lead USA in tackles with 26 apiece.
"Defensively, (they are) athletic, phyiscal, very aggressive, bring a lot of pressure and they play very good team defense," UT coach Butch Jones said Monday.
Should the Volunteers be forced to throw the ball late, look for senior cornerback Tyrell Pearson — the Jaguars' third Preseason All-SBC selection — to come up with a momentum-shifting play. The Greenville, S.C., native had two fourth-quarter interceptions on consecutive drives to seal USA's win over the Hilltoppers.
"You have South Alabama coming in here not feeling sorry for us," Jones said. "They had a bye week. They had an extra week of preparation.
"We have to be ready for anything and everything come Saturday."