Tennessee football is finally underway. Unfortunately, we started the season 0-1 after losing to UCLA last night 27-24 in OT. It was a disappointing loss, and the Vols have a tough schedule ahead of them. There is much work to be done. For what it’s worth, here is my assessment of the game.
Overall offense gets a C from me. Our backs looked good. Arian Foster rushed for 96 yards on 13 carries. He did fumble once. Montario Hardesty carried the ball 12 times for 66 yards and had 2 touchdowns. Passing was not very impressive, in my opinion. Jonathan Crompton did not look comfortable in the pocket and was pressured all night. He completed 19-of-41 for 189 yards and threw 1 interception. The offensive line has a lot of work to do. They allowed the UCLA defense to get to the QB far too often.
Special teams earns a B- overall. The kicking game was okay. Daniel Lincoln was 1-of-4 kicking. He missed his first 2 FG’s from 51 and 55 yards. He connected from 47 yards to tie the game and send it into OT, but then missed from 34 yards in OT. Kick and punt returns looked good. Gerald Jones was key in returning both, averaging 38 yards on kickoff returns and 33 yards on punt returns.
Defense gets an A- for their performance. The secondary looked great in the first half with 4 interceptions. The line held their ground and only allowed 29 yards on the ground. The linebackers played solid but, in my opinion, did not put enough pressure on UCLA’s QB.
I would have to say that overall the Vols have a lot of work to do if they want to be a true contender in the SEC. The team had lots of mistakes, including penalties. The Vols were penalized 9 times for 55 yards. Offense, defense and special teams need to improve over the next couple of weeks before Florida rolls into Knoxville. I think the talent is there to be one of the top teams in the SEC. I just hope they can execute better in the coming weeks.
With all that said, I’m still glad “It’s Football Time in Tennessee”, and I am looking forward to the rest of the season.