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Checking the Film: A Closer Look at UT’s 50-16 win over UK

Joshua Dobbs-1

1st Quarter:

15:00: Rashaan Gaulden with another strong showing on kickoff coverage. He’s been making plays like this with regularity in recent weeks.

13:42: Derek Barnett with a ‘next-level’ tackle for loss right here. Freshmen defensive ends aren’t supposed to make plays like this.

-Tennessee sent a lot of different blitzes at Patrick Towles on this opening drive, and Kentucky had some really nice plays called that helped them avoid pressure and eat up yardage. There were a few times where it looked like Kentucky just sort of “guessed right” and had Tennessee out of position.

11:21: This is an example of one of those blitzes working. The Vols overloaded the right side of Kentucky’s protection by sending Randolph on a blitz and the running back elects to block him instead of Curt Maggitt. Maggitt reads his cues and is able to wrap up Towles and end Kentucky’s scoring threat.

10:32: This is what makes Dobbs so dangerous and so hard to prepare for. Kentucky does everything right on this play and has a defender in Dobbs’ face as he’s trying to throw the ball. Instead of allowing the pressure to get to him, Dobbs is able to shake the defender with a nice cut while keeping his eyes downfield and hit the receiver for the first down.

9:41: Perfect play-action pass here to freeze three Kentucky defenders and allow Marlin Lane to find an opening over the middle of the field. Dobbs also did a very nice job of throwing the football slightly behind Lane to help guide him away from the safety that was crashing down on him. With the perfect fake, Kentucky had no chance.

9:19: This is a prime example of why Tennessee has elected to use so much pre-snap motion since Dobbs has been in the starting line up. Watch the linebacker closest to the bottom of the screen (at the left hash from the quarterback’s viewpoint). As Dobbs flips the ball to Pearson on the sweep motion, the linebacker has no idea and keeps his eyes glued to the backfield. He looks at Marlin and Joshua until Pearson is already beyond him, which is bad news. After that, Pearson does Pearson things and the Vols get an easy touchdown on the board early. The safety had no chance against Pearson in the open field. That’s a play that Tennessee won when Pearson signed his LOI.

8:47: Emmanuel Moseley makes an incredible play on the ball for a true freshman right here. He doesn’t bite on any of the shenanigans going on in the backfield and keeps his eyes on the man he is defending. He chases his man to the sideline and makes a play on the ball by reading the receivers eyes and sticking his hand in at the last possible second. This is a veteran play by an eighteen year old true freshman in his first career start at cornerback.

7:06: Malone should have used two hands to make the catch here. The ball wasn’t thrown perfectly, but that’s a play that Josh Malone can make with a little better effort.

5:16: This is a perfectly designed blitz by John Jancek to beat Kentucky’s protection. Corey Vereen and Owen Williams run a twist, which leaves Williams with a clean path to the quarterback after going outside of Vereen and the right tackle. This would have likely been a pressure for Williams had Justin Coleman not beat him to the quarterback with the corner blitz and forced the poor throw. However, Coleman does get there first and hits Phillips as he’s releasing the ball. The ball flies into the waiting arms of Brian Randolph and he is able to return it for a touchdown. The twist confused the offensive linemen in the first place, but Coleman’s blitz left them no chance of protecting the quarterback on this play. I’m actually convinced that Randolph is able to make a play on this pass whether Coleman had hit Phillips or not, as it appeared Phillips had absolutely no idea what Tennessee was doing with this coverage. The running back was open in the flat, but Phillips never gives him a look.

5:00: Kentucky can’t get Towles back in the game fast enough at this point. They just try to run the ball and stop the bleeding.

3:45: Lots of movement by the Vols in an attempt to confuse Kentucky’s offense and Phillips before the snap – and it works. Phillips thinks it’s going to be a blitz, but the Vols actually end up sending only three players after the quarterback. Maggitt is able to apply pressure after a nasty spin-move, and Phillips is forced to throw the ball away to avoid taking the sack. Really nice bait-and-switch by Jancek on this play.

1:33: Here’s a glimpse some of the inconsistent throws that the coaches have mentioned from Dobbs. Not a huge mistake, but if he cleans these up, there may be no stopping him.

46: I really like the call by Butch Jones to go for it on 4th down. Maybe not the play call itself, but this was a great time to try and keep momentum early in the game. Also a great effort by Dobbs to fight for the first down.

2nd Quarter

14:53: Another gutsy call for Jones that paid off on 4th and an inch.

13:30: What an outstanding individual effort by Von Pearson to get into the end zone. Tennessee runs a little bit of a “rub” with Croom and Pearson to get Von some separation, and after that it’s all about grit and toughness. Von gives the first defender the okie-doke and then lowers his shoulder and delivers the hit to the safety and drives him backwards to earn all six of his points. A healthy Von Pearson is a serious weapon for Tennessee…and he is finally getting close to 100%.

13:21: Why do people continue to pick on Cam Sutton? This was very nearly another interception.

12:00: Another mis-throw by Dobbs when he had Howard running back towards him. Again, these aren’t catastrophic mistakes, but if he cleans up this area of his game then the sky is the limit for him and this offense moving forward.

10:40: Tennessee fakes the sweep to Johnathon Johnson AND the handoff to marlin Lane on this play before slipping Ethan Wolf down the sidelines for a big play. Wolf fakes like he is setting up to block, witch causes the defender to go into block-shedding mode before Wolf explodes past him. Kentucky is left with four defenders covering the short-middle of the field and Wolf is wide open for an easy pitch and catch.

 7:43: This is more of a 3-3 look than a 4-2 since Maggitt is playing in his “hybrid” role. Maggitt drops into coverage and A.J. Johnson and Jalen Reeves-Maybin blitz Towles up the middle, taking away any room for him to step into as the pocket collapses. Barnett gets a nice bull-rush against the left tackle and is able to drive him backwards before getting just enough on Towles to cause the sack. Again, very nice scheme by Jancek and very nice individual effort by Derek Barnett to make a big play on 3rd down.

6:25: Another great individual effort by a Tennessee wide receiver. Jason Croom catches this ball a yard behind the line of scrimmage and is able to trek forward with Wildcats on his back for a first down. I think he likes playing against Kentucky.

4:14: Zone-read keeper by Dobbs for the score. Tennessee ran Jalen a bunch on this drive and then fooled them in the red zone with this play. Perfectly run play by Dobbs and the offense.

:55: Great play by Jason Croom to high-point the football, go up and make a play that put Tennessee in the red zone before halftime. They would only score a field goal on this drive, but it was still a nice demonstration of how well this team has run their two-minute offense this season with Josh Dobbs at quarterback.

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