Final grades in for the Vols

The grades are in, and veteran sportswriter Dave Hooker presents a mixed bag of marks. Go "Inside" to see what Professor Hooker had to say about how the Vols performed on both sides of the ball Saturday against Oregon.

Tennessee fought the good fight for 27 minutes. Then, reality set in.

Still, there were some bright spots in the Vols' 48-13 loss to Oregon. Here are a few:

D Quarterback

Matt Simms' lack of consistent accuracy showed again. And there was no excuse for his interception return for a touchdown.

It looks like Simms is also staring down his receivers, even if he and UT's coaches say it's part of the Vols' offensive game plan to look only to one side of the field.

B Running Backs

Tauren Poole, who had 23 carries for 162 yards and a touchdown, is the highlight of the team so far. He may not be the most talented tailback in the league, but he will prove to be one of the most productive.

David Oku has to do more with seven carries than only producing eight yards.

C Offensive Line

This much we know about UT's offensive line: They can run block. Pass blocking, however, is still a concern.

Back-up center Darren Gooch was mostly effective when starter Cody Pope went out. Freshman right tackle Ja'Wuan James continues to improve and figures to be a special player one day. The Vols averaged 5.1 yards per rush, but gave up two sacks. Pass pressure contributed to Simms' pick six.

C+ Receivers

UT's receivers made a play in the running game via Da' Rick Rogers' 21-yard run on an end-around. Justin Hunter and Zach Rogers also made some plays down field. Denarius Moore caught four passes but wasn't very explosive, managing just 37 yards.

D Defensive Line

The Vols gave up 245 yards rushing, often after missed tackles. Corey Miller is a young, bright spot, but the Vols are still soft at defensive tackle. End Chris Walker had eight tackles. End/tackle Gerald Williams had seven tackles, one for a loss. End Jacques Smith had a tackle for a loss.

D Linebackers

May I repeat: The Vols gave up 245 yards rushing, often after missed tackles. Middle linebacker Nick Reveiz had 10 tackles, one for a loss. Herman Lathers had six tackles, backup Austin Johnson had four, while Daryl Vereen had three tackles and two quarterback hurries. Vereen, UT's most athletic linebacker, needs to play more.

C Secondary

The Vols only gave up 202 yards passing, but Janzen Jackson and Art Evans need to improve. Jackson is going too low on tackles and Evans is iffy in run support and dropped an interception. Prentiss Waggner may be UT's best defensive back.

D Special Teams

The Vols can't give up a touchdown and expect to win this season. Daniel Lincoln hit both of his field goals from 48 and 35 yards. Will UT ever kick a touchback? I doubt it. Evans forced a fumble on a kickoff return that sparked the Vols.

A/D Coaching

It was a tale of two halves, almost. UT's coaches put themselves in position to win for the first 27 minutes, then fell apart for the final 33. UT's coaches will have to makes sure their players handle adversity better than what they did against Oregon.

The good news? Head Coach Derek Dooley says they'll have plenty of chances to prove their resiliency.

D- – Overall

Give the Vols credit for playing well early and a solid offensive gameplan, but throwing in the towel with more than a quarter left in the game isn't acceptable.


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