Tennessee-Kentucky report card

MICHAEL PATRICK/NEWS SENTINEL

Photo by Michael Patrick, copyright © 2012

MICHAEL PATRICK/NEWS SENTINEL

ADAM BRIMER/NEWS SENTINEL
Tennessee defensive lineman Jordan Williams (54) celebrates after stopping a Kentucky drive at Neyland Stadium on Saturday.

Photo by Adam Brimer, Knoxville News Sentinel

ADAM BRIMER/NEWS SENTINEL Tennessee defensive lineman Jordan Williams (54) celebrates after stopping a Kentucky drive at Neyland Stadium on Saturday.

Quarterbacks B

A week after one of the worst games of his career, Tyler Bray bounced back with a solid performance against Kentucky. He missed on a few home-run plays, but he didn't throw any interceptions. He directed the offense against an overmatched opponent with efficiency. If this is the final game of his Tennessee career, he went out in solid fashion.

Running backs B

A more robust running attack early in the game could have given the Vols more options on offense and pushed them over 500 yards, their normal benchmark. As is customary, Marlin Lane and Rajion Neal split carries, combining for 19 carries and 128 yards, including a 45-yarder by Lane.

Wide receivers/tight ends B

The most sobering goodbye of Senior Day was for seniors Mychal Rivera and Zach Rogers and juniors Justin Hunter and Cordarrelle Patterson, who are likely to depart for the NFL draft. It could be decades before Tennessee assembles a group of pass-catchers this good.

Offensive line B

The line turned in a typically workmanlike performance, although Antonio "Tiny" Richardson had a costly (at the time) holding penalty that brought back a touchdown and Bray was under sporadic but hardly intense pressure.

Defensive line C+

The hole opened up for a second-quarter 45-yard touchdown run up the gut by UK running back Jonathan George was wider than the Vols' pregame Power T, but the line tightened up in the second half. Nose guard Daniel McCullers registered a sack.

Linebackers B

Of numerous missed tackles by the UT defense, a missed sack attempt by Jordan Williams was the worst. And that's saying something. He redeemed himself two plays later, though, on a 2-yard tackle for a loss on fourth down and added two more backfield tackles and a sack. A.J. Johnson notched 14 tackles and his first career sack, while Jacques Smith notched the unit's third sack.

Secondary C+

Two-hundred and forty-five yards passing allowed is scarce compared to recent games, but UK still completed 30 passes. There was one dropped interception and Prentiss Waggner was whistled for defensive holding on an uncatchable ball early in the second half on fourth-and-11. It kept the Cats' drive alive and led to a field goal.

Special teams B

Kicker Michael Palarady made his lone field-goal attempt, but had one extra point blocked. The UT return game was quiet, as was UK's.

Coaching A

Jim Chaney did a nice job of keeping the atmosphere loose this week. With lame-duck coaching staffs on both sides, he told his team to treat the game as a "pure" matchup of "players versus players." There were plenty of smiles after the game, something that's been rare this year.

Overall B

It wasn't an overly impressive win, but it sure beats the alternative. Tennessee avoided the historic ignominy of finishing the season winless in the SEC while giving a nice send-off to seniors who have weathered one of the most tumultuous eras in Vols football.

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Comments » 56

CantStandCantStandSaban writes:

Good to end the season on a positive note. It's going to be a long off season...again.

volbob writes:

Happy for a win. Simply unbelievable that the offense improved so much over last year, while the defense was a joke all year...including today. Maybe the "right" coach, if hired quickly, can keep the offensive unit together. If not, the newbie starts on the hot seat and it won't get better for years. Something to watch over the next 9 months. GBO

KFDLaw writes:

Hopefully Bray and Patterson will stick round for another year. If UT hires someone like Gruden, the offense may improve and the defense will either learn how to play or be booted and replaced. Gruden has a reputation for telling NFL players who were mediocre to hit the road. Gruden is still a long shot. Please just don't hire someone else from the MAC.

scvolfan13 writes:

Who's going to draft Justin Hunter? He can't catch.

