CFB Film Room Exposes Vols’ Inefficiencies

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    Photo Credit: Will Boling/RTI

    The Vols have put up some impressive numbers on offense as a whole through the first three games of the season this year, and the defense has piled up a ton of tackles. But behind those numbers are some troubling trends that came back to bite the Vols against Florida and could the rest of the season as well.

    According to CFB Film Room, a group of college football analysts who study film on major collegiate teams and evaluate them, the Vols’ offense has been highly inefficient this season when passing the ball.

    Their data concludes that on throws of 10 or more yards downfield this year, junior quarterback Quinten Dormady has completed just 11 of his 29 attempts, giving him a completion percentage of just 37.9 percent on passes of 10 or more yards. For comparison, freshman quarterback Jake Fromm of Georgia is completing 45 percent of his passes of 10 or more yards (9-of-20) and junior quarterback Nick Fitzgerald of Mississippi State is completing 41.9 percent of his passes of 10 yards or more downfield (13-of-31).

    Not only is Dormady struggling to complete passes downfield, but his offensive line isn’t helping him get enough time to study the field correctly.

    According to their analysis, the Vols are allowing the fourth-highest percentage of dropbacks under pressure so far this season in the SEC. Tennessee has only allowed two sacks this year, which is tied for second-fewest in the conference. But that number doesn’t tell the whole story.

    Tennessee has had 109 dropbacks this year through three games, and the Vols’ quarterbacks have been pressured on 37 of them. That means Dormady (and Guarantano at least in one game) has been pressured on 33.9 percent of his dropbacks.

    South Carolina, meanwhile, has the fewest dropbacks resulting in a quarterback pressure with their quarterback being pressured on just 25.2 percent of their dropbacks.

    Astonishingly, the Vols have the fourth-most dropbacks in the SEC so far this season. That means the Vols have dropped back to pass 109 times compared to just 92 rushing attempts on the season. And when you take out rushes by the quarterback, that leaves just 82 times the Vols have run the ball this season with their running backs. And the Vols’ running backs are averaging 5.9 yards per carry this season as well.

    If those numbers continue, it would mark the first time under Butch Jones that the Vols have passed more than they’ve run the ball in a season.

    But it’s not just the offense that’s struggling with inefficient play either. The defense is doing the same thing.

    One of Tennessee’s biggest issues on defense to start this season has been missing tackles. And according to CFB Film Room, the biggest culprit of that this year has been linebacker Colton Jumper.

    According to their data, Jumper has already missed 33 percent of the tackles he’s attempted this season. And it’s not hard to imagine some other Vol defenders have much better numbers than that either.

    If Tennessee wants to win some of their tougher conference games that are coming up, they need to clean up these mistakes and play more efficiently. Because glaring deficiencies like these will be exploited by the likes of Georgia, Alabama, LSU, and even South Carolina and Vanderbilt.

    There’s been one good thing on offense, however. And that’s been John Kelly.

    Not only are Kelly’s overall numbers great (540 yards of total offense, 7.5 yards per touch), but he’s been doing that work despite the blocking not always helping him out. According to CFB Film Room’s data, Kelly has piled up over 60 percent of his yards after initial contact. That means Kelly rarely goes down after the first defender meets him.

    But aside from Kelly’s impressive start to the year, the Vols have plenty they need to improve on both sides of the ball. The Vols can still correct these numbers, but it needs to start this weekend before they get back into SEC play.

    Nathanael Rutherford
    Nathanael Rutherford is the managing editor and social media manager for Rocky Top Insider. Nathanael graduated from the University of Tennessee and cultivated a passion for the Vols while growing up in Knoxville a mere 10 minutes from Neyland Stadium. He's been a part of the RTI team since November of 2015 and has been the editor of RTI since June of 2017. If he's not talking or writing about Tennessee athletics, he's probably talking about Star Wars.