UT's end-of-season report card

Quarterbacks

Tyler Bray picked up where he left off as a freshman, debuting early as a sophomore with eye-popping statistics and a couple more wins. But he had a rough time with Florida and Georgia before breaking his thumb in a loss to the Bulldogs, and neither Matt Simms nor Justin Worley were able to right the ship under center.

Grade: C+

Running backs

Tauren Poole had high hopes for his last season with the Vols, but the senior wasn't able to accomplish many personal or team goals while rushing for 693 yards and struggling to find much rhythm. Marlin Lane flashed his potential as a freshman and found the end zone four times, but nagging injuries slowed him down late in the year.

Grade: C

Wide receivers/Tight ends

The passing game appeared ready to rewrite the record books with Justin Hunter and Da'Rick Rogers exploding early in the season, but Hunter's torn knee ligaments in the third game derailed those plans. Rogers still was productive, but UT didn't have enough depth on the perimeter to thrive when tight end Mychal Rivera had to help as a blocker.

Grade: B-

Offensive line

The young group was expected to make strides heading into a second season with mostly the same personnel, and in terms of protecting the passer, the line did that. But the Vols had problems getting push in the ground game, James Stone had snapping issues that forced a change and it became clear another year of growth was needed.

Grade: C+

Defensive line

Among the biggest questions rolling into training camp, by the end of the season Malik Jackson and his buddies had developed into one of the strengths of the team. Jackson in particular was a load late in his senior campaign, and Maurice Couch recovered from a sluggish start to show signs of his potential on the inside at tackle moving forward.

Grade: B

Linebackers

Midway through training camp the Vols turned over a pair of starting spots to true freshmen, and they didn't disappoint. Flanked on either side of senior Austin Johnson, who emerged as a big-time contributor as well, A.J. Johnson and Curt Maggitt lived up to the hype with 136 tackles combined to build even higher expectations for them.

Grade: B+

Secondary

The Vols dismissed one starting safety during training camp and later lost the other to a knee injury, which cut down the options for what looked like the deepest talent pool on defense. Prentiss Waggner was the most consistent option despite having to shuttle between cornerback and safety, and the junior will be an important leader next season.

Grade: C

Special teams

Aside from one meltdown against Arkansas, the coverage units appeared much more sound in the second season under Derek Dooley. But the punting was hardly reliable, Devrin Young wasn't able to build on an electric start in the return game and kicking field goals wasn't one of the highlights for the Vols during Michael Palardy's sophomore year.

Grade: D+

Coaching

Dooley regularly proved that he had no fear of rolling the dice on fourth downs, either going for it outright or faking a kick, though the Vols failed to capitalize in some critical situations. Dooley's decision to take a redshirt off Justin Worley in the middle of the season and start him without throwing a pass didn't work out all that well, either.

Grade: C

Overall

Had the Vols avoided an upset at Kentucky, the chemistry problems the roster seemed to have might never have come to light. But after missing a bowl and seeing a 26-game winning streak over the Wildcats disappear, there was finger-pointing seemingly between the veterans and the younger players that showed some dysfunction.

Grade: C-

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Comments » 48

volsreign writes:

I know a student at UT who is friends with several of the underclassmen football players. He told me before the Vandy game that some of the younger players were saying that they didn't want to win because they didn't want to have to give up their Christmas break in order to get up early every day and practice for a month for a "crappy" bowl game. I didn't really believe him but between the Vandy and KY games he said they were saying the same thing. It's obvious after the Ky game that they were serious. I can't imagine a young SEC football player not wanting to go to a bowl game because they didn't want to practice. The rumor is that Tyler Bray and DaRick Rogers are causing a lot of dissention with diva-like behavior. It says a lot about this team and the future. It doesn't look pretty.

tenacjim#211887 writes:

and I used to think 8-3 or 7-4 were bad seasons. Welcome to the "new normal".

NGage writes:

Wow.....you guys continue to grade on one very generous curve.

