Good Day, My Friends,
The Sun came up this morning and every other team in the SEC East won big and looked pretty good. Noting that no one other than the Vols played a Top 25 ranked team. Every East QB had “Big” numbers passing.
West Virginia is a good team and their QB has a lot of talent. Their WR’s (16 on the roster) are big and their starters are experienced and each of the starters are coming off good years. This one started well for them. You know you have a problem when your safeties lead the team in tackles as a group. No INT’s and not enough pass breakups from the secondary. The side note was that the Vols also were good on those items.
The Vols kept the game close into the 2nd Half but the WV half adjustments on offense really were good and they blew the game open in the 3rd QTR when we were not able to move the ball consistently. I was surprised at the game’s opening that we came out in a drop back spread formation and passing the first two possessions. The Vols failure to get early first downs enabled WV to play with a short field for most of their scores.
Looking at the offense, it seemed to me that they were “looking at things”. Changing formations and personnel regularly in the first half. I think that contributed to their inconsistency. Later in the game, they were much better, but the few penalties that they had were significant in stopping drives. It is important to note that they did not quit and especially JG continued to play with poise. The WR’s, RB’s were solid and so was JG. No drops that I saw and the WR’s broke tackles. The RB’s and especially Tim Jordan were solid. One thing on Jordan, a lot of RB’s will follow their blockers into the line and get “Plugged Up”, Tim will slide down the line and find an open lane on the side, and he breaks tackles. The OL was not settled as a unit. and the Guards were learning as they went. The successful WV blitz’s up the middle were largely successful due to guards (Ryan Johnson) failures to cover the Centers side. We have two games before the Gators to address that.
One point on WV’s defense. They run a 3 – 3 -3 – 2, when you look it is really a 3 – 6 – 2 as they pull at least 5 or 6 guys on the second line into the box almost every play. That creates problems with the blocking match-ups. There should be open holes for delayed blitzes on pass plays.
On defense, the Vols did well on some things but did not look well in others. As the game progressed, WV was able to hit take off routes when we were in man coverage. In their adjustments, they went to formation to get their WR’s in single coverage. There were missed assignments on coverage when a LB or Safety/Nickle did not pick up a guy in the flat. I did not see the LB’s as a factor in the rush or pass coverage. We should note that in Bama’s 3 – 4 that their LB’s make huge plays on passes over the middle on crossing routes, ours did not drop back into those zones. In the 3 – 4 the LB’s are the sackers or a safety. Ours did not get there. Both Alontae Taylor and Flowers played well. Thompson also showed well. Tuttle played well. Where was the pass rush from Darryl Taylor and Kongbo the OLB’s? Kirkland had the best game of the 4 LB positions.
This was a good game for the Vols going into two home games with weaker teams the next two weeks. Good film against a good team. Things to work on to get better and I think this team and their coaches will do that. I think the lineup for the Florida game will be much more settled and probably with some different players added to the starting lineup and the rotation mix. I also think that we will see a different offensive formation and play mix for Florida. I think that the OL will be more settled and gamer ready.
Time to go, the Glass is Half Full!! Bring on ETSU!!