Saturday the Vols traveled to Athens, it started out BAD. Like, I actually considered turning off the tv bad. With five minutes to go in the first half Tennessee was down 27-10, and Cordarrelle Patterson had dropped a sure touchdown, and from that point on Tennessee made a game of it. It wasn’t a win, and I don’t subscribe to moral victories. However, there were a lot of silver linings to be had Saturday.
I normally do “The Good” first, but I wanted to get the bad out of the way, because I took a lot of positives from Saturday’s game. Tackling, tackling tackling, that was bad. Keith Marshall and Todd Gurley ran over the Vols, it was a pitiful and disgusting performance. This team misses Brian Randolph in a big way. If the opponent blocking is good, I don’t feel comfortable that many people in the secondary can bring down a running back. Coaches think freshmen Ladarrell McNeil can do that, and I hope that he can, because teams are going to do that all day to Tennessee. Unfortunately, the only defender I feel good about, (and I feel great about actually) is AJ Johnson. This kid gets it done, he doesn’t have enough help around him yet.
Tyler Bray was not good. The stats aren’t good 24-45 and three interceptions. To be fair, there were also some crucial drops that could’ve kept drives alive, but Bray missed some huge throws too. He is trying to do too much, the kid has a talented arm, but he still needs to let the game come to him, make the throws when he needs to, and not force things. He turned the ball over way too much in the fourth quarter, and that was the difference between a nice comeback and a signature win.
This team’s heart. How many teams in the country go on the road to the #5 team in a rough atmosphere, and are able to come back and scare the home crowd? Not many that’s for sure. That was a fabulous effort by the entire Volunteer team.
The defense, which was so bad early, bowed up at the end as Georgia was trying to put the game away. They gave Tyler Bray three chances to make the tying touchdown. They hung tough when they absolutely had to. That was nice to see.
Let’s give it up for Rajion Neal and the UT offensive line. For three seasons now Derek Dooley’s teams have been unable to establish a reliable running game against even mediocre competition. The Vols proved to the country, over, and over, and over again that they can run. Not only that, the Vols can run when Gary Danielson, Jarvis Jones, and Todd Grantham know they are running. Not only was that good, that was awesome. 197 yards on the ground as a team. 104 for Neal. That was a heck of a performance. Let’s talk about Jones for a minute. For four weeks this kid was the best player in the country. Tennessee found a way to neutralize him. What a performance by the UT O-line.
What do Brian Moore, CAR-darrelle Patterson, and Herman Laythers have in common? They all had their names butchered by Verne Lundquist. C’mon man. Do your research.