A simple glance at the final score of the Vols win over Western Kentucky, can be extremely misleading.
Yes, the Vols appeared to dominate the Hilltoppers, in their 52-20 victory, but that score doesn’t tell the whole story.
Tennessee still has a lot of work to do, that much was evident from how easy Western Kentucky moved the ball at times.
Here’s a few things we took away from the Vols’ win yesterday.
Tennessee’s Defense Needs A Lot Of Improvement
Yes, I know, the Vols forced seven turnovers in their win on Saturday. Yes, that’s extremely encouraging, especially since all but one of those turnovers were legitimate plays made by the Vols.
A closer look at the Vols defense, however, reveals some definite holes. Western Kentucky’s Antonio Andrews had a lot of success running the ball against Tennessee’s defensive front, averaging 8.5 yards a carry.
The Hilltoppers also found success in the passing game, Brandon Doughty threw for 222 yards on 17 completions. There were instances where Western Kentucky receivers found themselves with no orange jersey’s in site.
So while the Vols defense showed flashes of greatness, they lacked the consistency that Butch jones demands from his team.
Cam Sutton Is Going To Be A Solid Player
The Tennessee Volunteers might have found a gem in former three-star recruit Cameron Sutton.
Against Western Kentucky, Cameron Sutton perfectly time Brandon Doughty’s pass, jumped the route and made the interception and returned it 36 yards for the score. He also added four solo tackles in the game.
Sutton has displayed great skills during fall camp, and although he’s still a bit raw, he’s a potential star in the making.
Moving forward, Cam Sutton is definitely a guy that Vol fans should be excited about.
Tennessee’s Offensive Line Is Exactly What We Thought It Was
This may be understating things a bit, but the Vols’ offensive line is exactly what we thought it was, and more. The Vols’ running game is already much improved over last season, and will only get better.
On top of their success running the ball (Marlin Lane had 98 rushing yards and Rajion Neal had 74 rushing yards), the Volunteer offensive line gave Worley all kinds of time to throw.
Enjoy this season Vol fans, because Tennessee could possibly lose most of their starting offensive line after this season. While the Vols have a fantastic offensive line coach in Don Mahoney, there will undoubtedly be a huge learning curve and growing pains come next season.
Justin Worley Isn’t The Guy
There’s no doubt that Butch Jones made the right call when he named Justin Worley as the starter, he really didn’t have a choice. What we’ve seen from Nathan Peterman in limited action has not been impressive, and the true freshman weren’t quite ready.
Worley had a rough first half, but settled down in the second half to make some plays, but he still didn’t look nearly as sharp as you’d expect from a starting quarterback in the SEC.
Jones proved last season, with Cincinnati, that he won’t hesitate to make switch if he doesn’t like what he’s seeing. With Jones’ acute attention to detail, it would behoove you think that Jones isn’t already thinking about making a switch.
Riley Ferguson is likely the quarterback of the future for the Volunteers.
I’m not advocating that Jones should make a switch to Ferguson this week before the Oregon game. If the game ends up getting out of hand, I do think Ferguson should start getting those reps at the end of the game, instead of Nathan Peterman.
The Vols take on Florida after Oregon, so it might not be until the South Alabama game that you see a switch made.
Unless Worley improves dramatically over the next weeks, which I wouldn’t bet on, I would not be the least bit surprised to see Jones make the switch sooner, rather than later.