Browsing Posts published by Steve

We made the predictions, now we have to face them. How did Mike and I do in week three?

Tennessee vs. Florida in Knoxville

What Mike Said:

The SEC opener for both teams in recent years, is now just the SEC opener for the Vols. Florida comes in after having defeated a game Texas A&M squad. UT is coming in over a thrashing of Georgia St. The Florida defense keeps the Vols under forty for the first time this season, but Sal Sunseri’s crew is starting to get the hang of this 3-4 thing. Florida scores a late touchdown to make the final score close than the actual game.

Tennessee 31 – Florida 23

3-0

What Steve Said:

It’s Florida, and nothing good ever happens against Florida. Today is no different. The Vols fans learn the hard way that having a good passing game isn’t quite enough. Brent Pease has a good, conservative game plan that allows the Gator defense to stay fresh and minimize the damage the Vols offense can do. The game remains tight but Florida has the edge at the end.

Tennessee 20 – Florida 23

2-1

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Well that was … thorough. Let’s get to it, shall we?

The Good

  • Back to back shutouts. Question the quality of the opponent if you like, but the Tide hasn’t shutout two opponents in consecutive weeks since Coach Bryant was on the sidelines. When you consider they did so despite playing literally everyone that made the trip, that’s really something.
  • Freshmen. QB Alec Morris is the only true freshman still eligible for a redshirt after only three games. When the media marvels at how Alabama is able to replace seven starters on defense so easily, this is how. When people marvel at how Saban can continue to get players to come to loaded positions where they won’t start, this is how. Fifth string running back Kenyan Drake led the team in rushing. Third string true freshman linebacker Denzel Devall recorded one of four sacks on Arkansas’ starting QB. That’s a pretty handy box score to share with prospective players.
  • AJ McCarron. He’s not going to win the Heisman because he doesn’t throw the ball enough, but he looks fantastic when he does. He’s quietly leading the league in yards per attempt (10.8) and passer rating (a whopping 196.59 which is sixteen points better than next-best Aaron Murray). To understand how far he’s come as a QB, he only topped that mark once last season (209 against Georgia Southern) and that’s his average this year.
  • Twelve players recorded a tackle for loss. Twelve. And that was rushing only three or four for the entirety of the game.

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We made the predictions, now we have to face them. How did Mike and I do in week two?

Tennessee vs. Georgia State in Knoxville

What Mike Said:

Not much to see here. This game is over almost before it begins. The defense looks better, but it should. It’s Georgia State.

Tennessee 56 – Georgia State 13

2-0

What Steve Said:

The only criticism of the Vols in this game will be asking why they left Bray in so long. Vols barely break a sweat.

Tennessee 63 – Georgia State 17

2-0

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My local Chattanooga affiliate decided that people would rather watch Braves baseball than the number one football team in the country, so thanks for renewing my hatred of you, Tennessee.  I did get to watch it on ESPN3, though, so not a complete loss, although watching Mike’s Hard Lemonade commercials thirty times in a three hour span is not cool. Not cool at all, ESPN.

If you had told me before the season that Alabama would win by five touchdowns and shutout a team who is on an eight game win streak and their last loss was to LSU last year, I would be thrilled with that. But I watched the game, and despite the good (and there was quite a bit to be happy about), the word “sloppy” just kept running through my head. The offensive line was playing like you can block someone with your reputation. It doesn’t work. The defense was sloppy in some of it’s tackles and the defense seemed a bit too willing to allow short passes. They lacked the aggressiveness they played with in week one.

I realize there’s not a lot you can really glean from this game. This game plan will in no way resemble what Alabama will do against Arkansas next weekend, and so in choosing not to pull out all the stops, you allow for certain things. This is still probably the best team in football, but it’s not a team who can beat anyone just by lacing up.

I’ll have more in the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, but for now, I’ll take satisfaction in a 35-0 win and 2-0 start to the season and try not to dwell on the plethora of mental errors that were made this afternoon.

Huge thanks to Bama Hammer for finding and posting this clip of all twelve of TJ Yeldon’s touches against Michigan. Those folks over there are doing some great work (the Weekly Auburn Moment of Zen is appointment reading). First the video, and then a little breakdown after the jump:

The video cannot be shown at the moment. Please try again later.

(if the embed doesn’t work as it is wont to do of late, you can view the video at Bama Hammer as linked above and here).

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We made the predictions, now we have to face them. How did Mike and I do in week one?

Tennessee vs. NC State in Atlanta

What Mike Said:

The season kicks off, where so many Tennessee seasons have died: The Georgia Dome. Two offenses come out firing, and two defenses really don’t know what they’re doing. UT’s new 3-4 takes an entire half to look a little bit normal. The halftime score is 24-20 UT. The defense comes around a little in the second half, and the offense keeps rolling. Tyler Bray has a HUGE game.

Tennessee 45- NC State 34

1-0

What Steve Said:

What do you get when you combine a defense that’s still trying to get comfortable in their new roles with an offense returning a good quarterback behind a veteran offensive line? If you’re the Wolfpack, the answer is “not enough.” David Amerson can cover most receivers in the country, but the Vols have two receivers who are tall enough that Tyler Bray will just have to throw the ball up toward the one he isn’t covering. Mix in Mychal Rivera and the passing game will be fine. Neither team impresses on the ground, but it won’t matter for Coach Derek Dooley, who will find that the “we’ve got things to work on” speech is a lot easier to give coming off a win.

Tennessee 30 – NC State – 27

1-0

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I am grateful for all the talking heads who want to extrapolate out a season’s worth of results from the outcome of Saturday’s games. It gives us something to discuss and argue about and generally occupy ourselves with until we can spend a few hours watching real football again next weekend. But conjecture is not the same as fact. To that end, let’s discuss a couple talking points that have been making the rounds and consider their merits.

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Mike does this for Tennessee, and in an odd reversal of real life, the Bama guy is going to try to emulate the Tennessee guy and point out the good, the bad and the ugly aspects of the Tide’s season opener in Dallas.

I want these to be balanced, but from this Bama fan’s perspective, there’s so much more good than bad (and ugly is a stretch at best).  So, with that said …

The Good

TJ Yeldon. The true freshman immediately lived up to his hype, ripping off a fourteen yard carry on his very first career touch. None of his subsequent carries failed to impress. In fact his shortest carry — a single yard — ended in six points.

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Former 3SiB contributor Patrick Bobo has a piece of short fiction he wrote on a lark earlier. Go to Rocky Top Talk to read it in it’s entirety but here’s a little teaser:

He continued, “Last night I received a vision! Hear me now! In my vision, there were packs of red wolves in the land. They were dark men — dark men with wolves emblazoned on their mail and wolves painted on their shields. They cared for nothing but havoc. Fangs bared, they sought and devoured all that they found. These red wolves were coming for what was mine and what was yours. Our families, our fortunes, our very birthright! They were a pestilence upon the land! The feeling overwhelmed me as I was in the throes of my vision: If we were to have any hope, these wolves must be eradicated, they must be destroyed!!!”

We did this last year, and I don’t know if anyone else liked it, but Mike and I did, so we’re bringing it back! We’ll go through each game of the season and make our predictions for how the year will play out for both Alabama and Tennessee. Then each week, we’ll review our predictions for that week and figure out if we were wrong or just horribly, unforgivably wrong.

With that, we bring you Alabama.

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