The Tennessee Volunteers were run over by the far superior No. 2 Oregon Ducks offense in a 59-14 defeat that saw Tennessee score first. The Volunteers were outplayed for a majority of the game, but were there any positives that could be taken from the Week 3 loss?
Tennessee’s offensive line had their way with Oregon’s defensive line early in the game. Unfortunately, you can only stop Marcus Mariota – who I believe should easily win the Heisman this season – and De’Anthony Thomas for so long.
There isn’t an offense as prolific as the Ducks’ in the entire country; the only way any team is going to stop them is through tough defense coupled with prolific offense. The Volunteers have a good defense, but their offense is very slow developing.
Tennessee quarterback Justin Worley plays an NFL style game, like ex-Tennessee quarterback Matt Simms. He prefers short completions to long, down the field plays that have so much success in the college game. This will be successful against SEC teams like the South Carolina Gamecocks who focus on strong run defense, but it won’t stand a chance against teams with great secondaries like Georgia.
If Tennessee had had Tyler Bray, Justin Hunter and Cordarelle Patterson – all players who left early for the NFL Draft – the Volunteers would have put up a decent fight against Oregon. However, since they don’t have that kind of offensive firepower, the Volunteers will struggle against better teams in the SEC.
Don’t worry Vols fans – Butch Jones showed that he can coach mediocre players into a decent team. A bowl game could be in the Volunteers’ future if they can figure out the run game more efficiently and Worley can make better decisions under pressure.