Good Morning, My Friends,
An easy note, Bama is Good and their QB is REALLY GOOD. I had not expected the Vols to win. I had hoped that they would play a solid game with good execution, no turnovers, and not allowing Bama to get “Home Run TD’s” repeatedly. There were some positives and unfortunately more negatives (a lot of those were created by Bama) in the Vol’s play. For the Vols it is now on to the rest of the SEC for their November run.
A few observations about the game. In the first two drives Vol defenders made contact with the Bama ball carriers in the back field or at the line but were unable to complete the tackle. it is positive that the DL was able to get penetration and that the LB’s were in the right holes even if they did not complete the tackle. That is an improvement from earlier games. When the Vols corners blitzed, Bama’s players picked it up and the pass to the uncovered WR was on target time after time. I wish JG and the Vol WR’s picked up the blitz reads as well as Tua and the Bama WR’s do. Bama really attacked the blitz. Downfield the Vol secondary tackled well, but they were 10 yards or more from the line of scrimmage. it was a while into the game before Bama got into a 3rd Down situation. Bama really played Ball Control well and broke tackles and pushed the pile for more yardage.
The Vols made mistakes and hurt themselves with penalties and bad execution. I was more than a bit upset with the game officials on some of their calls against Vol players and more so on some “no calls” for the same thing on Bama’s kids. it seemed that on almost every play a Bama player would push or shove a Vol after the whistle trying and succeeding in provoking a Vol to react. In one case when the Vol WR got up from the ground he was pushed back to the ground by the Bama DB right in front of an official and no call was made. This did not cost the Vols the game, but it could and will hurt them in their remaining games if they are not more disciplined.
It seemed to me that the Vols played better as the game progressed. They scored, and they forced Bama to punt more than any other team that the Tide had played this year. They made some plays on both sides of the ball during the game, just not enough of them. They did not quit. Keller came in cold and played well, he has talent and has been on a big stage before. It is good to have an experienced and talented backup QB. It was good that Bama did not repeatedly “Home Run” the Vols, but the Vols could not regularly hold them for no gains and force punts. Bama’s power at WR and RB was shown by their yards after contact, they were hard to get to the ground.
The long and short story of the game is that Bama did the same things other teams did against the Vols on both Offense and Defense but with more talented players. Bama’s kids were bigger, stronger, and faster than the kids from Auburn or Georgia. When you look at the tackles for loss and the sacks in this game and the earlier games only the uniforms changed the schemes remained the same with better execution due to better players.
if any of the Vol players egos were pumped up from the Auburn game, this game let the air out of that balloon. Penalties, turnovers, drops, sacks made this look like the WVU/ Gator games.
Looking at the SEC East, I feel good about the Vols in their remaining games if they take care of the ball and do not shoot themselves in the foot. I think the Wildcats are their main hurdle and the Vols have three weeks to get ready for that, plus it is a home game. Vandy would be the next in my mind because of their defense and that they are at home. Mizzou and the Gamecocks are both challenged to stop anyone, but they have QB’s that can get HOT, but they also get cold.
Time to go and start getting ready for the Gamecocks.