Austin Translation: Breaking down Tennessee-Cincinnati

Breaking down the personnel for Tennessee and Cincinnati

Quarterbacks

In a few weeks, the pendulum could easily swing the other way as Tyler Bray continues to develop and build on his freshman campaign. But at least for now, Cincinnati senior Zach Collaros might be slightly more dangerous with his ability to both run and hurt defenses through the air down the field.

Edge: Bearcats

Running backs

The battle between UT's Tauren Poole and Cincinnati's Isaiah Pead is another difficult call, with Poole having cut his teeth in the SEC and Pead ranking among the most productive backs in the country in yards per carry. But the Vols might have the deeper stable, especially after a splash debut for freshman Marlin Lane.

Edge: Vols

Receivers/Tight ends

As productive as the Bearcats are on the perimeter with their spread offense, the way Justin Hunter and Da'Rick Rogers are playing is tough for any set of targets to match right now. The sophomores both appear to be more complete receivers than a year ago, and they're a nightmare for a defensive coordinator.

Edge: Vols

Offensive line

Even with their spread offense, the Bearcats still ranked No. 97 in the nation last season by giving up nearly three sacks per game. As much criticism as the Vols took for struggles on the ground against Montana, the protection was generally all Bray could have needed in the pocket.

Edge: Vols

Defensive line

UT's nine-man rotation looked effective in its debut, though nobody was ever able to get home for a sack. The Bearcats were a handful at times a year ago, and they've got a veteran bunch with three seniors and three juniors in the two-deep.

Edge: Bearcats

Linebackers

The young guns didn't have any significant breakdowns, and senior Daryl Vereen was a force in the Nickel package. But the Vols are obviously still dealing with youth, and the Bearcats are anchored defensively with tackle machine JK Schaffer.

Edge: Bearcats

Secondary

In the first look at UT's life after Janzen Jackson, it more than held its own despite the difficulty presented by the spread. Justin Coleman had a freshman moment, but the Vols still have the depth to deal with that offense with its defensive backs in Nickel.

Edge: Vols

Special teams

DJ Woods is a threat to monitor on returns for the Bearcats, but in general their kicking game is mostly average across the board. The Vols still didn't light the world on fire against Montana, though, particularly with its inconsistent punting.

Edge: Even

Coaching

Butch Jones was a big hit at Central Michigan, winning a pair of conference championships in just three seasons. But despite inheriting a program that had been to consecutive BCS games, the Bearcats took a major step back in his first year — but the Vols provide a chance to move his program forward.

Edge: Vols

Intangibles

UT showed a lot of the swagger and chemistry that it developed late last season with Bray at the helm, and it's a fearless bunch that seems to be on the same page. Cincinnati has a chip on its shoulder after falling out of the national picture last season.

Edge: Even

Pick

Tennessee 45, Cincinnati 41

There's no reason to expect a lot of defense at Neyland Stadium, but eventually somebody has to get a couple stops.

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Comments » 9

OrangePride writes:

I predict this might be a little lower scoring than some are predicting..Cinci will be able to score early, but I look for the Vols to adjust and get better as the game progresses. On the other side, I think the Vol offense might become more fomidable as the afternoon progresses. I doubt that Cinci will be able to cover Hunter/Rogers all day and look for someone else to be a surprise receiver and do some damage. Vols 41 Cin 24 GO BIG ORANGE!!

CroKev writes:

I thought Dooley was going to have Fugate carry the ball more this season. Last week it would have been good to slam him into a few of those LB's shooting the gaps in order to soften them up a bit. I did see where he caught a couple of passes though.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

Wha?? huh? Who has the best Cheerleaders?? who has the best band?

SoddyVol writes:

Vols 45-31

xvolx writes:

Just can't agree with you on QB. Collaros is only 6ft. tall. Keep him in the pocket, he can't see over off. linemen. Let him get outside and he hurts you. Bray is the real deal. Haven't seen a cannon like that since Bradshaw. Thirty yards on a string. Not too many def. backs going to be able to stop that.

olecountryboy writes:

Gotta agree about the Cincy's Dlineman, they have experience. BUT, will they be able to get after Bray against a young SEC line? Hope we can run the ball ALL DAY LONG on them. If we can, it will be a bad day for Cincy. Im going 35-21 VOLS

BlueHound writes:

Vols romp as offense hits its stride. Cincy scores very early and then late to make it respectable. Vols 45-21.

woodwr#217203 writes:

Both teams are weakest at DB.

Short catches could include long runs after the catch both ways.

Isaiah Pead is really hard to catch tackle or contain, in the secondary. Poole is good for 3-10 yards, but rarely runs away like Pead does.

Basically UC starters are better, but UT might have the bench.

Win really helps the Bearcats but loss really hurts the Vols. UC goes home to Akron & Miami and has the tough conference teams at the end of the season. UT goes to the toughest schedule stretch and besides Buffalo & Vanderbilt, Cincinnati might be as win-able=good as it gets this year.

Which is better motivation a trophy win or a save our skin non-loss?

tdvol1989 writes:

All the media is saying this one is tough to pick. And, while you could hardly call it that, many have this game on their upset radar.

I, for one, just ain't buying it. I was hard on the Vols for their pathetic run game last week, but probably not as hard as Dooley. However, in the end, moving the chains and scoring while holding the other team from scoring much is just what this game is about. And, our defense is just flat out deeper and little more talented than last year. So, unless we just have one of those games where we turn the ball over 6 times, this is not going to be an upset and it won't be that close.

The Bearcats will move the ball early and they may lead early, but the Vols aren't going down. We will tackle better in space. We will run for over 200 yards. Our defense will generate a couple of big play turnovers. We will win time of possession 35/25.

Vols - 45
Bearcats - 27

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