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Tennessee Football report card: Grading the Vols in their 29-16 loss at Florida

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Does anybody deserve a good grade for Tennessee Football after the way they played in The Swamp Saturday? In many ways, it was awful all the way around. However, some units showed out more than others, and most found a way to contribute at some point in the game. Here is UT’s report card against the Florida Gators.

Quarterback: C-

Joe Milton III completed 20-of-34 passes for 287 yards and two touchdowns with an interception. However, he didn’t show command of the offense, didn’t step in the right spot in the pocket at times, forced the Vols to take two timeouts on the first drive of the second half. Add in the overthrows, and he’s barely average.

Running backs: B+

Although Jaylen Wright and Jabari Small didn’t have good averages, they fought for every yard. As a result, they get an above average grade. Their performances weren’t off the charts enough for them to warrant an A-grade collectively, but UT still rushed for 100 yards on the night.

Wide receivers: B-

Bru McCoy each had a drop, and Dont’e Thornton had a play where he didn’t fight for a ball. However, McCoy made up for it with 94 yards and a touchdown. The Tennessee Football receiving corps. largely wasn’t at fault for what happened in the game. They need more catchable balls, and those balls need to get their quicker.

Tight ends: B

A lot of what applies to the receivers applies to the tight ends. Jacob Warren did his job, and McCallan Castles is emerging as a legitimate threat in the passing game. The only reason this unit gets a B is because of a Castles blindside blocking penalty that wiped out a drive. It was a terrible penalty, but Castles shouldn’t have put himself in that position.

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Offensive line: D

Tackles weren’t awful, but the interior play of the line was so bad it messed up the tone for the rest of the game. We finally see why Tennessee Football needs Cooper Mays out at center, as Ollie Lane committed four penalties. Andrej Karic also made a critical mistake early to kill a drive, and even Javontez Spraggins missed a block to help force the Milton pick.

Defensive tackles: C+

They stiffened in the second half, and perhaps this is too unfair given the limited help they had, but the Vols got pushed around on the interior of the line on both sides in the first half. As a result, we have to give the defensive tackles an average grade. It largely isn’t their fault, but we can’t ignore what the line as a whole did. That offside on 4th and 1 late also knocks down this grade.

Edge rushers: D+

James Pearce Jr. had two tackles for a loss, but by and large, the edge rushers took the night off. In the first half, Florida moved the ball because the Vols took horrible angles on the outside on running plays. This game was made for Pearce, Roman Harrison and Tyler Baron to rack up tons of stats, and they simply didn’t show up, hurting the line as a whole.

Linebackers: C-

Elijah Herring is either too young or not athletic enough to play middle linebacker in Keenan Pili’s spot. He was also out of position far too much in this game, and he picked up a crucial roughing the passer penalty. On the other hand, Aaron Beasley was probably once again the best player in the game, with a tackle for a loss and eight tackles, four solo.

Defensive backs: B-

Kamal Hadden got trucked on a touchdown run, and this unit wasn’t great, but it was above average. It’s hard to blame them when the defense is predicated on gap integrity and proper pressure up front, which they didn’t have. Florida took control in the first half because they moved the ball on the ground.

Kicking game: A+

Punter U is back for Tennessee Football. Jackson Ross had three punts and pinned two inside the 20-yard line. That wasn’t the only kicking advantage. The Vols blocked an extra point, and Charles Campbell nailed a 42-yard field goal. If this game was close, this aspect of it could have been a big difference.

Return game: N/A

There were no returns and no possible returns given the kicks, so we can’t grade this.

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2 Responses

  1. We are overrated and may have difficulty getting a bowl. We need to start playing #2 QB and get him some experience. Milton is inconsistent. He is an average QB, but Vols require excellence for our type offense. Offensive line is poor, but I don’t know how to fix. This week vs. UTSA will not be easy. Moreover, Ky., S.C., Mo. all look stronger than us right now. Unless We get improvement at QB, we will get embarrassed by Al. and Ga. Perhaps we need to absorb some freshman errors and play more of them.

  2. Coaching grades would be nice and I’ve give a D grade based on the team not being prepared for the noise or disciplined. Also lines of scrimmage on both sides were soft and got manhandled. But the D is also for the timeout at the end of the game, bad idea and rests solely on the coach.

    Overall grades would be nice also. I’d give the defense a C-. I’d give the offense a D.

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