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Checking the Film: A Second Look at UT’s Loss to Georgia

1st Quarter:

14:54: Interesting that Marlin Lane is still the starter despite Jalen Hurd clearly being the top back on the team.

14:29: A little bit of a different look on offense here with somewhat of a diamond look in the backfield. Justin Worley’s in the pistol with Marlin Lane and Ethan Wolf on his side and Jalen Hurd behind him. Not great blocking on the play, but Hurd gets enough for a quick first down.

13:34: Here’s the Wildcat look (the Thundering Hurd?). Tennessee does a good job getting in formation quickly so Georgia doesn’t have as much time to adapt to this new wrinkle. Hurd takes the direct snap and gets a fantastic block by Kyler Kerbyson and some help from Lane to get around the left end for a first down. Coleman Thomas probably should’e been whistled for a false start, but he gets away with it. That’s noteworthy because UT does get a false start later in the Wildcat. The different cadence can disrupt timing.

11:50: After a couple nice throws, Justin Worley gets great protection, has Pig Howard open on the post and he simply misses him high and is lucky a safety wasn’t there to intercept it. That might’ve cost Tennessee points, but great kick by Aaron Medley to give the Vols 3 to cap off a nice first drive.

11:34: There’s the 4-3 defense with LaDarrell McNeil walked up in the box as a hybrid fourth linebacker. I thought that was a great early plan to combat Todd Gurley and the Georgia rushing offense.

10:04: Vols weren’t set and they give the Bulldogs a gimme first down on a fourth-and-short sneak.

8:16: Dillon Bates is sooo close to blocking the Georgia punt. That would’ve been quite a role reversal for a Bates to make a massive play against UGA.

7:08: Great play call and a great route by Johnathon Johnson here. The Vols have run so many short patterns this year and Georgia knows that from film. But in this case, Johnson runs a quick out and then turns up field. Justin Worley makes a nice throw as Johnson gets a step on the defender and turns it into a 20+ yard gain.

6:52: Tennessee had three tight ends on the field for this 4-yard run by Jalen Hurd. They didn’t have three healthy TEs on the roster for much of 2013.

6:19: Maybe the worst throw of the year for Justin Worley here. Marlin Lane slips out of the backfield and he is wide open for what would’ve been a touchdown. Worley just misses him. He redeems himself this drive, but that can’t happen if Tennessee is going to win tough games.

6:10: That’s why you look for Jason Croom on third down. He caught it about a yard short of the first down, but he used his size and strength to drag the UGA defender for the first down. Tack on a facemask and the Vols are in business inside the 10.

5:11: This is where it’s nice to have big back. Jalen Hurd was hit at the 1, but he’s strong enough to bounce off the contact and power it into the end zone and it’s 10-0 Vols.

5:00: Just an incredible shoestring tackle on Gurley by Jalen Reeves-Maybin. Gurley rarely goes down like that.

3:30: Georgia brings the corner blitz off the left side of the defense. Pig Howard does a good job adjusting to a quick stop that was open, but Worley never sees him and he goes down for a big sack. There wasn’t much the Vols could do to block that – UGA brought one more than UT had – so Worley has to make that adjustment and get rid of the ball. I thought this was a big play in the game. It backed UT up, got the crowd in it and the momentum really started to swing after that.

2:25: The Vols get a nice punt from Matt Darr, but Isaiah McKenzie is electric and UT leaves him a tiny lane that he exposes. You can argue for a block in the back committed against Cortez McDowell, but the UGA defender throws his hands up in the air just as he engages him and the ref doesn’t throw the flag. Another big play that swung momentum. The stadium had a different energy after this point.

2:08: Freshman mistake by Derek Barnett. He gets reach blocked and pinned inside, giving the corner to Todd Gurley who takes it down inside the red zone.

1:12: Nice play design here by Georgia. Huston Mason fakes to Gurley – the defense understandably bites on it – and Mason carries it around left end for the easy 3-yard touchdown run.

:42: Here’s the aforementioned false start out of the Wildcat. Timing and rhythm just a little off with somebody else taking the snap. That negative play forces the Vols into passing situation…Georgia knows to bring pressure and the Vols get sacked two plays later and have to punt again. Not a great series for Kyler Kerbyson, who jumped early and conceded a sack.


2nd Quarter:

14:14: The Vols get the first interception from Huston Mason all season. Great play by Todd Kelly Jr. to read his eyes and jump off of one man and into the throwing lane and a very athletic dive and catch to secure the turnover.

13:44: I like the thought. Worley gets Josh Malone in one-on-one coverage and takes a shot down the field. Not a great throw and Malone does a good job making sure that nobody catches it since he can’t.

