Tennessee football blame pie: Who’s at fault for Vols’ 34-3 Florida loss?

GAINESVILLE, FL- SEPTEMBER 21: General view during the second half of the game between the Florida Gators and Tennessee Volunteers at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on September 21, 2019 in Gainesville, Florida. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)
GAINESVILLE, FL- SEPTEMBER 21: General view during the second half of the game between the Florida Gators and Tennessee Volunteers at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on September 21, 2019 in Gainesville, Florida. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images) /

Lots of people should be called out for Tennessee football’s loss to the Florida Gators. Here is a look at the Volunteers responsible.

When you lose 34-3, you see lots of people take blame for what happened. Such is the case for Tennessee football after an embarrassing loss to the Florida Gators in The Swamp to fall to 1-3 on the season.

The game actually could have been closer than it was, but key mistakes by a variety of people is what turned it into a blowout. Only a couple of units actually routinely struggled throughout the day. Most of the time, there were individual errors.

As we get set to dole out responsibilities for the loss, those individual errors take up lots of the call-outs. Some of them were actually among the top performers in the game too, but they made a couple of key mistakes here or there. This is our blame pie for Tennessee football’s loss to the Florida Gators.

Defensive line: 30 percent

One unit that consistently struggled on the day is the Vols’ defensive line. Sure, Aubrey Solomon got a sack, and Matthew Butler had five tackles. But Jeremy Pruitt consistently had to dial up blitzes to keep Kyle Trask in check, and once Dan Mullen responded with a couple of screens in the second half, the Vols could not respond. That was the most consistent issue throughout the day.

Jarrett Guarantano: 20 percent

Yes, Jarrett Guarantano was once again an issue. But his blame in this game actually comes down to a couple of plays. The first is him missing Dominick Wood-Anderson wide open in the second quarter for what should have been an easy touchdown. An interception that followed, setting up Florida’s field goal to go up 10-0, also was a huge error. That was a 10-point swing for UT.

Offensive line: 15 percent

Protection was okay against a great Florida defensive line. But Jarrett Guarantano had too many balls batted down. The running game could never get going. And K’Rojhn Calbert made a key standout error by committing a personal foul penalty on the Vols’ first drive, killing that series. Those mistakes were enough for us to put this unit at 15 percent.

Jauan Jennings: 10 percent

Despite playing well throughout the game, Jauan Jennings joins Jarrett Guarantano as an offensive player who gets blame for the day. He was responsible for Guarantano’s first interception, letting a 3rd and goal pass in the end zone bounce off him and into the hands of a Florida defender for an interception. That was a killer, as it was a chance for Tennessee football to tie the game up.

Eric Gray: 10 percent

Similar to Jauan Jennings, Eric Gray made a crucial mistake on that first drive. He missed a block on the play before the interception that allowed an easy touchdown pass to Austin Pope to be batted down at the line of scrimmage. Then, with the score 24-3 and the Vols driving, Gray fumbled in the fourth quarter, a play that put Florida in complete control.

Nigel Warrior: 5 percent

He wasn’t as bad as people are making him out to be, but Nigel Warrior was way out of position on a pass on the first drive to set up a Florida touchdown. If he does his job, Tennessee football may have actually gotten a defensive stand to win.

Jim Chaney: 5 percent

Jim Chaney was making the right calls on the day. The offense just wasn’t executing. However, to a degree, he should have known that and just gone back to his bread and butter of deep balls to his big receivers. UT is not throwing enough of those with a quarterback who has a big arm but limited accuracy and receivers who outmatch anybody.

Brian Maurer: 5 percent

Okay, so he doesn’t deserve too much blame. But Brian Maurer did throw an interception and was very ineffective after getting past midfield on his first drive of the second half. So he’s got to take a bit of the blame for what happened.

Final take

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There you have it. Jennings doesn’t drop that pass in the end zone, or if Gray doesn’t miss that block, the Vols have a touchdown. Then, if Jarrett Guarantano hits Dominick Wood-Anderson on that easy touchdown and doesn’t throw a pick on the following play, UT has another touchdown and keeps Florida from getting a field goal.

The result of those two things alone make the score 31-17 instead of 34-3. Take away Eric Gray’s fumble in the fourth, and Tennessee football at least has another field goal. The same is likely true if K’Rojhn Calbert doesn’t commit a penalty on the opening drive.

All of a sudden, this is a 31-23 game, down to one possession. Nigel Warrior’s mistake and Brian Maurer’s ineffectiveness could have further reduced the score. Simply put, the Vols had many chances to make this a game.

dark. Next. Five takeaways from Vols' loss at Florida

Still, numerous players came up with critical mistakes, and that’s why this was a blowout. UT needs to be able to limit those in the future. Of course, Florida had its share of mistakes. But Tennessee football had to be flawless. They weren’t, and that’s why they got embarrassed.