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The Midseason Review


Reed Carringer:

Most pleasant surprise: Trevor Daniel, without question, has been the biggest surprise this season. Many of us didn’t even think he’d win the starting job – he did – and he’s been one of the best punters in the nation. Daniel ranks second in the SEC in punts per game, punt average and punting yards per game. He has pinned opponents inside the 20 on 13 occasions through six games this year. He just may be the MVP if Team 119 at the halfway mark.
Biggest disappointment: Tennessee’s ability to closeout games. Before the win over Georgia, the Vols had lost three straight FBS games in which they held a double digit lead. That’s remarkable, concerning and alarming. The Vols should be 5-1 at worst at this point, but they’re 3-3 thanks to conservative calls late and their inability to hold a lead.
How I was right about this team: My preseason predictions were close. I had the Vols at 4-2, with losses to Oklahoma and Arkansas, at this point in the season. The topsy turvy first six games couldn’t have been predicted by anyone, but I did expect them to finally get over the hump against Georgia and lose battles with Arkansas and Oklahoma.
How I was wrong about this team: I 100% believed the streak would end this year…and it should have. Beyond that, I pegged Joshua Dobbs as an All-SEC quarterback before the season. He certainly looked like one against Georgia, but failed to get going in Tennessee’s first five games. He may well yet reach All-SEC status this season, but I didn’t expect him to struggle as much has he did prior to the Georgia game. Tennessee’s defense, especially in key situations, has also struggled mightily. Injuries have played a role, but I expected that group to be one of the SEC’s best this season.
Second-half of the season expectations: The Vols should go 5-1 down the stretch. Despite their struggles late in games, they demonstrated in the first half of the year that they’re good enough to beat the remaining teams on their schedule except Alabama.
One bold prediction for the rest of the year: Tennessee will blow another two possession lead – this time against Alabama.

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