BigOrangeDan writes:

When it comes to Patterson, to play in the NCAA you have to attend class.

He was a pleasure to watch on the field but he will not be back.

UTKin1992 writes:

On a different, and positive, note...I thought Chaney handled the coaching duties very well. He's no Neyland but he led the team "loosely" as he article says and seemed to make the most out of a bad situation. Seeing Bray and Patterson dump Gatorade on him really showed who the offensive players had connections with.

runninbroke writes:

in response to scvolfan13:

Who's going to draft Justin Hunter? He can't catch.

While I won't be that cruel, lol, I think Hunter could use another year in college ball as well. He's too inconsistent right now.

thevoice writes:

Nice to finally see and "A" in coaching. Congrats seniors!

allvol8 writes:

Where is Smokey's grade? He went after the kicker!;}

anythinGOrange writes:

Patterson's gone. Sure, he has some trouble reading coverages and running routes, but every team in the league would draft a person of his size and "uncoachable" characteristics.

Hunter, too, is gone. He's had trouble with occasional drops throughout his career, but he too has "uncoachable" talents. Plus, he's got mouths to feed.

Bray is hard to read. Another year would help his wallet, but with the immaturity he's shown throughout the season, I wouldn't be surprised if he declared to forego his senior season.

oldster writes:

in response to scvolfan13:

Who's going to draft Justin Hunter? He can't catch.

Hunter can, too, catch. Well, as long as the pass is not on third down, he can catch. Those pesky pressure catches are just too much for him.

oldster writes:

in response to allvol8:

Where is Smokey's grade? He went after the kicker!;}

Smokey gets an "F" for going after the wrong kicker. He should have taken out Palardy. The long snapper's butt could have used the rest from being a bull's eye.

Rock85 writes:

Its TIME ... Its Time for TENNESSEE to PROVE it as dedicated to win as the TENNESSEE NATION.When you needed more money. WE GAVE..When you asked the Students to pay.. THEY DID.. When you asked us to give Dooley a Chance.. WE DID.. THE TENNESSEE NATION HAS GAVE ALL FOR TENNESSEE..NOW GIVE US GRUDEN!!!!

govols0463 writes:

I don't care about the report card, I feel like we went undefeated knowing that dumb*ss will not be back on the sidelines next year. Every name people throw out sounds good to me, based on what we've had. I don't care if it's Stoops, Fisher, the coach at Middle TN Christian, Quarles at Maryville, Perry at Mt Juliet or the head coach for the Pee Wee Una Bears, it's gotta' be better than that idiot we've had. I'm officially moving on after today. I give today's game an A+ across the board, just because it's a new day! Finally! I instantly felt better about Tennessee football the day he was canned, and now this nightmare is over. I'm ready to start over...can't wait.

snafu14u#241639 writes:

What was the attendance for today's game? BonzaiVol

keepitreal4vols writes:

Special Teams B??? Palardy missed an xp AND kicked 1 out of bounds. That alone should be an F.

govols0463 writes:

Box score has 81,841. I'd say divide that by 2.

govols0463 writes:

in response to keepitreal4vols:

Special Teams B??? Palardy missed an xp AND kicked 1 out of bounds. That alone should be an F.

When will this kid ever graduate? Every high school team remaining in the state playoffs has a kicker as good, or much better, than this kid.

tmcretired writes:

I am happy for the seniors I wish them all luck in the future and thank them for hanging in all those years. I am staying positive today and hoping for a great head coach for next year. Go Vols

kyvol98 writes:

in response to allvol8:

Where is Smokey's grade? He went after the kicker!;}

Smokey gets a B. Would have been an A if he had went after Palardy

Shake_Bake writes:

in response to govols0463:

I don't care about the report card, I feel like we went undefeated knowing that dumb*ss will not be back on the sidelines next year. Every name people throw out sounds good to me, based on what we've had. I don't care if it's Stoops, Fisher, the coach at Middle TN Christian, Quarles at Maryville, Perry at Mt Juliet or the head coach for the Pee Wee Una Bears, it's gotta' be better than that idiot we've had. I'm officially moving on after today. I give today's game an A+ across the board, just because it's a new day! Finally! I instantly felt better about Tennessee football the day he was canned, and now this nightmare is over. I'm ready to start over...can't wait.

