Which stocks will rise?
As bad as the offensive line was in the opener, it’s going to get better. Jeremy Pruitt noted that Tennessee football was playing a lot of guys at new positions, and many of them were just getting healthy. Sure, as we mentioned, Brandon Kennedy has to explain his poor play. But what about everybody else?
Trey Smith only had eight practices in fall camp. Drew Richmond had to move over to the right side at tackle. Jahmir Johnson didn’t get any practices until fall camp. Heck, even Kennedy didn’t practice in the spring. The Vols are using a bunch of new guys, and it just showed early. They got better in the second half, and you have to believe the unit will improve overall.
Trevon Flowers had a blown coverage on one play, and Nigel Warrior struggled as well. But we didn’t consider the stock down for the Tennessee football secondary overall because they had little help. With already low expectations, the West Virginia Mountaineers had a nearly flawless passing game. Will Grier connected with his receivers on throws nobody could defend.
Add in the lack of pressure from the edge rushers, and the Vols’ secondary simply did not have any help. Meanwhile, Todd Kelly Jr. is still trying to get fully healthy, and he could help out a lot at safety. Combine that with Warrior then having less pressure and Flowers developing, and you could have a nice little group on your hands going forward. They just had a rough first outing.