Report Card: Tennessee-Georgia

Michael Patrick/News Sentinel
Tennessee linebacker A.J. Johnson, left, stops Georgia wide receiver Tavarres King from scoring a touchdown Saturday in Georgia's 51-44 victory at Sanford Stadium in Athens, Ga.

Photo by Michael Patrick, copyright © 2012

Michael Patrick/News Sentinel Tennessee linebacker A.J. Johnson, left, stops Georgia wide receiver Tavarres King from scoring a touchdown Saturday in Georgia's 51-44 victory at Sanford Stadium in Athens, Ga.

Quarterbacks C+

With just less than 6 minutes remaining in the Vols' comeback attempt, Tyler Bray never took his eyes off wideout Cordarrelle Patterson. The pass that everyone saw coming resulted in a back-breaking interception. Soon after, with less than 2 minutes to go, Bray fumbled trying to snake through Georgia's pass rush. Finally, with 15 seconds remaining in UT's last gasp, a tipped ball resulted in another pick. The junior quarterback threw for 281 yards and a pair of touchdowns, but will be judged on the plays that mattered most when the Vols needed them most.

Running Backs A

A team reliant on its passing attack stuck with its ground game and did so in outstanding fashion. UT's 202 total rushing yards produced a 4.9-per-carry average. Fayetteville, Ga., native Rajion Neal spearheaded the attack with 160 all-purpose yards, including 107 gained on the ground. The junior tailback had one receiving touchdown and one on the ground. Linebacker A.J. Johnson leapt over the line for his third touchdown in as many games out of the wildcat package.

Wide receivers/tight ends C+

Patterson's 46-yard bob-and-weave rush through the Georgia defense kept the Vols' hopes alive after UGA opened the second half with two touchdowns. Other than that, UT's home-run hitters swung and missed. Patterson and Justin Hunter combined for just five catches and 77 yards. With a team-high six catches for 51 yards and a touchdown, Zach Rogers was again a pleasant surprise. Tight end Mychal Rivera made some big plays in the second half, including a 62-yard haul.

Offensive line B+

See the above praise of the running game and know that it all started at the line of scrimmage. The Vols controlled the offensive trenches, opened lanes and took a big step in the right direction. Jarvis Jones, one of the SEC's fiercest pass rushers, finished without a sack. As did the entire Georgia lineup. Left guard Dallas Thomas and right tackle Ja'Wuan James each made their 30th career start for the Vols.

Defensive line C

Georgia running backs Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall were rarely brought down at the line of scrimmage and none of the UT linemen were able to consistently pressure quarterback Aaron Murray. Corey Miller tipped the pass that turned into Byron Moore's interception for a touchdown in the first quarter.

Linebackers C

The bulk of UT's defensive talent and play-making ability resides in its linebacking corps. The Bulldogs accumulated 560 total yards of offense, averaged 8.8 yards per play, and racked up a whopping 282 yards rushing. Much of that came at the expense of the linebackers. Some big plays were delivered by A.J. Johnson (11 tackles) and Herman Lathers (sack and a forced fumble in the second quarter), but they were the first to say afterwards that allowing 560 yards is unacceptable.

Secondary C

Moore's first-quarter interception return for a touchdown was the Vols' only offense early on. The junior free safety, though, along with the entire UT secondary, missed too many tackles and felt the brunt of Murray's 19-for-25, 278-yard passing performance.

Special teams C

Moore allowed Georgia's Marc Deas to sprint untouched through the line and smother Matt Darr's punt. The block came after Darr shanked a 30-yard knuckleball following the Vols' first possession of the second half. Kicker Derrick Brodus missed a field goal and another extra point.

Overall B

The Vols hung with the No. 5 team in the country, on the road, and showed more resilience than the team that crawled into a shell against Florida. Big plays are still a big issue, but Saturday could have easily ballooned into a 20-, 30- or 40-point rout. Instead it went down to the final possession.

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Comments » 131

tanasi2 writes:

The Vol defense does not know what to do in the 3-4. The Vols gave great effort at times today but this team is not mature enough or disciplined enough to be a top college team. The Vols will go 7-5 this year and lets hope for a better 2013 (if Bray, Hunter, and Patterson stay.)

BigOrangeDave writes:

Until the Defense gets better, there will be no good wins. It's the worst I've seen in watching the Vols since the 70's. The team didn't quit today, so I guess I'm grateful for that. Not having a QB that can run for 1 yard ever hurts in crunch time.