Very good post!! I'm anxious to see what happens next year as well. GBO!!

hcspraker#205735 writes:

Tyler Bray may have the physical skills of a quarterback, but as a leader and person he fails in all respects.

licknpromise777#651578 writes:

Will be interesting to see if the new coach can fix this sorry secondary..Another game and more totally wide open WR's than you could possibly count

shipperman#280095 writes:

All these 3 stars is all Derek would ever get. We need spped in the defensive backfield. These poor dudes, like their former coach, are in over their heads. They couldn't catch a cold

cloudodust writes:

2012 is in the books. While it proved dismal in some areas, it at least treaded water in others. The needs ahead are many starting with the right pick-up at HC but even at that, the right HC won't convert water to wine overnight. Tennessee is transitioning at the right time to induce the Berry twins and others out there to look this way. Give these kids that want to be Volunteers something to tune into instead of turning them out. The future isn't gonna be reality in 2013 but by the next presidential election, Tennessee needs to be back in the Georgia Dome...

SummerfieldVol writes:

Give Coach Chaney a A+ for the coaching job he did under the conditions he had to coach under. A win is always good. I hope this sorta makes up for the poor performance of last years game. Good job. Now on to who will be the new Head Coach.

shipperman#280095 writes:

in response to cloudodust:

2012 is in the books. While it proved dismal in some areas, it at least treaded water in others. The needs ahead are many starting with the right pick-up at HC but even at that, the right HC won't convert water to wine overnight. Tennessee is transitioning at the right time to induce the Berry twins and others out there to look this way. Give these kids that want to be Volunteers something to tune into instead of turning them out. The future isn't gonna be reality in 2013 but by the next presidential election, Tennessee needs to be back in the Georgia Dome...

well said

SummerfieldVol writes:

in response to scvolfan13:

Who's going to draft Justin Hunter? He can't catch.

He can if he is wide open, but he will not go up and get the ball. I believe he is gun shy, afraid to he might get hurt again and he knows he don't want that again. If that is his attitude he will not make it in the Pros. Just my opinion. He would be better off staying another year.

lomas98 writes:

in response to SummerfieldVol:

He can if he is wide open, but he will not go up and get the ball. I believe he is gun shy, afraid to he might get hurt again and he knows he don't want that again. If that is his attitude he will not make it in the Pros. Just my opinion. He would be better off staying another year.

Based on the reasons you mention, why would you want him back. Talent scouts who get paid to watch kids love hunter. He will probably help himself more by going to combine.

OldVols68 writes:

As good as Patterson is (or was) I cringe every time he does score for fear he will "hot dog" himself into another unsportsmanlike penalty. He will have a ball in the pro game. But it is ironic that the supposedly mature pros are allowed to do anything after a play, but young kids are penalized for being, well, kids.:)

Sir_Spanky writes:

"A more robust running attack early in the game could have given the Vols more options on offense and pushed them over 500 yards, their normal benchmark".

One might consider actually trying it before one writes it off.

utfan36 writes:

i think who ever comes in as new coach should keep CJC he is a good cordnater. fast quick strike off. with one of the best line in D1 football! keep off. coaches and fire the def.coaches and save some money! our def.was not to good if we would have had a great def we would have won alot more games! def. WINS championships! GO VOLS !!!!!!

pcorange writes:

in response to scvolfan13:

Who's going to draft Justin Hunter? He can't catch.

