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Position Grades: Tennessee 59, ETSU 3

Defensive Line

Photo by Anne Newman/RTI

Nathanael: B+

Emmit Gooden was a force on the line when he was in the game, and he made several impressive plays. He was credited with Tennessee’s only sack, and he totaled three tackles for loss and led the team with eight total tackles. Kyle Phillips was disruptive with two batted passes (one that led to Darrin Kirkland’s pick-six), and Shy Tuttle moved around well and was in on several run plays. The Vols still failed to generate a lot of pressure on passing downs from their line, but that responsibility still mainly falls on the linebackers in the 3-4 defensive scheme.

Ben: B-

If it weren’t for Emmit Gooden, this grade would be lower. Similar to the offensive line, in terms of who they were playing, I didn’t think the defensive line played all that great. East Tennessee State averaged 4.3 yards per rush and the Vols failed to get pressure on the quarterback, only producing one sack. The linebackers contributed to the lack of pressure as well. Gooden recorded the team’s only sack on his way to eight tackles and three tackles for a loss. Kyle Phillips had two nice pass-breakups, one leading to a pick-six. Shy Tuttle forced himself into the backfield often, but did not register a tackle. My concern with the defensive line remains their depth.

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