Was the person assigning the Report Card watching the same Defense as me?

writer#358485 writes:

Progress, progress, still a ways to go. Tennessee hung tough with a legitimate No. 5 team and had a couple of chances to win. We're on the right road, it's just bumpy. The defense definitely needs some work, some of those holes I could have run through and I'm 66! But while it hurts to lose, it was not an embarrassing loss and that's a step in the right direction. I think Tennessee may beat someone who counts this year! Go Vols!

FWBVol writes:

I really can't blame the last three turnovers completely on Bray. Yes, the ball came out of his hands, but he had people in his face on all three plays and was trying to make a play with second or third effort. That said, I don't disagree with the C+ and I might have even given him a straight C. I don't think he was overly sharp with the ball today.

It's to the point that I think the special team grade needs to be broken down into kicking game and return game. The kicking game was a D at best. A missed field goal, a missed extra point, a shanked punt and a blocked punt are all game changers or game killers.

The blocked punt led to a Georgia TD. The missed field goal and extra point took away the opportunity to go for a field goal to get the tie late in the game rather than having to go for the end zone.

I am happy with the way the team played 60 minutes today against a good Georgia team. IMO, this was Neal's best game and about the only thing he did wrong was drop the pass late in the game that wasn't as any of a catch as it looked as Bray put some heat on the ball and Neal was coming back hard to get it.

DavidB writes:

Before the game started not many people gave UT a chance in this game. The coaches and players didn't buy into that at all. They came out looking for a win. Yes defense gave up some big plays but also had some big stops. Once defense fully figures out their new roles they will be tough. I thought bray did a great job with keeping his poise tonight. Felt sorry for Brodus, he had a bad game and I'm guessing lost his job back to Palardy. Dooley overall did a good job of managing tonight. Saw him chewing on coaches during the game.

I think our chances look better and better with each game. I am not one of those fans that predicted us to win tonight. In fact I was afraid we would get blown out but the team fought to stay in it. Proud to be a vol. Patterson will be here next year since he is just a sophomore so not sure why fans keep posting we lose him to the nfl. I think bray will be here next year. Not sure on hunter. With already tearing Acl once it's in his best interest to get paid to play while he still can.

Now that this game is over let's get keyed up for the next one.

gwbask writes:

we give up 51 points and you give the defense a C. Wow.

VolGrad writes:

This team will beat South Carolina in 4 weeks.

Go Vols! Beat the dawgs of MissSt!!!

vols91 writes:

"C" is mighty generous for this defense. I'll go out on a limb and say the 'bama game is already over. Outside of that one, though, the rest can be won...if there are some major changes to the defensive play calling. Very little pressure, gaping holes, secondary playing 15-20 yards off the line...hard to win in the SEC that way.

alfrizzle097 writes:

in response to gwbask:

we give up 51 points and you give the defense a C. Wow.

We scored..... 21 points off turnovers and the defense blanked them in the fourth. There were good things too. Gotta remember that this is a Georgia offense that is yet to not score 40 points.

C is generous, but it isn't completely out of line.

springtx_vol writes:

That is probably the best offense that we will face all year. I am not at all happy with the intensity of the wide receivers today, we don't seem to be able to get consisent effort from 80 or so players at the same time.

This game exposed the lack of speed for our defense. Brewer looked like he was running in sand. Where was Maggitt and Jacques Smith? We simply do not have the defensive backs to blitz and put pressure on the defense.

With all of this, I still see 9-3 as a possibility. South Carolina is not as good as Georgia. Missouri has struggled all year. Lose to Alabama in a well played game, win out, it will have been a good year.

shipperman#280095 writes:

in response to VolGrad:

This team will beat South Carolina in 4 weeks.

Go Vols! Beat the dawgs of MissSt!!!

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

TheFuj writes:

51 points by GA, and over 560 in total yards and defense a C? Special teams. 1 missed easy FG, and a miss EP, and a punt blocked, and 1 punt shanked, and special teams a C.
Lose the game and overall a B? We have lowered our expectations.

AZ_Vol writes:

I was surprised how Georgia's line was unable to plug holes on running plays up the middle by our offense. Neal had a field day against them.

Well done.

TommyJack writes:

Not quitting is nice. But I can't see giving props for something that should be a given.

Classof72 writes:

Charlie Brown has been recruited to kick extra points. Lucy Van Pelt will hold for the extra points. Good Grief!

formerhoopvol writes:

in response to TheFuj:

51 points by GA, and over 560 in total yards and defense a C? Special teams. 1 missed easy FG, and a miss EP, and a punt blocked, and 1 punt shanked, and special teams a C.
Lose the game and overall a B? We have lowered our expectations.

you summed it up well...

pcorange writes:

in response to gwbask:

we give up 51 points and you give the defense a C. Wow.

