With a new quarterback and facing a resurgent Vanderbilt Commodores, it’s pretty obvious after last wee that Tennessee football is going to have to rely on its offense to win games. However, that was the message from the beginning of the year. The problem is they need to put up something on defense at the same time.
Last week, the South Carolina Gamecocks were basically playing air. It doesn’t matter what the offense does if the other team scores a touchdown on nine of its 10 possessions. For the most part, the Vols need their offense to beat the ‘Dores, but they can’t ignore the other side of the ball.
As a result, our analysis of the key players from UT in this game didn’t fully ignore the defensive side of the ball. It was hard to find somebody who could step up and would be useful if he did, but we were able to pull it off. Offense is still mostly the story, though. Here are the five Vols to watch for when Tennessee football visits Vanderbilt.
The Tennessee football Volunteers will need to rely on offensive talent against Vandy.
6’3″ 215 pounds
Allowing over 303 yards a game and nearly nine yards an attempt, Vanderbilt has one of the worst pass defenses in the nation. Even as they have turned things around recently, they haven’t been able to avoid that, as they gave up 400 yards through the air to Anthony Richardson and the Florida Gators just last week.
As a result, if the Vols are going to win, they have to take advantage of this. Say what you want about the offense slightly being different when Cedric Tillman is in the game, but he’s been the leading receiver the last two times he stepped out onto the field. That counts for something.
Against South Carolina, he had two touchdowns catches, and with Joe Milton III now starting for Tennessee football, he’s going to have to be the safety blanket given his size. As a result, look for him to have a huge impact in this game. Yes, he’s still banged up, but it doesn’t matter. Tillman should be able to torch this secondary.