Stocks to buy
Believe it or not, the linebackers aren’t as bad as they looked on Saturday. It’s hard enough when you have to overcompensate for a horrible defensive line. But Tennessee football was also limited because of the fact that Daniel Bituli, who calls all the plays for the entire defense, was out of the game in order to clean up an injury.
If Bituli returns, the inside linebackers could be much better, especially since there’s limited experience on that front otherwise. His diversity will at least give Derrick Ansley and Jeremy Pruitt more options. With the development of Henry To’oTo’o, Shanon Reid, J.J. Peterson, Solon Page III, and even Jeremy Banks combined with Will Ignont’s experience, and this group could still be great.
Ty Chandler fumbled twice, and Eric Gray missed a lot of blocks. But those fumbles were a fluke and Chandler still averaged eight yards a carry with a touchdown. Jim Chaney, similar to Tyson Helton, grossly underused him. Meanwhile, Gray will develop when it comes to run blocking. The only major question is Tim Jordan, who just didn’t make enough plays Saturday.
Still, Chandler and Gray are clearly elite athletes, and as they improve in other areas, they could be perfect for Chaney, who loves to use at least two backs while Pruitt loves to use three. Simply put, this unit will get much better in time, as it already showed flashes of being great in the opener and was a couple of mistakes from being flawless.