Amen to that. The defense would have earned a zero if not for the two big stops late and a couple of nice turnovers in the first half. I'd give them a solid 'F', though, for allowing 560 yards and 51 points. You can't win games like that. It is inexcusable, in my opinion, to ever lose a football game in which the team has put up 21 points on the scoreboard. If a defense allows more than 20 points, it needs to go back to work. We put up 44 points and still got our tails handed to us.

CoverOrange writes:

Watch the replay tomorrow. Watch #56 on every single one of the long runs by Gurley and Mitchell for TDs. I'm guessing Maggitt is doing what he was told to do but doing so is what opened the door for those runs.

TheStupidPolice writes:

I was with ya until ya gave the entire defense a C grade and the special teams a B. SMH

SouthALVol writes:

I recall 1988 when UT started 0-6. The last of those losses was to Alabama, but it felt like they were getting better. They went on to win the last 5, and started a roll that didn't really end until 2008. I would like to think this UGa game is the equivalent. I just can't make myself believe it, though. I hope I am wrong.

volinlm writes:

in response to gwbask:

we give up 51 points and you give the defense a C. Wow.

We're grading on a curve here because the class has several 'A' students in it, aka SEC. What kind of grade do you think Richt is giving the Dawgs?

IndianaVFL writes:

in response to gwbask:

we give up 51 points and you give the defense a C. Wow.

My thoughts too!

BigVolFaninSC writes:

in response to CoverOrange:

Watch the replay tomorrow. Watch #56 on every single one of the long runs by Gurley and Mitchell for TDs. I'm guessing Maggitt is doing what he was told to do but doing so is what opened the door for those runs.

I noticed Maggitt out of position on several plays as well!...I'm not sure that he's over that toe injury, because he looked mighty slow at times...There is a lot to build off of this game, however, and I think most would agree the team is progressing. Georgia has athletes all over the field and yet we were one play away from a tie at the end! OL is growing up and gelling! D is still learning the 3-4! Stay the course!...We'll get a breakthrough sometime this year! GBO!

IndianaVFL writes:

Alright look, We were underestimated from the start... 14 point underdogs.... Don't forget that. A lot of "take-aways" from this game... My Brother is at the Bama game (tailgating with an honest to god true Bama fans, complete with a bus.) People there were dumbfounded at our resilience. We actually held / scared the #5 team in the country. To me - That's incredible. Unparalleled. We lost. We aren't the Vols of the 90's; which has given us a lot of arrogance. We are growing at exponential rates... look at the data. This team is building. We sit on line and slam Dooley and Bray; but truth be told there were a lot of missed opportunities... We NEED Dooley. He went against the grain and recruited Junior college guys, to give us an immediate injection of talent. At the same time got some Freshman to believe what we believe... Sit Down and shut up, Rome wasn't built in one day... However, Rome was knocked down in one day (I.e.. Nero)... Seriously.. It takes time. We got spoiled. I really feel the Fulmer decision was incorrect, but live and move on... True Vol Fans understand the complexity of the situation. We didn't choose to have Fulmer's replacement bounce. We didn't plan to have thugs join the program (I.e... 3 starters rob the poorest people in Knoxville), We didn't have to plan to Have TO REBUILD a program. It takes time. Bray sucked - at the end - YES. Who counted the points we got, to get to that point... Go VOLS Sorry for all the Naysayers.. Dooley has done stand up job. considering the cards he was dealt... SO, Shut up and understand a member of management has to make decisions. Sometimes not popular or the best, but you have to look at the macro picture.

Orangeblood13 writes:

The difference in Fla and Ga games are when we need people to make plays, they have to make plays. Hunter and Patterson especially, but Rivera and Rogers are also targets.

Bray is learning, I think he is hindered by suspect play calling at times. Not impressed with Chaney.

Sal's D line needs an D or worse IMO, no sacks and Ga Rb's hit the line untouched. So much for Mt Mcullers.

I am not for moral victories and I think these young men played their hearts out, but they need direction.

Rest up guys

FWBVol writes:

in response to SouthALVol:

I recall 1988 when UT started 0-6. The last of those losses was to Alabama, but it felt like they were getting better. They went on to win the last 5, and started a roll that didn't really end until 2008. I would like to think this UGa game is the equivalent. I just can't make myself believe it, though. I hope I am wrong.