There's nothing wrong with Justin Hunter. He has been trying to get through this season by doing just enough to let the NFL scouts know he is still capable but also trying to make sure he doesn't get hurt. In other words, he's been playing scared. I wouldn't doubt him being a future hall of famer in the NFL. How many have we seen over the years do the same thing?

pcorange writes:

in response to OldVols68:

As good as Patterson is (or was) I cringe every time he does score for fear he will "hot dog" himself into another unsportsmanlike penalty. He will have a ball in the pro game. But it is ironic that the supposedly mature pros are allowed to do anything after a play, but young kids are penalized for being, well, kids.:)

I agree with you. Celebrating a great play with your teammates is part of the game and in my opinion it is not unsportsmanlike in any way. Now, getting up in an opponent's face and taunting is another story altogether. But, that isn't what Patterson has been being flagged for. On another note, has anybody else noticed that officials from other conferences aren't nearly as strict on celebration penalties as the SEC is? I've watched several games this weekend where I just knew somebody was about to be called for excessive celebration, but nothing ever happened.

BufordTJustice writes:

I'd like to thank Chaney for everything he has done over the last four years. Having no prior connection to this University, he has been more loyal to this program than anyone. I hope the new coach keeps him, he has definitely put up a lot of points. Put an above average defense with him and a head coach that can beat a chicken in tic-tac-toe, and we win a lot of games.

Bark_at_the_Moon writes:

Smokey got out of his leash, ran to mid field, and tried to bite the Kentucky Kicker's arse. Play of the game!

Bark_at_the_Moon writes:

in response to BufordTJustice:

I'd like to thank Chaney for everything he has done over the last four years. Having no prior connection to this University, he has been more loyal to this program than anyone. I hope the new coach keeps him, he has definitely put up a lot of points. Put an above average defense with him and a head coach that can beat a chicken in tic-tac-toe, and we win a lot of games.

I agree. Chaney is a keeper!

pcorange writes:

in response to govols0463:

I don't care about the report card, I feel like we went undefeated knowing that dumb*ss will not be back on the sidelines next year. Every name people throw out sounds good to me, based on what we've had. I don't care if it's Stoops, Fisher, the coach at Middle TN Christian, Quarles at Maryville, Perry at Mt Juliet or the head coach for the Pee Wee Una Bears, it's gotta' be better than that idiot we've had. I'm officially moving on after today. I give today's game an A+ across the board, just because it's a new day! Finally! I instantly felt better about Tennessee football the day he was canned, and now this nightmare is over. I'm ready to start over...can't wait.

While I believe Coach Dooley was a decent man and I think he is very intelligent, he was not at all a good football coach. I agree with you totally that I think anybody on the list that has been floating around on here would be a better hire. Some are possible championship builders, some would keep us mid-pack, but all would keep us out of the cellar and that's where we've been for the last three years.

ACWLY writes:

Without the MANY dropped balls by Kentucky our defensive coach couldn't have possibly gotten an A. But other than that Saturday was a very rewarding day, the SMILE and HAPPY personality of JIM CHANEY seemed to change the bitterness of this years events. Once again I felt GOOD about the future of Tennessee, THANKS Coach Chaney! I have nothing to do or say about who coaches at Tennessee but I hope the BEST for the Coaches who gave it their all and Pray for good things to come to them, and yes this includes Coach Dooley, you know he tried, RIGHT?

OrangeBloodFlood writes:

in response to BufordTJustice:

I'd like to thank Chaney for everything he has done over the last four years. Having no prior connection to this University, he has been more loyal to this program than anyone. I hope the new coach keeps him, he has definitely put up a lot of points. Put an above average defense with him and a head coach that can beat a chicken in tic-tac-toe, and we win a lot of games.

Ditto, I would also like to thank Jim Chaney who has show loyalty to UT that we have not seen in awhile.I'd give him a shot....its clear the players respect him.As far as DD if you can read this mornings Chatta. Time Free Press Sports you will find that DD had the worst relationship EVER with area highschool football coaches.Vonn Bell a 5 star recruit in the Chatta. area that UT desperately needs...when UT had an off date DD sent a G/A to watch him.All area highchool coaches state that DD was arrogant and disrespected to them and their players.Buyout HELL !, I want my money back !