Seriously, if this is how you are going to grade....what's the point? (and it's been consistently lenient all season)

graphpro#231211 writes:

If you looked at the grades and didn't see the season, you'd think we were 8 and 4. Not realistic grades for the season IMO.

oldster writes:

The grades for the o line and running backs were far, far too generous. I realize that the line did a decent job pass blocking, but decent is a C. Their grade for run blocking is an F. If you average those, you get a D. However, if you give them a number grade, I would say an 80 for pass blocking and a 50 for run blocking which averages out to 65 or an F letter grade. Let's fact it. They stank and the smell is not likely to improve for at least two years as it will be the same guys or guys who were not good enough to beat them out this year. The running backs were no better than a D. I would separate the special teams as kickers and everybody else. Everybody else deserved a C (unless you factor in how stupid they were on that Adams return). The kickers deserve an F. In fact, Palardy and Darr both should not ever be allowed in a football statdium again without a ticket.

oldster writes:

in response to volsreign:

I know a student at UT who is friends with several of the underclassmen football players. He told me before the Vandy game that some of the younger players were saying that they didn't want to win because they didn't want to have to give up their Christmas break in order to get up early every day and practice for a month for a "crappy" bowl game. I didn't really believe him but between the Vandy and KY games he said they were saying the same thing. It's obvious after the Ky game that they were serious. I can't imagine a young SEC football player not wanting to go to a bowl game because they didn't want to practice. The rumor is that Tyler Bray and DaRick Rogers are causing a lot of dissention with diva-like behavior. It says a lot about this team and the future. It doesn't look pretty.

Were I the coach, I would identify the players who said and/or felt this way and make sure they never have to practice again. I would boot them so fast that their eyes would water.

Prostar writes:

in response to volsreign:

I know a student at UT who is friends with several of the underclassmen football players. He told me before the Vandy game that some of the younger players were saying that they didn't want to win because they didn't want to have to give up their Christmas break in order to get up early every day and practice for a month for a "crappy" bowl game. I didn't really believe him but between the Vandy and KY games he said they were saying the same thing. It's obvious after the Ky game that they were serious. I can't imagine a young SEC football player not wanting to go to a bowl game because they didn't want to practice. The rumor is that Tyler Bray and DaRick Rogers are causing a lot of dissention with diva-like behavior. It says a lot about this team and the future. It doesn't look pretty.

If they didn't want to go to a "crappy" bowl it's just as well, I didn't want to see their "crapy" effort anyway.

rich182x writes:

Z-!!

rich182x writes:

I am very glad I was deployed for this whole season... :(

Vols4Ever writes:

Charlie Baggett is an experienced coach both in the NFL and NCAA. He also had to "coach" Randy Moss.

Pure supposition, but if one has experienced such a head case and cancer to a football team as Mr. Moss, I also would quit if faced with potentially another in Mr. Rodgers.

olecountryboy writes:

in response to rich182x:

I am very glad I was deployed for this whole season... :(

Rich, appreciate what you guys do for us. Wish I had my head in the sand as well for this season. It was UGLY. And the report card is WAY OFF. We need to make some changes. Rb coach, and a new OC, move chaney to Oline and we should be fine after that.

woodcutter writes:

I think the final grades will come with the next recruiting class. A great class and the grade is a "B". Another crappy class and the grade is an "F" and the coach is gone.

jobrando#216494 writes:

How can a team be average with a 1-7 in SEC play. This article is hilarious.

BustaRhymes writes:

Nobody cares about your grades - other than their humor value - you have lost your credibility.

olecountryboy writes:

in response to thicknthinvol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Why would he want to come to TN, out of those list of schools? Playing time? Maybe....

Go4Two writes:

in response to olecountryboy:

Why would he want to come to TN, out of those list of schools? Playing time? Maybe....

got to have lineman if you are going to play with the big boys. SEE LSU

D60 writes:

C- my big ole hairy butt,we are light years from LSU,ALA

kjvols writes:

OMG. Really......

cyclonevol87 writes:

in response to D60:

C- my big ole hairy butt,we are light years from LSU,ALA

Theirs not a team in the east that is close to Alabama or LSU.

jobrando#216494 writes:

in response to cyclonevol87:

Theirs not a team in the east that is close to Alabama or LSU.

I'm to old to see another season even close to 2006-07. Maybe win 2 SEC next year and 4 or 5 in 2013 I hope.

oldster writes:

The other day I heard Tony Barnhart when talking about Ole Miss say that they needed a "system" coach (one that does not run a standard, pro offense) because they cannot compete in recruiting with AL, LSU, and FL. I believe that UT needs to find a similar coach (at least O coordinator) for the same reason plus one other: the O line we now have and are likely to have for the next two years cannot and/or will not run block. Therefore, forget running and pass, pass, pass.