The 1988 team was a mystery. The seniors on that team were freshman on the 1985 squad that won the SEC and Sugar Bowl. Guys like quarterback Jeff Francis and linebacker Keith DeLong were able to help hold the team together and provide leadership for the team. We also had some proven running backs on that team that could move the chains.

Even though that team turned things around and won the last five games the bad start cost defensive coordinator Ken Donahue his job.

I still think this team will win seven games beating Troy, Missouri, Vandy and Kentucky and I believe we have a good chance to beat either Mississippi State or South Carolina.

This season is far from over and the fight the team showed today gives me some hope that we will win a game we aren't supposed to before the season is over.

frblalack writes:

Thanks Vols for playing tough for 60 minutes! Our offensive play calling was superb; Z Rogers was exceptional, and R Neal played by far his best game. The O line showed how potentially great it could be.

Our defense including our linebacker play needs to get better fast. I thought Herman Lathers & A.J. played well, but the holes up the middle & the continued playing too far off the receivers were all too familiar. Tyler showed his fantastic arm, but he also made quite a few errant throws. I don't believe we have a single player ready yet for the NFL.

Overall I think our team was well prepared yet didn't execute on too many occasions. Hard fought & definite improvement from the Florida game! We will win in the SEC! Soon!

Vol for Life

civilianvol_formerly_marinevol writes:

I sure would have liked for my instructors at UT to have handed out grades the way you guys do. I was watching the game with a friend who played linebacker at Michigan State 3 years ago. He didn't know anything about UT's situation, and the fact that we had a defensive coordinator doing on-the-job training. He kept saying that UT had the worst-coached defense he had ever seen in major college football. How do you give a grade of "C" to any aspect of our defense? In case you didn't know, when you score 44 points in an SEC game, you should win big. And, we have a blocked punt, a missed extra point and a missed 28 yard field goal and the special teams gets a C? In spite of all the turnovers, we still win the game by 14 points if not for all the dropped passes, so you give the receivers a C+?

Alwaysavol writes:

How on earth do the special teams rate a C? Missed field goal, missed extra point, blocked punt, cost us a timeout on Georgia's 2-point conversion, and still couldn't stop it. No returns to speak of to balance that out. If that's a C, I would hate to see how bad they would have to be to get an F.

10seVol85_Part_Deux writes:

Pretty disappointed with Bray at the end of the game, but after some thought, he really didn't do as badly as you might think. The first interception he threw in the fourth quarter was the one turnover that I put totally on him. It was only first down. He didn't need to force it. He should have just thrown it over their heads out of bounds. The fumble was just unfortunate bad luck. He's not a RB or even a running QB. Nobody spends time teaching him how to carry the ball and protect it when he runs -- because he doesn't run. The final interception is just what often happens in those last-second desperation times, and it was off a deflection.

papavol writes:

in response to BigOrangeDave:

Until the Defense gets better, there will be no good wins. It's the worst I've seen in watching the Vols since the 70's. The team didn't quit today, so I guess I'm grateful for that. Not having a QB that can run for 1 yard ever hurts in crunch time.

Was the person assigning the Report Card watching the same Defense as me?

i don't believe he was.. the defense was gashed on numerous occasions. They did show up when it really mattered in the end, but it was the offense that couldn't get things done. sigh...

Big_House_of_Ice_Gulp writes:

I wish you would have been my algebra instructor.

Rumblefish writes:

Divide by zero...and then you'll have the grade for the defense.

gwbask writes:

in response to alfrizzle097:

We scored..... 21 points off turnovers and the defense blanked them in the fourth. There were good things too. Gotta remember that this is a Georgia offense that is yet to not score 40 points.

C is generous, but it isn't completely out of line.

560 yards against us...yes a C is very generous

snafu14u#241639 writes:

Grades are fair except kicking game. Cost us the game really. I agree with the thought that we looked slow on defense...real slow.In fact to the point I thought it was the amount of pixels in the TV. On defense you can tell that the read/reaction time is still slow. Bray may have actually matured some before our very eyes. A very slow process for sure. The fumble at the end was hurtful. My Dad, Class of 1956, who is a Hospice patient was watching as he always does. I was desperately hoping for a big win. This may be his last game to watch on this plane of existence. You want to talk about a Vol for Life, that's my Dad. Wanted this badly for him. BonzaiVol

Rich_Is_Re-born writes:

