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Film Review: A Second Look at UT-Virginia Tech

Photo Credit: Mason Burgin/RTI
Photo Credit: Mason Burgin/RTI

Some things that stood out after watching Tennessee-Virginia Tech a second time:

O-line struggles continue: Just like in Week 1, it didn’t take a film session to see that the offensive line had some issues, but the tape certainly confirmed it. I thought the left side of the offensive line – Jashon Robertson and Drew Richmond – both had poor nights.

Dylan Wiesman was better, and I thought Coleman Thomas was a touch better, but still not great. The best look in my opinion was (L to R) Brett Kendrick, Robertson, Wiesman, Jack Jones, Coleman Thomas. I thought Jones, in particular, played well when given the opportunity. He absolutely should be in the conversation to start against Ohio on Saturday.

Here are a few of the struggles in protection I found on film:

I will give Mike DeBord credit for making some offensive adjustments. I have a working theory that DeBord and the coaching staff came into the season feeling pretty good about the offensive line (as they should have), but they’re having to adjust on the fly because that unit is not playing as well as they expected. That means more protection from the backs and tight ends, more quick pass plays and moving Dobbs around regularly. That’s what they did in late 2014 (albeit under a new coordinator), and it rejuvenated the offense.

VT’s terrible timing: Watching the game again really emphasized how inopportune a couple of VT’s turnovers were. I want to highlight the first one and the second to last one. The impact of the first was pretty obvious. Everybody remembers the early touchdowns for VT, but the Hokies actually had three masterful drives to start the game, with one coming up empty due to a missed field goal. Tennessee wasn’t able to get anything going offensively either, so VT was in a great spot holding the ball with a 14-0 edge and three great series under its belt.

There’s a timing issue between Sam Rogers and Jerod Evans here and the ball pops free on the jet sweep handoff. Todd Kelly Jr. dives for it, knocks it forward and SEC Defensive Player of the Week Micah Abernathy shows great instincts and hustle to dive on the ball.

Timing was everything for this next one too. There are still over 10 minutes to go in the game at this point, and the Hokies are a couple steps away from advancing it into the red zone. UT’s offense had stalled the previous two drives as well. A touchdown makes it a one-possession game with plenty of time and three timeouts remaining for VT. There’s no reason to recount some of UT’s late meltdowns last year – you’re likely aware of them. Tennessee actually benefits from a missed tackle by Colton Jumper on this play because it slows the runner just enough to allow Kendal Vickers, who is hustling, to catch up with him and knock the ball. Micah Abernathy, of course, it s the man there ready to scoop it up.

#FreeDobbs: I don’t care a ton about Dobbs’ final line as a passer. I thought he played a very good game. Here’s one great example of why:

Robertson gets beat on the stunt by VT, but Dobbs makes the offense right even when it was wrong. He eludes the pressure, simultaneously giving Kamara time to get open (another view shows that the defender guarding Kamara bumped against Josh Malone as he ran across the field and lost him) and makes the easy toss to let Kamara do his thing.

Dobbs only needs his feet here:

Watch the defensive end on the right side of the VT line. He doesn’t stay outside, signaling for Dobbs to keep it on the read. That gives Dobbs space for a few yards, and then his athleticism takes over from there.

And you have to like the trust he’s building with Josh Malone. Dobbs takes about three steps, plants and trusts his 6-foot-3 receiver to go up and make the play.


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