IT's take
John Propst
John Propst

Posted Oct 29, 2011


Every week the InsideTennessee.com staff will bring you its reactions to each week's game. Read to see what Danny, Chris, Josh and Randy all have to say about Tennessee's 14-3 loss to South Carolina.

The InsideTennessee.com staff will bring you its point of view each week.

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

I didn't like the decision to start a freshman quarterback who had never thrown a college pass against a South Carolina team with an excellent pass defense before the game, and I liked it even less after the game. Justin Worley's inexperience proved costly as Tennessee managed just three points despite starting three possessions inside South Carolina's 30-yard line following turnovers.

The Vols converted just 2 of 14 third-down opportunities and Da'Rick Rogers dropped what should've been a 44-yard TD pass just before halftime. Worley and Matt Simms combined to complete just 15 of 38 passes, and the ground game mustered just 35 net yards on 21 carries.

Tennessee's woeful offensive performance (186 total yards) offset a pretty good effort by the Vol defense. Except for a 20-play, 98-yard touchdown drive it allowed in the third quarter, the Vol stop unit was pretty salty.

The kicking game failed to build on last week's strong effort versus Alabama. Michael Palardy had a 47-yard field goal partially blocked and booted an onsides kick out of bounds on the second-half kickoff. He and Matt Darr averaged just 36 yards on five punts.

Grades:

Offense: D-

Defense: B

Special Teams: C-

Danny Parker's thoughts

If Tennessee coaches would have been told that they would have held No. 14 South Carolina to 14 points, recover two fumbles and intercept a pass, they would have all but guaranteed a victory over the Gamecocks.

Though each of those took place, it simply wasn't enough to overcome a totally inept Volunteer offense that picked up just 10 first downs, tossed 23 incomplete passes, averaged 1.7 yards per carry and was 2 for 14 on third downs.

Freshman linebacker A.J. Johnson was a playmaker again for the Tennessee defense with 12 tackles and a key role in a fourth-quarter takeaway. He and the defense generated a pair of takeways but still allowed South Carolina to convert 10 of 18 third downs.

The Vols displayed likely their worst tackling job of the season and again no one was home on runs around the edge and when Gamecock quarterback Connor Shaw kept it on zone reads.

Vol kicker Michael Palardy completely hooked a 46-yard field goal attempt and a second-half on-side kick attempt looked ugly. But, the special teams did generate a takeaway and allowed just 3 yards on five punts.

Grades:

Offense: F

Defense: C

Special teams: C+

Chris Price’s thoughts

I can't be any more honest when I say that Tennessee is awful without Tyler Bray on offense. Justin Worley shouldn't have been out there tonight and either should Matt Simms. Neither looks like SEC quarterback and Derek Dooley is going to have to figure something out fast to win some football games.

The defense has improved nearly every week and did so again this week. Justin Wilcox schemed up the Gamecocks well and held them to just 14 points. They also created two turnovers that the offense failed to turn into points.

Alshon Jeffrey only managed to grab three catches for 17 yards. The secondary didn't give up any of their patented big plays, but when you take guys out of the box with Tennessee's depth you get gashed for 231 yards rushing.

Special teams didn't quite build on what they put together last week against Alabama. Michael Palardy had a 42-yard field goal attempt blocked and kicked a surprise-onside kick straight out of bounds coming out of the half.

To be honest, none of this really matters in less the Vols can get some better quarterback play.

Grades:

Offense: F

Defense: B+

Special Teams: C

Josh Woodward's thoughts

Well another week and we see yet again another Tennessee team. I should have guessed it would have been bad when the preacher prayed for Tyler Bray’s thumb during the invocation. Tennessee really misses Bray.

Offensively this teamed sucked, it’s the only way you can put it. Worley looked to have good pocket presence, but made a couple of horrible throws. The running game was a non factor again for the Vols. As Derek Dooley said the offense is just a “mess”.

Defensively Malik Jackson is playing like an All American on the defensive front and making plays when needed. They just couldn’t stop Connor Shaw running the draw. The secondary came through with an interception and also knocked the ball loss and the defense recovery the fumble. You can’t point this game at the defense.

Special Teams wasn’t as special tonight, Palardy had a field goal tipped and Tauren Poole shouldn’t be the deep man if I was the coach, he just doesn’t have the speed to get to the edge. Coverage was good and as Devrin Young is still a spark on teams.

Overall I think the team took a step back after playing two really good teams in consecutive weeks

Grades:

Offense: F

Defense: C

Special Teams: D


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