13:36: Thought Worley hit the wrong guy here. He throws it to Howard short of the first down when Marquez North was open across the middle and had a chance to get the first. Instead, the Vols will punt again and the Vols squander great field position.

12:02: Nice effort by Huston Mason here, who hustles downfield to actually block Todd Kelly Jr. to spring Gurley into Tennessee territory.

– Nothing too special about this entire second scoring drive for Georgia. The Bulldogs used all their backs, ran the ball well, hit some short passes and Gurley finishes it off (8:47) with a nice dive over the pile. Just a well-executed drive.

6:18: Tennessee tries a draw play on 3rd and 5 here. It’s not a bad call. The Vols have numbers in the box, but they don’t pick up a Georgia stunt and Marlin Lane is stuff in the backfield to end UT’s fourth straight drive without points.

2:45: Georgia simply executed so well all second quarter. On this play, Georgia takes out Corey Vereen, Cam Sutton and Jalen Reeves-Maybin and gets Gurley to the edge for yet another long gain.

1:25: Tennessee gets caught in a zone blitz here. Defensive end Corey Vereen drops into coverage against running back Nick Chubb and that’s a mismatch. Mason finds Chubb, who gets a step on Vereen, weaves through the defense and takes it in for Georgia’s third unanswered touchdown.

1:17: Often a team will run a screen or draw early in this type of situation to see if it can get some positive yardage to determine if it’s best to sit on it before halftime or try to get some point. The Vols do just that here and Hurd powers forward for about 18 yards, making the decision to keep pushing down the field much easier.

:55: Another great run by Hurd off the draw and a heady freshman play to get out of bounds to save more time on the clock.

:25: That’s an NFL-quality catch by Jason Croom. He uses his size to get a little separation, goes up and gets the ball and actually gets two feet down while cradling the ball for possession. Huge catch, huge drive and a huge score to pull Tennessee back to within one score heading into halftime.


3rd Quarter:

14:54: The Vols come out with eight players in the box including five down-linemen on this particular play. The focus on Georgia was to stop the run, so all of the linebackers bite on the play-action and Mason is able to throw an easy completion to the outside. People who knock Coleman for this play have to understand that his only responsibility on this play is to not get beat over the top. That’s why he comes out of his backpedal so early and sprints ahead of the defender. This is what Tennessee wanted to force Georgia to do…Georgia just made a play here.

14:33:  Solely because of their success on the previous play, and the fact that Sutton isn’t playing as far off of his man as Coleman was, Georgia thinks they can beat Sutton deep down the sideline. Sutton is too good for this, though, and gets a hand on the receiver as he comes out of the break to slow him down (a legal play). Mason clutches the ball briefly before throwing an easy ball for Sutton to snag and come down with the interception. Mason had ZERO chance to complete this pass on this play, as Sutton had his man perfectly defended. Sutton is truly among the nation’s elite corners.

12:27: Tennessee gave Georgia a front to run into on first down and dropped into coverage because Gurley wasn’t on the field. Instead of running it with the injured true freshman, Nick Chubb, Georgia elected to throw a quick pass that Tennessee had perfectly covered. The protection breaks down as Mason goes through his progression and he is forced to get what he can by falling forward. Great call and great execution by the Vol defense on this one.

11:21: Sutton would have had another pick here if he doesn’t slip.

10:31: Not sure what the protection was, but Jashon Robertson ends up in no man’s land on this one and blocks nobody. Coleman Thomas does a nice job early but eventually gets beat outside and gives up the hit on Worley. In a perfect world, Robertson adjusts and helps Coleman with the DE, but that may not have been an option. Just a fluke injury for Worley that certainly altered the flow of this game as he was hit on the inside of his elbow (funny bone) and suffered a small cut.

10:13: 100% illegal play by the punt returner. The refs missed this one. It should have been half the distance to the goal.

10:02: Todd, meet A.J. A.J., meet Todd.

9:30: It had zero bearing on the play, but watch LaDarrell McNeil come flying in and absolutely destroy the UGA fullback on this play. He is playing the best football of his career and has really given this team a viable option against run-heavy teams this season. He deserves a lot of credit for his approach to the game this season.

8:52: Really nice delayed blitz by Jalen Reeves-Maybin here to force a bad throw from Mason, and a great job by McNeil to knock the ball down in coverage.

6:49: Outstanding play call that could have gone for a touchdown if Malone cuts it to the outside (or if it was CP who ended up with the ball). Credit Bajakian for knowing when to take advantage of Georgia’s over-pursuit, he completely fooled Pruitt’s boys on this one.

