Through two games of the 2017 season, Tennessee’s offense has already had its fair share of ups and downs. The offense struggled out of the gates against Georgia Tech, but they eventually recovered enough to help win that game even with their limited possessions. And in Week 2 against Indiana State, the offense worked on some of their shortcomings while also getting playing time for some younger players.
With a new starting quarterback, a new offensive coordinator, and several young players asked to do a lot on offense this year, fans didn’t know what to expect from the Vols’ offense this season. But so far, the offense as a whole has been right in the middle in the SEC.
Tennessee’s total yards per game on offense is currently 8th in SEC with an average of 382 yards a contest through two games. Their 6.06 yards per play is 7th in the league, and their 48 percent conversion rate on third down is the 5th-best rate in the SEC. The Vols are 4th in the conference in points per game after scoring 42 in both of their games this season.
But how does the Vols’ offense this season compare to the offense at this point in the season last year?
Through two games of the 2016 season, Tennessee’s offense last year was sloppy and inconsistent, far from an efficient, well-oiled machine. The Vols were 2-0 after wins over Appalachian State and Virginia Tech, but the offense as a whole was struggling to find a rhythm.
In Tennessee’s first two games of the 2016 season, Josh Dobbs was averaging 141.5 yards per game through the air and had tossed four touchdowns and two interceptions. He was averaging just 5.89 yards per attempt on his 48 pass attempts at that point.
The Vols’ rushing attack was faring better, but not a ton more from an efficiency standpoint. Tennessee averaged 183 yards on the ground and had scored four touchdowns on the ground. The Vols were averaging just 4.1 yards per carry in those two games, however.
As a whole, Tennessee’s offense was averaging 324.5 yards a game and 32.5 points a game through two games last season. They were also only converting 34.5 percent of their third downs this time last year as well.
So how does that stack up to what Tennessee’s offense is doing this year?
The Vols are averaging 228 yards through the air and 154 on the ground through two games this year, giving them a total of the aforementioned 382 yards per game on offense.
Not only is Tennessee averaging more yards per game on offense, but they’re more efficient right now too.
Tennessee is averaging 6.81 yards per pass attempt (Quinten Dormady is averaging 7.55) and the Vols are averaging 5.2 yards per carry. Tennessee’s passing attack has thrown five touchdowns compared to just one interception, and the rushing attack has six touchdowns. The offense is also converting 48 percent of their third downs as mentioned previously.
The Vols have played just two games this season, and their offense has faced a middle-of-the-road ACC defense and an FCS team. At this point last year, the Vols had faced a solid Group of Five team in Appalachian State and a Virginia Tech defense that finished in the top half of the ACC in most defensive categories. So take these numbers with a grain of salt.
But as Tennessee prepares to take on Florida, the offense this year, at least on paper, looks better than it did at this point last season.