InsideTennessee.com staff give you our thoughts following the Alabama loss. Check back each week as we give you our post game take.
Randy Moore's thoughts
Tennessee allowed 43.0 points per game in its first three SEC games, so the fact Alabama scored 44 Saturday night at Neyland Stadium was no big surprise. The Vol pass defense gave A.J. McCarron's Heisman hopes a boost, allowing him to complete 17 of 22 passes for 306 yards and four touchdowns. T.J. Yeldon broke a 43-yard touchdown run and averaged almost 9.0 yards per carry against a Big Orange run defense that wore out late, allowing touchdown drives of 67, 80 and 58 yards in the game's final 20 minutes. Vol quarterback Tyler Bray struggled all evening, completing just 13 of 27 for 184 yards with two interceptions, one setting up a short-field Bama touchdown and the other – a ball thrown way, way late – costing Tennessee a TD. Justin Hunter had another big drop, mishandling a pass just before halftime that probably would've produced a 63-yard touchdown and pulled the Vols within 23-17 at the break. Michael Palardy punted well, made two field goals and a PAT and kicked off well. Cordarrelle Patterson had another electrifying night returning kicks and Devrin Young was solid returning punts. Tennessee even blocked a Bama PAT, so the special teams play was very good, except that Bama had one 32-yard punt return.
Special Teams: B
Chris Price's thoughts
Can't say this game was much different than I expected. Alabama is a superior team at almost every position and Tennessee's more talented players didn't step up when they had to. As a result, Alabama made Neyland Stadium a home field.
Justin Hunter missed another big catch before the half that should have put Tennessee into field goal range. And Palardy may have actually made that field goal. He was a bright spot on the night hitting from 32 and 21.
Other bright spots included Cordarrelle Patterson and Marlin Lane. Patterson was electric once again almost every time he touched the football and Lane ran like a man with something to prove.
On defense, seems like same old same old. All three of Alabama's top play makers had career days in A.J. McCarron, T.J. Yeldon and Amari Cooper. Two of which are freshmen. Yikes.
Special Teams: B
Josh Woodward’s thoughts
Well it’s bad, really bad, for the life of me I can ’t figure out the play calling. Tennessee’s offensive line is playing really well, why they don’t line up and run the ball in an eye formation is beyond me. Tennessee can run the ball; it will set up the play action pass. Two weeks in a row on 3rd and short Tennessee throws deep. Tyler Bray has progressively gotten worse as the year has went any chance of him going pro is ludicrous. Bray is locking on his receivers and letting the defensive backs jump the routes. Tennessee coaches have to get some rhythm in this offense, it is hard to watch the flow of the game, they are out scheming themselves sometimes.
Well not to be out done by the offense tonight the Tennessee defense just plain sucked. Missed tackle after missed tackle, the worst secondary in the SEC. Why not play Deion Bonner and some of the other freshman corners. A.J. Johnson is the lone bright spot on defense and yet seems to be a step slow getting to the ball. Jordan Williams and Trevarris Saulsberry got some action tonight, to bad Saulsberry got his first action against Bama.
Special Teams wasn’t that bad other than the Palardy line drive punt that didn’t allow his coverage to get to the ball. Cordarrelle Patterson continues to be special on kickoff returns, he reminds me of Dale Carter or Carl Pickens. Anytime he touches the ball he has a chance to score. Palardy’s kickoffs looked good and went through the end zone.
Special Teams: C
Danny Parker's thoughts
What was expected to happen happened.
Multi score loss? Check. Alabama fans taking over Neyland Stadium? Check. Questions about stability of coaching staff? Check.
Losing by 31 to a team as talented as the top-ranked Crimson Tide isn't the end of the world. However, the clock management at the end of the half was gut-wrenchingly confusing. And, Tyler Bray again failing to step up against a formidable foe is most disappointing.
Quarterback A.J. McCarron is the symbol of efficiency for Alabama. The guy checks down when he needs to. He gets the Tide out of bad plays. He realizes when he has a favorable matchup pre-snap and attacks weaknesses. Hopefully, Bray was paying attention.
Linebacker A J Johnson and cornerback Justin Coleman combining for 27 tackles is a slight bright spot. Maurice Couch and Darrington Sentimore both had quite possibly their best games in orange, but a consistent pass rush is still lacking.
Michael Palardy is stepping up enough as a kicker and punter to where he no longer is blasted in this weekly piece. Thumbs up.
Special Teams: B