Everyone knew the No. 2 Oregon Ducks would be a handful for the Tennessee Vols. However, after a sloppy start, things were looking up for the Vols, who still have a lot to prove. The Vols quickly got up 7-0, but once the Ducks settled down, the game turned around quickly. The Ducks rolled onto a 59-14 win over the Vols, playing several backups by the end of the third quarter.
The Vols’ defense seemed exhausted by the end of the first half. It is no wonder why — Oregon had 458 yards of total offense in the first half. In fact, the last five drives in the first half for Oregon lead to touchdowns, with each drive lasting less than two minutes. There were several players on the Vols that seemed to be visually exhausted with the speed of Oregon’s offense, specifically quarterback Marcus Mariota and De’Anthony Thomas. Mariota ended with 456 yards passing and five touchdowns.
It seemed as though the Vols beat themselves, with confusion on defending passes and runs, leaving Oregon receivers wide open on several occasions from the beginning.
The offense didn’t seem much better. The loss of wide outs Justin Hunter and Cordarrelle Patterson and tight end Mychal Rivera to the NFL this year has really put a damper on the offense. The Vols were also unable to establish a strong, old-school run game like the game plan entailed.
Instead, they leaned on quarterback Justin Worley, who was unable to make easy passes, and looked confused and easily intimidated by the Ducks. The right side of the O-line proved to be strong once again, but it was just surprising that the Vols didn’t run it that side more often.
Could this bode well for the Vols in the next couple games? No. Not only has Week 3 been exhausting physically for the Vols, but mentally as well.
Bottom line, regardless of the disappointing loss, give head coach Butch Jones some more time to prove that his “brick by brick” method is working.