Be sure to check back to see what the IT staff has to say about the Tennessee game every Saturday this fall.
Randy Moore's thoughts
Tennessee fans have to be alarmed by the Vols' second-half futility against SEC opponents. Florida scored touchdowns on its first two possessions of the second half. So did Georgia. So did LSU. Alabama scored TDs on its first three possessions, turning a 6-6 tie into a 27-6 lead.
I don't think Tennessee can play much better than it did in the first half - on offense, on defense or on special teams. The second half, however, I don't think the Vols could play much worse. They simply came unraveled. The offense had more turnovers (2) than first downs (0) after intermission and the defense allowed four touchdowns and a field goal on Bama's five post-intermission possessions.
I thought Michael Palardy was Tennessee's MVP tonight. He nailed a career-best 52-yard field goal, punted exceptionally well and even completed a pass for a first down on a fake punt. Freshman linebacker A.J. Johnson was the only other bright spot I saw.
Offense: A (first half), F (second half)
Defense: A (first half), F (second half)
Special Teams: B+
Danny Parker's thoughts
In a span of 11 minutes, 43 seconds, that spirit and momentum vanished in a hurry as Alabama went into "machine mode"with 21 quick points to start the third quarter en route to a 37-6 victory.
The Tennessee running game yielded but 92 yards on 32 attempts, but against that defense the Crimson Tide trots out there, that's an improvement and something to build upon.
In two weeks as the starting quarterback — granted against teams ranked Nos. 1 and 2 — Matt Simms is a combined 14 for 37 passing for 186 yards with no touchdowns and three interceptions.
A gutsy Volunteer defense, led by a solid effort up front and another quality game from linebacker A.J. Johnson, held its own against an offense that has scored 27 or more points every game this season.
Linebacker Austin Johnson's interception early could have been a giant boost had the offense been able to capitalize.
A perfectly executed fake punt that resulted in a first down coupled with kicker/punter Michael Palardy's performance gave Tennessee its best all-around game on special teams this season.
There are a few tiny spots to point toward for the Vols, but until they can solve their post-intermission issues, they'll continue collapse and have now been outscored 104-63 in those last two quarters.
Special teams: A
Chris Price's thoughts
Tennessee played an amazing first half of football. Derek Dooley had his team ready to play toe-to-toe with arguably the best team in the country. The Vols came out with a fire and held the Alabama offense to minimal yardage in the running and passing game.
Dooley had the guts to call a fake punt that Michael Palardy converted with a 5-yard pass to Anthony Anderson. Not only did Palardy contribute with the fake, but he also added 40-yard and 52-yard field goals to keep things knotted at the half.
Then came the second half, the story couldn't be any more skewed. The Tide came out and dominated Tennessee in every aspect of the game. A.J. McCarron came out of the half like a field general throwing eight straight completions and the Tide scored on five straight possessions.
The Vols couldn't stop anything in the second half and really lost their swagger as Alabama poured it on. Matt Simms didn't give the Vols a legitimate chance going 8 of 17 for 58 yards. In fact, Dooley was so displeased that he threw in freshman quarterback Justin Worley with just minutes remaining in the game.
The simple fact is that Tennessee doesn't have the depth to go the distance with a team like the Tide. They are far too young and inexperienced to play with a team like Alabama. The Vols will have their moment. The signs are there. Now they just have to go to work.
Special Teams: A
Josh Woodwards thoughts
Well each week it seems like I'm writing the same thing, the Big Orange executed well in the first half, but can't seem to keep the momentum flowing starting the third quarter. For Tennessee to compete with the Bama's and LSU's of the SEC they just need more depth and leadership.
Offensively the Vols continue to struggle throwing the ball, Matt Simms just holds the ball a long time and doesn't come off his first read very well. Tennessee had receivers open, but couldn't get the ball to them. The offensive line played well opening holes for Tauren Poole in the first half, but they couldn't seem to get it going in the second. Mychal Rivera and Da'Rick Rogers were nonexistent for the second game in a row, for Tennessee to beat anybody they have to get those guys the ball.
Defensively the Big Orange had Bama pegged in the first half, but the second was a different story. A.J. Johnson continues to be an effective run stopper and has showed up against LSU and Alabama. Austin Johnson grabbed Tennessee's second pick of the year. The secondary continues to get burnt on the deep ball and it's not just one player either, it seems to be a group effort against the Crimson Tide.
Special Teams was the highlight of the game for Tennessee, probably the best by far of the short Dooley era. Michael Palardy hit from 40 and 52 yards and even completed a first down pass on a fake punt in the second quarter. Palardy also punted the ball well getting great hang time to contain Bama's return game.
Special Teams: A