Josh Heupel clearly doesn’t have Tennessee Football in league with the top tier of the SEC just yet. The Vols suffered a horrendous loss at home to the Georgia Bulldogs Saturday afternoon, the third straight season they proved to be significantly inferior to Kirby Smart’s team in spite of the hype. Here are five things we learned from the game.
Injuries made guarding secondary receivers impossible.
Kamal Hadden being out was bad enough when it come to guarding the wideouts. However, Brock Bowers, Dillon Bell and Marcus Rosemy-Jacksaint went off, and that had everything to do with injuries at linebacker and safety. Wesley Walker and Tamarion McDonald were out, and Jourdan Thomas then got hurt. A walk-on at middle linebacker made it worse.
Passing game never got going for Tennessee Football.
In typical Joe Milton III fashion, he overthrew far too many passes, at least three, and he also missed Ramel Keyton for a wide open touchdown at the end of the first half. Meanwhile, Squirrel White dropped two passes, he couldn’t turn a quick screen on 3rd and 2 into a first down, and he got blown up on a block by Tykee Smith as part of another screen. This all proved costly.
Run game was awful outside of one big play.
Jaylen Wright’s 75-yard touchdown run to open the game was exciting for all Tennessee Football fans, but the attack was awful the rest of the way. UT had 14 carries for 37 yards outside of that. Georgia’s defensive front, as everybody probably should have seen, easily manhandled the Vols. Dylan Sampson’s lack of vision is still an issue, so the running back unit still isn’t a finished product.
Offensive line has fallen apart.
Cooper Mays went from being the one starting offensive lineman hurt at the beginning of the year to the only healthy one by the end of this game. Both tackles, Gerald Mincey and John Campbell Jr., were out going into the game. Then Javontez Spraggins, by far the team’s best run blocker, went down during the game, as did Dayne Davis. This partially explains why the run game fell apart.
Defense actually stopped the run fine.
Honestly, the Vols would have been expected to be worst in the trenches on defense three years into Josh Heupel’s tenure. However, with the Rodney Garner magic, that hasn’t been the case. If you take out a 33-yard play on a reverse to Arian Smith, Georgia averaged under four yards a carry on the ground. The most destructive handoff was one to Bell in which he threw for a touchdown.