5:23: It’s impossible to tell who’s fault this fumble is. Each player thinks the other one has it and the ball just falls flat to the ground. The play was doomed either way, as UGA sent an extra blitzing linebacker to the read-side, but what should have been a loss of two or three ends up being a turnover. Really tough break for the Vols, who were in field goal range before the turnover. This is what happens when two guys who don’t get a lot of reps together during the week are thrown in together at a critical moment.

2:03: This is how close the difference between winning and losing is. Tennessee is inches away from recovering this fumble in a crucial spot, but can’t scoop it up before Nick Chubb can regain possession.

1:01: Same as above. So close to flipping the field and giving the offense momentum, but Georgia is able to fall on it.

-Just an observation: Jalen Hurd ran harder than any Tennessee running back in the last 5 years. He fought for extra yards, broke tackles and rarely let one guy make the tackle. He has an extremely bright future if he can keep this up…Also, where are all of those people who said he was too tall to play running back?


4th Quarter:

13:55: This is the third straight blitz by Georgia on this possession. They were clearly trying to get to Peterman and force a mistake. Peterman was able to avoid the sack, but the Vols were forced to punt. I’m a little surprised that they didn’t attempt a screen or a draw on this possession to slow down the pass-rush.

13:37: This is a great play by the Vol defense here. Georgia fakes the sweep to Gurley and tries to catch Tennessee sleeping with the fullback blast. Tennessee used to run this play a lot with Shawn Bryson back in the nineties and would often hit it for a big gain. Credit the defense for not falling asleep on this one.

12:45: It looks like Jalen Hurd was supposed to help out Kyler Kerbyson in pass protection, but both players miss their assignments and Georgia has two free rushers bearing down on Peterman in no time. Credit Peterman for even getting a pass off here, as he was given little time to make a decision before getting absolutely drilled.

11:23: This would have been a tough catch for North, but it’s one that he needs to come down with. Peterman went through his progression and was able to deliver a catchable ball under duress, so even though it was a little late, you’d like to see North come down with this one.

11:19: Credit Georgia on this one, they completely fooled Peterman by showing a blitz from the left but sending it from the cornerback on the right side. It looks like Peterman adjusts the protection to the left and leaves his blindside exposed to the blitzing corner. Coleman Thomas decides to block the corner instead of the defensive end, but it wouldn’t have mattered either way – Georgia had the perfect play called. Peterman was very fortunate that this wasn’t a turnover.

– Matt Darr had a really nice day punting the football. Butch Jones was very hard on him in practice all week and it appears that Darr received the message. If he keeps it up, Darr could prove to be a huge weapon for the Vols the rest of the season.

9:40: Georgia ran five plays on this drive and four of them were runs by Gurley. He is just a sensational player and Georgia knew that he could eventually make a big play if they gave him the ball enough. The play was well blocked and Gurley made Brian Randolph miss in the open field. Sometimes you just have to tip your cap to a great player making a great play.

8:16: Incredible throw by Worley to get his feet set while sidestepping pressure to deliver a strike to Pig Howard over the middle. It’s hard not to wonder what the score is at this point if Worley doesn’t miss that time with the elbow injury. It was clear that he was dialed in to what Georgia was doing defensively and was throwing the ball with a lot of confidence.

-What an unreal catch by Daniel Helm on the two-point conversion. I know Ethan Wolf is getting most of the credit between these two, but when healthy, Helm is a weapon in the red zone.

7:59: Great players make great plays. Todd Gurley is great.

6:40: Tennessee puts nine players in the box right here and Georgia runs right into the teeth of it with Nick Chubb. Huge play for the defense to get ahead of the chains late it the game.

5:27: A.J. Johnson has clearly added some speed to his game. If he can stay under control on this play he has a good shot at forcing a turnover or at least getting the sack, which would have been huge considering the unreal punt on the next play that leads to a fumble by Tennessee in their end zone.

4:32: Georgia gets great penetration and Hurd probably takes his eye off of the handoff to look for the hole to run through. The ball lands on the ground and Georgia recovers. Extremely tough break, but a fixable problem that the freshman will learn from.

3:35: This was Worley’s best throw of the day. A perfect strike over the linebackers and in front of the safeties in crunch time. Ethan Wolf had this same route fall incomplete earlier in the game because he didn’t get his head turned around in time to look for the ball. The freshman made an in-game adjustment and pulls in a nice catch when the Vols needed it to stay in the game.

2:17: Nice way to end the drive when they had to have a touchdown. Marquez North didn’t get as many looks as I expected, but he made the most of this one and came down with an acrobatic catch for the score.

-Butch Jones looked like he was ready to strangle Steve Stripling after that onside kick. Wow. The rest of this is the Todd Gurley show…I recommend you stop now.

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