DenverVol writes:

in response to volsreign:

I know a student at UT who is friends with several of the underclassmen football players. He told me before the Vandy game that some of the younger players were saying that they didn't want to win because they didn't want to have to give up their Christmas break in order to get up early every day and practice for a month for a "crappy" bowl game. I didn't really believe him but between the Vandy and KY games he said they were saying the same thing. It's obvious after the Ky game that they were serious. I can't imagine a young SEC football player not wanting to go to a bowl game because they didn't want to practice. The rumor is that Tyler Bray and DaRick Rogers are causing a lot of dissention with diva-like behavior. It says a lot about this team and the future. It doesn't look pretty.

Hearsay. While we're spreading rumors, I read where Bray definitely had no part of those dissension conversations per his Dad. Rumors are easy to spread my friend.

Bottom line, if we all believe there wasn't going to be some dysfunction on this team we are all very delusional. Dooley had players recruited by 3 different coaches. Come on! I'm sure that had to be a nightmare to deal with. Did he do a job of coaching em up that we all expected? Definitely not but I firmly believe he put his all into it as did his assistants.

If they don't make significant improvements next year THEN I think we park the moving truck outside his house. Until then, let's try not to float anymore rumors around about something that's in the past. GO VOLS! Definitely looking forward to 2012!

asleep#212036 writes:

in response to oldster:

The other day I heard Tony Barnhart when talking about Ole Miss say that they needed a "system" coach (one that does not run a standard, pro offense) because they cannot compete in recruiting with AL, LSU, and FL. I believe that UT needs to find a similar coach (at least O coordinator) for the same reason plus one other: the O line we now have and are likely to have for the next two years cannot and/or will not run block. Therefore, forget running and pass, pass, pass.

No team has ever won in the SEC without a running game, we would not be the first. A "system" OC could only win if his system included a good running game, like Malzahn at Auburn. Chaney and others of his ilk will never, I mean never, win in this conference because they do not understand and therefore will not commit to a power running game. If Chaney stays, Dooley will be gone after next season. Go Vols!!!

bikervol writes:

I think a qb who is mobile would be a good find for the vols-the pro style is great if you can run it but a qb who can scramble takes pressure off of the rbs and the ol and gives the team a whole new dimension-and we definitely need another dimension cause a team that can't run against MTSU has a lot of problems-major problems-I give Dooley one more year maybe and then again after what I saw this year maybe not-5 mil this year, 4 mil next year, can they afford to lose more revenue than they'll have to pay him? lose next year and it's hard to tell how many fans, and how much revenue, you'll lose-this team generates about 40 mil in profit a year-how much do they want to lose of that? I don't think this experiment will last much longer for the sake of money potentially lost.

oldster writes:

in response to asleep#212036:

No team has ever won in the SEC without a running game, we would not be the first. A "system" OC could only win if his system included a good running game, like Malzahn at Auburn. Chaney and others of his ilk will never, I mean never, win in this conference because they do not understand and therefore will not commit to a power running game. If Chaney stays, Dooley will be gone after next season. Go Vols!!!

Oh ye, of short memory! Do you not recall that when Urban Meyer was hired at FL that it was the unanimous opinion of the experts that the spread would never work in the SEC? I do. Those people were wrong then and you are wrong now. There is absolutely no reason why a pass first team cannot win anywhere. Finesse football is like judo. It can defeat power. It all depends upon execution. Besides that, UT has no choice. We will not have a running game as long as we have the current offensive linemen and we are not going to be able to replace all of them for at least two years. Do you want two more years of 5-7?

tlc3wp#268997 writes:

in response to DenverVol:

Hearsay. While we're spreading rumors, I read where Bray definitely had no part of those dissension conversations per his Dad. Rumors are easy to spread my friend.

Bottom line, if we all believe there wasn't going to be some dysfunction on this team we are all very delusional. Dooley had players recruited by 3 different coaches. Come on! I'm sure that had to be a nightmare to deal with. Did he do a job of coaching em up that we all expected? Definitely not but I firmly believe he put his all into it as did his assistants.

