InsideTennessee: Grading the Vols

Handing grades out on a weekly basis isn't as easy as one might think. Grading Tennessee's first game was an easy task, not the same can be said for the Vols game against UCLA. Not the case for this past weeks game for the Volunteers. Go "Inside" for our thoughts on Tennessee's performance.

Now I understand why I didn't become a school teacher.

Handing grades out on a weekly basis isn't as easy as one might think. Grading Tennessee's first game was an easy task, not the same can be said for the Vols game against UCLA.

Week one was easy to grade, week two is going to be a tough task, especially since this guy giving out the grades has a lot of respect for the team he's grading.

The offense never got out of the starting blocks against UCLA for multiple reasons. You can't lay all the blame on one person or one position, but some had more responsibility for the problems than others.

Quarterback:

Not being here last year this was my first chance to see Jonathan Crompton crumble under pressure. His lack of confidence worsened after each interception and bottomed out towards the end of the game, making his comeback attempt an impossible task.

Your quarterback has to put the burden of responsibility on their shoulders, realize their mistakes and try to learn from them. He was 13-26-3 for 93 yards and three interceptions. A great leader takes the blame for his poor play, Crompton did not.

GRADE: D

Running backs:

This group gets an A for effort, but effort isn't the only grading criteria. Montario Hardesty ran hard, so did Bryce Brown. This group broke several big runs and big plays last week, not so many this week.

GRADE: B

Offensive Line:

After a great performance last week, the lack of depth reared its ugly head against UCLA. Cody Sullins, a walk-on center didn't have his best day against one of the top nose guards in the country. The Bruins defensive line got a lot of penetration against the Vols offensive line. Vlad Richard was injured and probably shouldn't have seen much action. To run the ball as much as they did, has to give this unit a little extra credit.

GRADE: C-

Defensively was a better story line for the Volunteers. Despite being on the field for the bigger part of the third quarter, Monte Kiffin's defense still came up with several key stops.

Defensive Line:

You can tell that his group was motivated to play. They play like they practice, at least Willie Bohannon does. He went for a sack of the quarterback and came away with a sack fumble. According to Bohannon, this is something the defensive line drills everyday. Several hurries and a lot of pressure will grade out well for this group. In a loss your never as good as you could have been, that's why the grade is lower than it probably should be.

GRADE: B+

Linebackers: I was truly impressed with the play of Nick Reveiz. He was all over the field. He is also the defensive quarterback on the field. He plays with a lot of confidence and makes great decisions. Rico McCoy was also around the ball, but not as active as last week.

GRADE: B

Secondary:

The play was good, but with a truly rookie Jansen Jackson at Free safety, he turned in some freshmen mistakes and some missed tackles. Eric Berry led the team with tackles and delivered some big hits. Overall play wasn't bad and it was Dennis Rogan that pulled off the safety at the end of the game.

GRADE B+

Coaching: Well this is where it gets confusing. Lane Kiffin showed loyalty to his quarterback, but did he show too much. It's our opinion that Crompton should have been pulled after the third interception to start the third quarter.

Kiffin relied on the running game, his play calling wasn't as good as the first game, but this was due to the lack of production from the passing game. Could the outside running attack been used more, probably.

We have two sides of the ball to grade and we get to put the two scores together, thank goodness.

The defensive side of the ball held a Norm Chow offensive attack to less than 200 yards, not too shabby. One area of needed improvement is recovering more of the six fumbles that UCLA put on the turf. We only came up with one.

GRADE C+


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