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Report Card: No. 4 Alabama 34 Tennessee 20

A.J. Johnson-1

 Linebackers

Daniel: It was a fairly quiet night for this group. A.J. Johnson had eight tackles, but no huge impact plays. Curt Maggitt recorded the Vols’ only sack and Jalen Reeves-Maybin recovered a fumble. Alabama opened some massive lanes in the running game and big runs by Blake Sims and Derrick Henry helped the Tide put the game out of reach. The numbers weren’t too bad overall. Alabama finished under its season average in rushing with 183 yards and the Vols held them to a respectable 4.5 yards per carry. That’s not too bad considering the caliber of running back that were on the field. But it didn’t feel like this group really impacted the game the way it had in the past. I thought the LBs took some bad angles when Sims ran and they were in some compromising positions in coverage a few times as well. Not a horrible night, but, again, the early outburst by Alabama’s offense put UT too far behind. Grade: C-

Houston: I’m with Daniel on this one. It was a very quiet night for the linebackers. Very few impact plays and they were actually aided by some drops and missed passes by Blake Sims to running backs out of the backfield or it would have been even worse for them in pass coverage. I thought A.J. Johnson and Jalen Reeves-Maybin each overran some plays and missed some tackles on Blake Sims, Derrick Henry and T.J. Yeldon that could have proved the difference in getting off the field on third down or not. Not a dreadful performance considering the opponent, but not a night to hang their hat on either.  Grade: C

Reed: This group got burned by over pursuit on the opening play of the game. They missed too many tackles on Blake Sims and Bama’s running backs and took poor angles on multiple occasions. This season, the Vols have been getting tons of impact plays from linebackers, but they managed just 1.5 TFLs as a group against Alabama. They weren’t awful, but, overall, they gave up more big plays than they caused, hence the below average grade. The “+” is for Reeves–Maybin’s fumble recovery. Grade: D+

Average Grade: C-

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