Tennessee Volunteers starting off 2-0? New coach? Although this is a welcome feeling around Rocky Top, fans should err on the side of caution.
Yes, the Vols are tied with Missouri at the top of the SEC East. There’s some good news, but it’s not all pretty. Here are some lessons from the Vols 52-20 win over Western Kentucky in week 2.
1. Inconsistency at QB : Justin Worley has been leading the Vols, but has been plagued by inconsistency. He went 11 of 19, 142 yards, 1TD and 1 INT. Let’s face it, Worley is the quarterback. He has great potential in freshman receiver Marquis North, as evidenced by the incredible catch in the second quarter of the game. Watch the– #3 on top 10 –catch here.
But—there is still a long way to go. Especially against much stronger defenses in the future, Worley will have to be on the money, faster at reading the coverage and better at decision making.
2. Scoring issue: Yes, the Vols posted 52 points. But 38 of those points were off turnovers. The Vols offense was unable to score points that weren’t a direct result of turnovers in the first half, but scored on their first possession of the second half, showing their ability to adjust. But if they are facing Top 25 teams or any of the SEC, they will have to be able to adjust offensive strategy on the go or they will fall behind.
3. Offensive Bright Spot: The offense as a whole isn’t the problem. The running game has many bright spots including the two-back-attack with Rajion Neal (74 yards, 3TDs) and Marlin Lane (97 yards, 1 TD).
4. The D: Everyone is hyped up about the Vols D. Yes, they were able to capitalize on Western Kentucky’s 7 turnovers. So Bravo for that! But, the Vols won’t be playing Western Kentucky next week or the rest of the season. The fact that WKU was able to march down the field with ease should calm the hype.
Yes, the defense has improved, but there is so much more they need to be able to do if they want to match up to the offenses of Oregon, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina etc… in the coming weeks. Unfortunately, the Vols don’t have long to make adjustments for the fastest offense in college football –the Oregon Ducks next Saturday and Florida the following week.
5. The best defensive News: There was not just one play-maker on the defense. In fact: DB Brian Randolph made two interceptions and LB Brent Brewer added another. Meanwhile, DB Cameron Sutton, DB Justin Coleman both returned their picks for touchdowns.
6. Why Butch may be the One: Not everyone is sold on head coach Butch Jones, but that comes with the territory. His comments post-game show why he may be the one.
“We have a lot of work to do, but I’ll tell you it’s great to go back and work on the things we need to. We needed a game like this with the emotions and adversity. I’ll tell you, I’m very proud of our players. I liked the way our players responded in the second half.”
He broke it down correctly. The bottom line is that the Vols did a good job, but they also gave up a lot of big plays. There is a lot of work to do and Butch knows that. The big question is: Will they be prepared for one the biggest tests of the season – #2 Oregon next week?