SummerfieldVol writes:

in response to lomas98:

Based on the reasons you mention, why would you want him back. Talent scouts who get paid to watch kids love hunter. He will probably help himself more by going to combine.

I really don't care if he comes back or not. I was mearly stating my opinion that I think it would be in his best interest to get another year under his belt. I do not know how the Pro scouts rate him and don't really care.

BeRealistic writes:

IF it was my decision & I could either one, I would hire Stoops or Jimbo Fisher. Gruden would be as big a gamble as DD was. Gruden's college career record 0-0.

drwut70 writes:

Most of you probably do not remember but there used to be junior varsity games in the SEC made up of freshmen and scout team type players. They would play 3 or 4 times a year during the regular season. I am fairly sure I saw one of those games yesterday.

Rockytopfan96 writes:

in response to allvol8:

Where is Smokey's grade? He went after the kicker!;}

I give that one an A++. I saw it and it was funny!! Go Smokey!!

asleep#212036 writes:

in response to scvolfan13:

Who's going to draft Justin Hunter? He can't catch.

He drops at least one pass per game, usually on third down at a critical juncture. Nor does he run tight routes, block worth a flip, or run his second and third option routes as hard as he runs when he is the main target. Patterson is a terrible route runner and has no clue how to read a defensive alignment for a "hot read" by the QB nor can he adjust his route to get separation from single coverage or to find soft spots in a zone. BUT, both are phenomenal athletes and NFL teams don't seem to have a problem using a pretty high pick on a receiver's potential. Both are projected at least in the second round which means they will likely make a team and get a pretty good incentivized contract. If so, they will leave and who can blame them? Bray on the other hand..... Go Vols!!!

69vol08 writes:

in response to scvolfan13:

Who's going to draft Justin Hunter? He can't catch.

I agree he had some bad drops and I was hard on him too. However, he was only 3 receptions away from setting the single season record for receptions. Considering our past receivers, this is pretty good. Apparently he caught more than we realized!

ashvol7 writes:

in response to scvolfan13:

Who's going to draft Justin Hunter? He can't catch.

Hunter and Bray are neither one ready for the NFL. If Bray does't change his attitude he may never be ready. I will never forget last years Kentucky and this years Vandy games, both looked awful funny to me.

pj_ladyvolnMI writes:

in response to OldVols68:

As good as Patterson is (or was) I cringe every time he does score for fear he will "hot dog" himself into another unsportsmanlike penalty. He will have a ball in the pro game. But it is ironic that the supposedly mature pros are allowed to do anything after a play, but young kids are penalized for being, well, kids.:)

He didn't "hot dog" at Vandy. He unwisely turned around to see why the flag was thrown, and it was misinterpreted as a taunting. He's a good kid who needs to be more careful at moments like those.

FanNotSheep writes:

Tennessee fans were extremely lucky to have the pleasure of watching Tyler Bray throw the football. I think that will sink in over the next several years. Don't know if he comes back or tries to go NFL, but he has the arm and the moxie to be a great QB. Does he need to mature and dedicate himself to becoming a professional? Sure -- and it wouldn't hurt a bit if Peyton were to spend some time with him and give him a bunch of brotherly advice.

Hate on him and C.P. and Hunter all you want. They are all phenomenal athletes and unbelievably entertaining. If they go out as juniors UT football will be unwatchable next year.

govolsn3 writes:

in response to KFDLaw:

Hopefully Bray and Patterson will stick round for another year. If UT hires someone like Gruden, the offense may improve and the defense will either learn how to play or be booted and replaced. Gruden has a reputation for telling NFL players who were mediocre to hit the road. Gruden is still a long shot. Please just don't hire someone else from the MAC.

He has already dismissed any coaching jobs for the near future college or pros, it was on ESPN insider this weekend.

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