Instant Reaction: Is Tennessee Just Not That Good?
It was truly baffling watching Tennessee play against Ohio.
There were moments when the team showed what it‘s capable of but for the most part, as has been the case for three weeks now, it was lackluster sludge.
The defense gets a pass in this game because Cam Sutton, Jalen Reeves Maybin, Q’uarte Sapp, and Danny O’Brien all went down with injuries. And that’s on top of Latroy Lewis and Darrin Kirkland Jr. already being out. Oh, and Malik Foreman was suspended for the game for violating team rules.
Despite all of these missing pieces, Bob Shoop’s squad held Ohio to 19 points.
The real problem lies with the Vols’ offense. It starts with the offensive line, which is still struggling mightily. As a result, Josh Dobbs is often pressured so he makes poor throws or is forced to run. Alvin Kamara and Jalen Hurd have a hard time making big plays when they can’t get blocks. The end result is abysmal and in turn, Tennessee’s defense is forced to be on the field constantly.
Offensive coordinator Mike DeBord also isn’t doing any favors for his unit. His play calling was, yet again, bland and uninventive. All of this might work against Ohio but next week’s game against Florida will be a nightmare if things don’t change.
So, this begs the question: is Tennessee just not that good?
Honestly, we don’t know yet. I’ll be holding my judgement until after the Gators come to town. The Vols’ coaches could still be holding things back and there have been key injuries, especially this week.
The rubber will meet the road next Saturday. I’m already nervous about what I’ll be writing when that game is over.
INSTANT REACTION GRADES:
Running Backs: B
Offensive Line: D
Wide Receivers: B (A+ for Josh Malone)
Defensive Line: B
Special teams: B