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Report Card: No. 4 Alabama 34 Tennessee 20

Defensive line Owen Williams-1

 Defensive Line

Daniel: Not a great night overall for this bunch. Derek Barnett, who continues to impress, had the best performance, recording six tackles and 1.5 TFLs. Corey Vereen hopped on the botched handoff in the second half. But like the linebackers, not a ton of impact plays from this group. Maggitt (who plays as a hybrid LB/DE) recorded the lone sack and when the Vols did get pressure on Sims, he generally was able to elude it and pick up yardage on the ground or make a throw on the run. They weren’t regularly blown off the line by Alabama, but the Tide did a good job of creating lanes up front. Depth and injuries are a concern going forward. Trevarris Saulsberry had to be helped off the field and Owen Williams and Jordan Williams both were slowing getting off at other points. Grade: C-

Houston:  Containing Sims and getting him on the ground when given the opportunity to do so were the only hope this group had, and they were able to accomplish neither. Blake Sims routinely broke contain, tackles and hearts as he avoided pressure and did what he had to do to move the chains. Tennessee wasn’t helped by various injuries to defensive tackles Owen Williams, Jordan Williams and Trevarris Saulsberry throughout the game. The depth concerns at tackle are very real right now, and Tennessee may have to get creative moving forward to put out effective lines if any of those guys are to miss extended time. Derek Barnet continues to shine, but Coery Vereen disappeared in this game after his best performance of the year against Ole Miss. Grade: C

Reed: Like with the Vol linebackers, I expected more big plays from this group. They were squaring off against a banged up and inexperienced Alabama offensive line, but really struggled to put pressure on Sims. They didn’t record a sack and lost contain on Sims multiple times. Barnett was a bright spot yet again with 1.5 TFLs and six tackles. For the most part, Alabama moved UT’s defensive linemen around and opened up big holes in the running game. On the bright side, hustle and lateral pursuit from Vol defensive linemen resulted in a few big stops on stretch plays. Grade: C

Average Grade: C

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