The Tennessee Volunteers You have a perfect 3-0 record heading into SEC play. In this conference, you have to make gains when you can. There are very few weeks, and you should be able to adapt quickly. Tennessee hopes to get off to a good start to conference play with a win over Florida Gators This Saturday. This game is never easy, but Tennessee has plenty of reasons to feel confident on your way to the match.
After three games, we can begin to draw some conclusions about what Tennessee brings to the table. We already know their offensive philosophy and what they want to do in defence. From there, we can see how close they are to achieving their ideal shape. We can also see which players are starting to shine… and which players need to start improving.
So before the challenge starts this Saturday, we’ve decided to break down what the team is doing well, as well as some of the questions it needs answered.
What do you feel confident about
The defensive line is legitimate
I think we can say that Tennessee’s defensive line has proven itself in the first few games. They may not be an elite unit, but they clearly have enough talent and depth to solidify the defense. The interior in particular has a good selection of options, led by rising star Omari Thomas. We’ve also seen some strong contributions from men like Bryson Eason and Roman Harrison, and even a real new student like Joshua Josephs.
On the brink, Byron Young lives up to his billing as one of the best passing forwards in the league. It offers few offensive tackles in each game. But I would argue that the biggest appearance was Tyler Barron on the other side. He isn’t usually tasked with being the primary passing striker, but Baron was a wall on the other side of the line. He does a very good job of containing offenses and simply not being pushed back in the line of scrimmage.
If only the defensive line played for expectations, I’d be a bit weary from the front seven heading into team play. But because of this next guy, I’m going to buy Tennessee Defense.
Aaron Beasley took the next step
This guy is my pick for the best defensive player in the first few games. Tennessee was hoping that Paisley could improve on his strong 2021 season and complete the quarterback with Jeremy Banks (we’ll talk about it later). He made a lot of appearances in 2021, but he’s still being exploited by some crime. The employees were granted their wish.
Aaron Beasley is a brute force in the middle, and he has a knack for ball. Wherever the play goes, you can find Beasley. We’ve known since he was a conscript that he loves calling – he abused guys in high school. It finally translated to the college level, with Beasley being the executor in more than a few plays. He’s also violent enough that they sent him on some rushing passing duties to try and put pressure on their quarterbacks. This is something that could seriously change how the Tennessee defense continues to do its job as the year progresses. I’m not sure if he will continue to play at this level, but I am absolutely confident that he will continue to cement his position.
Offensive firepower is still intact
Point totals and various stats suggest an obvious answer here. But at the same time, there were some concerns about the Tennessee crime finding itself in tricky spots. We’ve seen that show up in a Pittsburgh game, especially at the start of the competition. Clearly, Tennessee offense will not be the unstoppable tyrant in all SEC matches.
But I will say – after watching the matches again (including a full rematch of the Pittsburgh game) I think some of the concerns are exaggerated. There were plenty of plays where Tennessee had a wide open receiver; The result was either a poor throw by Hendon Hooker, or a mental error by the receiver.
It would be one thing if the crime was simply to shut down. But re-watching made it clear that there was still room for improvement. That will likely come with more cast as the season goes on. There is a small tendency to catch Cedric Tillman, which was not as sharp as we expected. But then again, in more than a few missed calls, Tillman was already open.
In addition, volunteers have three options that can be the first recipient in most schools in the country. It seems strange to say after they lost Velus Jones Jr. and JaVonta Payton—but this spacious reception room in Tennessee might be even more talented.
What to worry about
Jeremy Banks Didn’t Take the Next Step (Though He Could Still Make an Impact)
This was something I had little doubts about. During his five years at Tennessee, Jeremy Banks has shown himself as a promising athlete and a strong hitter…but prone to a receiver mismatch. Banks loves to roam around and ensures that they deliver a good game in basically every game. But that has been exactly the case in the past few years. What has also been maintained is that Banks can be chosen in coverage, and they seem to react slowly to what the quarterback is offering them.
I don’t think Banks is a bad linebacker. In fact, I’d argue it’s above average. But Tennessee’s expectation was not above average. The expectation was that Banks would collect it all for 2022 and become the all-round quarterback player Tennessee State needed. Through three matches, it did not materialize. In fact, you might look at Aaron Paisley as the closest of the two.
I still think banks are your best option going forward, and they can give you the level of fitness your defense needs. But I also realize that there are real flaws in his game that you should be able to answer.
There are no places in high school
This is perhaps the most worrisome, and one of those issues that you basically have to recruit yourself from. Currently, Tennessee does not have a good high school. They have a solid start in safety with Trevon Flowers and Jaylen McCollough. Beyond that is a jam record in the back corner, where no one has yet proven themselves. This hasn’t been exploited much this year, because Tennessee hasn’t had any elite recipients. The best passing match they had was a Pittsburgh game with Kidon Sloves, but Sloves left the game early due to injury. The defensive results before his departure were not inspiring.
There are two streaks of hope. The first is Tamrion MacDonald at Star. He makes perfect use of his natural skills, and he’s already made some notable plays this season. The second is a double edge. He appears to be an outstanding athlete who could advance to CB1. The key for him would simply be more reps in the system.
On the other end of the spectrum, the rib Warren Burrell seems to have hit his roof. Perhaps the fact that he plays a lot indicates that Tennessee does not trust the players behind him.
The struggle inside
Unfortunately, the Tennessee offensive line wasn’t able to launch the massive indoor drill we saw last year. It’s a bit of a mystery, because the volunteers are back from starting position Cooper Mays and rookies in guard Javonties Spragues and Jerome Carvin. The offensive line seems to have improved a bit in pass protection, but the same can’t be said for blocking playback. In fact, if you run the numbers, Tennessee yards have vanished per carry in the first three games of this season lowest Compared to last year (by about half a yard). This isn’t necessarily a huge drop, but it’s worrisome. Mainly because this offensive line was supposed to be one of the most experienced in the league. But instead of building on progress, they seem to have fallen behind in this area.
Certainly some of this, too, is by design. Tennessee wants to stream it, and they’re also trying to figure out which of the contestants are more trustworthy. Tennessee has a fairly shallow back room yet, so it could just be a confidence issue. Coaches don’t want to pressure a real new student to run backwards.
We’re about to see if Tennessee is “downhill” to start the season. Volunteers can still have a wonderful year with Hooker and their recipients. But if they have a hasty effort similar to the Pittsburgh game, it could cost them a win or two.