If they don't make significant improvements next year THEN I think we park the moving truck outside his house. Until then, let's try not to float anymore rumors around about something that's in the past. GO VOLS! Definitely looking forward to 2012!

Was listening to Jimmy Hyamms this week. This guys favorite words are I don't know or I will find out. He is not one for throwing out critical words about anyone. but he said Bray did say this and that Mr. Rogers should be taken to Calhoun Georgia and left there.

lahvolman2 writes:

Talked to a Calhoun High football coach in the clubhouse at Fields Ferry yesterday... he says the were thrilled to see Da'Rick go and that Baggett told Dooley that it was either Rogers or him... guess Dooley chose Rogers...

DroopyDrawers writes:

Two liberal on qb, offensive line, & wide receivers. Neither of the Rogers D'Rick or Zack can catch a cold.

QB shuold be at least a D.

DroopyDrawers writes:

When I was in school, back in the 60's, if Rogers and Bray are acting like some say they are, a 300 lb lineman would make them a man quick. And yes, I went to UT on an athletic ride.

CRFVols writes:

Just the same as all year....the grading is a joke. No way this team deserves a C-.

hallsvoter writes:

Does the kns pay you people to write these silly grades? Good lord you don't have a clue........ the only reason I read these grades is to see how goofy they are.

volfan7 writes:

Anyone see the LSU-Georgia game last night. The defense, with John Chavis as coordinator, dominated throughout. If Fulmer had not been let go, we would have Chavis still, and we would have finished a lot better than 5-7. Who knows, maybe 10-2.

When a system is running reasonably well, one does not throw out the system in favor of a young coach with a famous name. Tennessee deserves everything it got this year, and it is all due to the whims of a fickle fan base that thinks it knows everything, but in fact knows nothing at all.

HallowedHill writes:

in response to volfan7:

Anyone see the LSU-Georgia game last night. The defense, with John Chavis as coordinator, dominated throughout. If Fulmer had not been let go, we would have Chavis still, and we would have finished a lot better than 5-7. Who knows, maybe 10-2.

When a system is running reasonably well, one does not throw out the system in favor of a young coach with a famous name. Tennessee deserves everything it got this year, and it is all due to the whims of a fickle fan base that thinks it knows everything, but in fact knows nothing at all.

Some good and not so good points.
First, the not so good points...
Fulmer had no problem finishing 5-6 and 5-7 in 2005 and 2008. Chief was my favorite of all former UT coaches, but both he and Fulmer seemed to suffer from an inability to keep good position coaches. How many 3rd and longs were completed on our historic defenses? In hindsight, Fulmer could have coached as long as he wanted, if he had been able to select quality position coaches, and a good OC.

For all the fans screaming for change, change is what started this mess. Recruiting well is essential for us to restore the losses due to attrition. Dooley seems to be doing that. Yes, 5-7 hurts, but with having the 2nd youngest team in FBS and playing the 2nd toughest schedule, was there ever a chance it would have been much different?
Look at Georgia - they won our division, and LSU buried another bulldog in Atlanta last night. They looked silly against LSU in the 2nd half ... AND THEY WON OUR DIVISION. UGA fans should have a lot more to be upset about because they are at full strength. We are rebuilding and have the same expectations?! I'm sorry, but to expect different doesn't make any friggin' sense.

Looking at the schedule for next year, we need to win 9, and in 2013 we need to be at 10+ wins. If we're not there, then I'll be ready to revisit whether this program is headed in the right direction.

GO VOLS!

TKO writes:

in response to volfan7:

Anyone see the LSU-Georgia game last night. The defense, with John Chavis as coordinator, dominated throughout. If Fulmer had not been let go, we would have Chavis still, and we would have finished a lot better than 5-7. Who knows, maybe 10-2.

When a system is running reasonably well, one does not throw out the system in favor of a young coach with a famous name. Tennessee deserves everything it got this year, and it is all due to the whims of a fickle fan base that thinks it knows everything, but in fact knows nothing at all.

Exactly, and your post name is.....

BigHeadWop writes:

If this season gets a C then I would hate to see what an F season looked like. I wonder if he will move the practices back to the afternoon from the early morning? That little experiment didn't seem to work!

HtownVol writes:

Jim Chaney was so bad he cant even be graded.

With Bray UT was a clear passing team but Chaney never sayw that.