Well I don't think you can question their effort. Problem is, should a team get praised for busting their tales for 4 quarters? The problem is real simple. The worst defense in the SEC besides Arkansas, the worst kicking game possibly in UT history, dropped passes, errant passes, turnovers with the game on the line, and for whatever reason we still have an issue with false starts 5 games into the season. The run game was improved as was the o-line play. As a parent I feel bad for Bray. He showed heart tonight, simply didn't get it done. I heard a stat on him the other day. Outside of the SEC I think they said he had 34 TDs and 9ints. In conference play he had 14 TDs and 12 ints. That was prior to the UGA game.

tovolny writes:

ROMP, ROMP, ROMP...how many, I stopped counting at three?
WHY THE sam hill can we not stop the ROMPS.
During the whole Dickey Era, the longest run was 38 yards, and the ball was knocked out of the running backs hands and recovered on the 10 yard line.
Stop the xucking ROMPS. This has got to be the worst defense against the ROMPS that I have ever seen. Why not allow Tim Priest to coach up the safeties?
GeT THE BALL TO PATTERSON...snap it to him, or at least use him in the backfield. Tennessee will need to run draw plays and screen passes to patterson to stay in the park against the Tide.
The Vols have talent, but obviously need some help in positioning the players.
C'MON Vols, kick it up a notch.
I think Dooley is a decent coach, I am glad we have him. But, right now when I think of the Dooley Era, I think of all those ROMPS going all the way back to the 2010 Oregon game.
Right now his legacy "whole bunch of long xss big plays."
DANG IT!
I would get the DB's in that 40 million dollar football development center and have them work on speed.

1vavolfan writes:

The defense gets a "C"? Are we grading with a curve? Terrible angles all night, big runs without so much as a hand on the running back. Maybe a D- for sucking it up late in the 4th quarter.

Millisa writes:

Defense deserves a F We were pathetic on both sides of the ball. Fire Dooley ASAP

dvol writes:

in response to alfrizzle097:

We scored..... 21 points off turnovers and the defense blanked them in the fourth. There were good things too. Gotta remember that this is a Georgia offense that is yet to not score 40 points.

C is generous, but it isn't completely out of line.

Did either one of you guys watch the same game as I did? Georgia had two backs run wild on this bunch. If not an F at least a D-.

BustaRhymes writes:

Coaching gets an F. Despite plenty of data that the 3-4 defense isn't working for our team... we're sticking with it...

signalcorps writes:

Im keeping my word I was asked not to come down on coach d until after the season was over,,now Im going to my restroom and cry...Good night

shoelessvol#236864 writes:

Many areas need to be improved in the coming weeks! Don't care what defense we're in you have got to TACKLE and pursue on the proper angle! Offensively we are getting better at the run game...but our receivers all of a sudden are DROPPING good throws. Quarterback is trying to do a little too much. Overall happy with the EFFORT against Georgia...we didn't give up like in the Florida game. With this effort and better execution we can win 9!!

signalcorps writes:

in response to BigOrangeDave:

Until the Defense gets better, there will be no good wins. It's the worst I've seen in watching the Vols since the 70's. The team didn't quit today, so I guess I'm grateful for that. Not having a QB that can run for 1 yard ever hurts in crunch time.

Was the person assigning the Report Card watching the same Defense as me?

your right and what adout Ga's defence they looked worser than Tn most of the first and some of the 2nd half no #5 defence , the ncaa is down this year in football not many good big games....

tmcretired writes:

well pretty easy grading I fear we are getting use to not winning and if we show any improvement we give these grades that are a gift

Ironcity writes:

What? How can you give anyone on defense a C? They got torched plain and simple. Especially the LBs. Overall B? I guess your expectations were so low that getting beat results in a B.

Vol_in_Mich writes:

in response to Classof72:

Charlie Brown has been recruited to kick extra points. Lucy Van Pelt will hold for the extra points. Good Grief!

That would be an improvement. On the other hand, Georgia must have the second worse kicking game in the SEC. Behind the Vols of course.

jobrando#216494 writes:

Two many critical drop balls ---Receivers get D+
Kicking game regressed again----Kickers get F
Tyler tried for 60 minutes-------QB get B
Secondary lost on field----------get D
USDA ORGANIC

CrankE writes:

Receivers: No mention of Patterson's dropped TD pass? Really?

Quarterback: Bray should be marked down at least another half a grade. He is himself out there and he must correct some things.

Defense gets gashed for ~300 rushing, gives up easy TD's to Bennett, but gets a C?!

Last year, UT would have lost this game 51-7. Instead, they found a new way to lose. UT must do better.

That being said, there was fight in this team for 60 minutes and we've been waiting for 3 years for that.

Go Vols!

jobrando#216494 writes:

Great game-----team is growing up
For providing one of the best efforts in years they get A+

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