It’s time again for what has become my weekly rant on Tennessee football. The Vols traveled to Auburn Saturday to take on the Tigers. Once again, the Vols could not pull off a victory, despite spending the majority of the 4th quarter in Auburn territory. The Tigers won the game 14-12, and Tennessee falls to 1-3 overall (0-2 in the SEC). I would like to share my thoughts on the positives and negatives of the game. I also want to share my opinion of where the Vols are headed and what changes might need to be made.
I’ll start with the negative…offense. I guess I should really say lack of offense. Yet again this season, the Volunteer offense was unproductive. Jonathan Crompton was absolutely terrible this week…8-of-23 for 67 yards and responsible for a fumble that Auburn fell on in the end zone for a TD. The Tennessee offense continues to crumble under pressure. They spent much of the 4th quarter in Auburn territory but could not gain enough yards to even get into field goal range. What an abysmal performance!!!
Now for the positives…defense and special teams. The Vols defense continued to play exceptionally well. They pretty much shut Auburn’s offense down in the 2nd half and held the Tigers to only 226 yards. The UT defense created multiple opportunities for the offense to win the game. Give credit to special teams as well, especially punter Chad Cunningham. After getting off to a rocky start in the first few games, he redeemed himself Saturday. He was absolutely spectacular in the 2nd half, pinning Auburn deep in their own territory for most of the 4th quarter.
Unfortunately, defense and special teams alone cannot win ball games. The Tennessee offense has failed to step up all season. There is rumor now that coach Fulmer will pull Crompton from the starting QB position. That’s a good start, in my opinion, but I’m not so sure that’s going to be the answer. Yes, Crompton has looked horrible, but so have his receivers. Too many times Crompton has thrown some good passes only to see the receivers drop them in the open field.
So, where does this leave Tennessee? I think we will struggle to get 6 wins this season. I’m concerned with some of the players on the team, but I’m more concerned with the coaching staff. I have never been on the fire Fulmer band-wagon, but I’m beginning to wonder if it is time for a change. Tennessee fans have dealt with some tough seasons recently, but this year looks to be the worst we’ve seen in quite a while. It is my opinion that, unless the Vols manage at least 7 wins, Fulmer will be on his way out.
Next week we face Northern Illinois in a non-conference game. Perhaps we can use another QB to see how that works in preparation for out next SEC battle in Athens, GA on Oct. 11. Regardless of the outcome of the rest of the season, I am still loyal to my Vols. I still bleed orange, so…GO VOLS!!!!