The worst was every UT fan knew that UT did not have a Center capable of snapping the ball 5 yards, JC never got that.

If Chaney would have known that perhaps he would never have called a WildCat play inside the 10 at UK and UT may still have a game to play.

Get rid of Chaney, at minimum.

VOL1972 writes:

in response to tenacjim#211887:

and I used to think 8-3 or 7-4 were bad seasons. Welcome to the "new normal".

You may be the only person on this site that gets it. Football in the SEC is brutal. If you can finish the year in the middle of the SEC pack, you will be ranked in the top 25. When that's what Fulmer was doing nobody was happy with that. Now what we wouldn't give to get back there.

SummerfieldVol writes:

in response to oldster:

Were I the coach, I would identify the players who said and/or felt this way and make sure they never have to practice again. I would boot them so fast that their eyes would water.

I also would kick the players off that said they did not want to go to a bowl game. That shows just how selfish they are, it all about me and not the team or the fans. I don't care who they were they would be off the team like right now.If Dooley let stuff like this to go on his football team he not much for discipline. You have to have discipline or you can not have control. example if Darick Roger did cuss or show disrespect to Coach Baggett he would be on his way back to Georgia. I don't care who the player is he will show respect to the coaches at all times.

Clever_Vol writes:

The grades out of this newspaper are a complete joke.

Frankly the UT football program is a complete joke.

If 1 win in the SEC gets you a C, then what does it take to get an F? Finishing last in the East, isn't that an F? The only phase of the game that ever showed anything above a C was probably the defensive line.

Coaching staff? How can a staff who says their own team stinks, be graded anything above an F?

Until someone in Knoxville gets real, we're going to continue to be an embarrassment.

Dooley has a losing record at La Tech and we expect him to be capable of a winning record in the toughest conference in the country? Please.

What a joke and an embarrassment.

JimmyJoe writes:

in response to tenacjim#211887:

and I used to think 8-3 or 7-4 were bad seasons. Welcome to the "new normal".

Yeah and you get a C- for going 5-7....

VolFanMemphisGrad writes:

Offense...F...across the board...
Defense...B (1st and 2nd Quarters) D (3rd and 4th quarters)..no adjustments..
Special Teams F..
Coaching...F..
Overall...F

JimmyJoe writes:

in response to VolFanMemphisGrad:

Offense...F...across the board...
Defense...B (1st and 2nd Quarters) D (3rd and 4th quarters)..no adjustments..
Special Teams F..
Coaching...F..
Overall...F

Your on the nose... When I was a student on the hill my profs just gave me a "F" for failing.... Or if I didn't complete the assigned task... Looks like you are about right on the Defense...everybody else deserves exactly what they earned... F ... O except a totally inept special teams unit.... Which couldn't seem to do anything. I guess they get an incomplete or something. My daughter kicked a longer kick as a12 year old in a punt, pass, and kick contest than Palardy regularly does on kickoffs.... And she came in third that night!

JimmyJoe writes:

Chavis is a good coach when he has the best talent in the country.... He had it for a long time here... But the last few years or so at UT..he did not have great talent...good but not great...that was the downfall of the final fulmer years... We were not able to get the material we needed... As for the future...who are you gonna get to come to UT when you are getting beat by Kentucky?

yankintenn#395643 writes:

Haha....politically correct grading....we are really proud of all u little Vols and let's head to McDonalds and get our trophy....this season was a frigging F. The only worst football season in America belonged to Penn State

Volunteer-Varmint writes:

OH MY GOSH!!!!!!!!!!!

I want these professors as mine for EVERY class till graduation.

Could you imagine how easy it would be to graduate?

These guys / gals apparently have NO CLUE, what it takes for a passing grade in the sport of football.

Fire the hole bunch, RIGHT NOW!!!

Weatherman writes:

Get new kickers and get some JUCO guys to help both lines and our grades might get better real quick. One can only hope...

volinJC writes:

in response to VolFanMemphisGrad:

Offense...F...across the board...
Defense...B (1st and 2nd Quarters) D (3rd and 4th quarters)..no adjustments..
Special Teams F..
Coaching...F..
Overall...F

Sounds about right. 1-7 in any conference is an F no matter what the circumatances are....

brokendownoldvol writes:

What's wrong with you people? F's across the board, esp. coaching.

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