Offensive Play-Calling: B
Jim Chaney was smart to rely on toss plays knowing that his interior blocking was an issue. And he drew up pass plays that left receivers wide open. It’s not his fault Jarrett Guarantano missed them. However, there are a couple of times he made critical mistakes. One was with Tennessee football up 13-3 and a six-yard run by Ty Chandler bringing up 2nd and 4. Guarantano’s interception came two plays later after two straight passes. He should have stuck with the run. The fourth down reverse late in the game was also an issue. But overall, he wasn’t a problem.
Defensive Play-Calling: B+
Derrick Ansley should be criticized for not just dropping back in coverage on that final deep pass to set up the game-tying field goal. And he still got beat on a couple of option plays. But overall, the defensive play-calling was fine, and while they got torched in overtime, you couldn’t really expect much else given how shell-shocked they were by that point. So we’re still going to give him a B+. His unit didn’t allow a touchdown all game on any drive that wasn’t spotted on the UT 25 or closer.
Overall Coaching Grade: C+
Jeremy Pruitt’s inconsistency on when to go for it and kick the field goal on fourth down combined with the minor issues in play-calling are enough for us to say this grade deserves a C+. He also, despite getting his guys motivated to play early them, could not rally them in overtime after they were shell-shocked about giving up that deep pass.
As a result, while coaching wasn’t the reason for Tennessee football losing this game, it could have been much better in key moments. So we’re giving it a C+ for this outing. It should get better overtime, and the mistakes weren’t gigantic, but they were enough to be problematic.