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Report Card: Tennessee’s 2014 Season

Aaron Medley-1

 Special Teams

Daniel: The Vols missed do-it-all kicker Michael Palardy to an extent, but kicker Aaron Medley and punter Matt Darr both stepped up to fill his shoes well. Medley, especially, was a pleasant surprise as the true freshman connected on 20-of-26 field goals (second most made in the SEC) and all but one of his extra points on the season. He was also consistent on kickoffs. Darr shook off his somewhat inconsistent label to put together a solid season that included an average of 42.2 yards per punt and 30 punts downed inside the 20. Cam Sutton was a dangerous punt returner, who had a huge TD against Vandy. Evan Berry ended the season as a feared kickoff returner as well. Coverage was outstanding too, with Tennessee finishing second in the conference in opponent kickoff and punt return average. Tennessee’s overall upgrade in athleticism was clearly shown on special teams in 2014.  Grade: A

Houston: True freshman Aaron Medley may end up as Tennessee’s most successful kicker of all time if his freshman season was any indicator, and Matt Darr finally had the season he was capable of as a punter. Teams refused to punt to Cam Sutton for most of the season, and the sophomore showed why in the regular season finale against Vanderbilt with a game changing 75-yard house call that proved to be the difference in the game. Evan Berry’s emergence as Tennessee’s kick returner should mean very good things in the future, as Berry made the most of Devrin Young’s injury and finished the season in the top-10 nationally in yards per return. Tennessee was near the top of the SEC in both kick and punt coverage units and didn’t give up a return touchdown all season long. A very strong year from all of Tennessee’s special teams units.  Grade A

Reed: Stop the presses, folks, the Vols won the special teams game more than they lost it this season. Aaron Medley went 20-26 on field goals and was consistent on kick offs. Matt Darr wasn’t spectacular but managed to down a ton of punts inside the 20. Evan Berry ranked top-10 nationally in kick return average and Cam Sutton provided a spark at punt returner. Kick and punt return coverage was a massive strength for the Volunteers – they ranked 2nd in opponent kick and punt return average in the SEC. Give credit to more team speed across the board for that and give credit to Mark Elder for a job well done. Grade: A

Average Grade: A

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