All season long my grading system has been based on a sliding scale based on quality of competition.
Don't get me wrong, I think the Volunteers are a lot better than most people give them credit, I also think Florida probably won't end up the No. 1 team in the country.
Lane Kiffin had a plan, no he didn't go down to the Swamp with the intentions of not playing to win, as some might lead you to believe, how absurd is that.
Grading the positions isn't as hard this week as it was last week.
Quarterback: Jonathan Crompton didn't turn in a poor performance, but didn't turn in a winning one either. Two interceptions wasn't the real story here, the senior signal caller handcuffed the Vols offense and Kiffin's play calling. Coach Kiffin attempted to manage Crompton better, not putting him into precarious situations.
Running backs: Senior Montario Hardesty continues to have his best season in a Tennessee uniform. He was the work horse Saturday against a good Gator defense. Bryce Brown added some key runs, giving the senior a breather at times. Lack of big plays or explosive break away runs keeps this grade from being higher.
Wide Receivers: This position didn't see much action. This is partly due to Crompton's inability to deliver the ball; it also had to do with the wide receivers inability to get open and sometimes off the line of scrimmage. It also had to do with the conservative game plan. A couple of missed blocks by this unit were also key in the running backs not breaking bigger plays. Don't get me wrong, this group played with good effort, and made some key blocks at times.
Offensive line: This unit has been battling some key injuries but bounced back better Saturday than expected. Their play wasn't bad against the Gators but definitely could have been better. One highlight of this group was the running game. Although not spectacular, it was a workmen's type effort.
Defensive line: This group applied some pressure on Tim Tebow, but overall didn't have their best day against a good Florida offensive line. Chris Walker was hard to block at times, overall more consistency from this group, stopping the run at times was needed.
Linebackers: Stopping the run wasn't the easiest thing to do Saturday. The entire defensive unit turned in a workmen's type effort. Was it a stellar performance, no? Greg King saw some action, and Rico McCoy took a wrong angle on a key third down on a Tebow scramble.
Secondary: Tebow didn't pass much, this group of defenders showed its toughness as a unit, especially when true freshman Janzen Jackson lit up Brandon James in the end zone. That hit a lone was worth a grade bump.
Coaching: Both Kiffins had good game plans. We had listened to everyone in the nation how bad the Vols were going to get beat. Guess what everyone was wrong. Yes a loss is still a loss, but the Gators 23-13 win over Tennessee exposed more about the No. 1 Gators than it did about the Vols.