UT's O Offensive

We're here to grade the Volunteers, not to bury them. The Razorbacks have already buried them far beyond our poor power to add or detract. We address all the issues in this week's Tennessee report card.

Here's the top to bottom offensive ratings for the Tennessee-Arkansas game. Grades of 90-100 are regarded as championship quality. Grades of 80-89 equate to top 25 worthy, grades of 70-79 are winning marks. Grades of 60-69 are passing but problematical and won't be good enough to defeat a quality opponent. Any grade below 60 is considered failing. Special teams are included among defensive ratings but they aren't factored into the defense's total score. An opponent degree of difficulty (between 1 and 10) has been added to the formula.

DEGREE OF DIFFICULTY (8.5)

QUARTERBACK (84) If there was a more productive player for UT's offense against Arkansas than Jonathan Crompton, the floor is now open for nominations. (But if you say Anthony Parker consider yourself dismissed.) Crompton accounted for 174 of UT's 266 yards and both touchdowns. He was sacked four times but only lost five yards because he ran twice for 12 yards. He threw an interception with an Arkansas defender draped over him and was flagged for intentional grounding. He did miss some open receivers but some of his worst looking passes were simply throwaways. He also had several passes dropped.

RUNNING BACKS (76) Montario Hardesty and LaMarcus Coker gave UT quality carries when there was room to run. Coker got outside the tackle a couple of times although he didn't appear completely recovered from a ligament tear. Still he gave UT a boost with 51 yards in nine carries for an average of 5.7 yards. Hardesty had 52 yards in 12 carries for an average of 4.3 yards. Both backs were banged up while Arian Foster served a first half suspension. He ran one time for one yard.

RECEIVERS (70) Receivers get a passing grade for catching a couple of touchdowns. Bret Smith had a nice 39-yard catch and run, breaking a couple of tackles to reach the end zone. Brad Cottam made two catches for 19 yards in an expanded tight end role. However he did drop a pass. UT's wideouts weren't effective getting off the line of scrimmage or separating from man coverage.

OFFENSIVE LINE (53) If any of Tennessee's offensive players are to get called out for Saturday's lackluster showing there are several good choices among this group. There was modest improvement in the running game, but pass blocking has regressed dramatically. Make no mistake, Arkansas has good D-linemen but UT made them look All-World. Oddly enough, the Vols O-linemen were more highly rated coming out of high school than their Saturday counterparts. There's a problem here either with evaluation, or development, or both. The most pressing issue is: how can a group block this poorly (10th in the SEC in rushing) without changes being made to the lineup?

OVERALL (66) Tennessee's offense is designed to be balanced with a power running game and a vertical passing game creating natural seams in the defense that can be exploited. The Vols can be one dimensional and beat some opponents. Arkansas isn't one of them. Neither were Florida or LSU. UT did improve its time of possession (28:05 to Arkansas' 31:55). Last week the defense's problems against LSU were blamed on the failure of the offense to control the football.


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