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Grading the Vols’ Performance Through Five Weeks

Special Teams

Photo by Allie Suber/RTI

Nathanael: B

Marquez Callaway’s fumbled punt and the Vols’ inability to get much going in any facet of their return game holds their special teams back from getting an “A.” Because other than those issues, the Vols’ special teams have actually been very solid this year.

Joe Doyle has taken over very well as Tennessee’s starting punter, and Brent Cimaglia has been good at kicking field goals (though he hasn’t been asked to do it often). The Vols’ return coverages have been phenomenal, and they haven’t allowed much in the way of returns all season. Tennessee also has a blocked punt that got returned for a touchdown against ETSU.

If not for the poor returning game this season, the Vols’ special teams would easily be the best unit on the team so far. As it stands, they’re still a very solid group who have largely been the most consistent aspect of the team.

Ben: B-

Like many positions, special teams has been solid to start the season, but not great.

He’s had just four field goal attempts on the season, but Brent Cimaglia hasn’t missed this year and leads the SEC in field goal percentage. At punter, Joe Doyle is averaging over 40 yards per punt after taking over for Trevor Daniel. Tennessee’s punt coverage team has been the best in the conference, allowing just four returns and -0.50 yards per return. Kicking off, Paxton Brooks has sailed 13 through the end zone on the way to allowing just seven returns this season, third-best in the SEC.

The struggles on special teams has been the lack of production on returns, both on kickoffs and punts, and mental mistakes. On punt returns, Tennessee is averaging just 6.0 yards per return, despite a punt block for a touchdown. On kickoffs, the Vols have returned seven kicks for just 21.2 yards. The three consecutive illegal formations against Georgia has been the most disappointing aspect of the special teams unit this season.

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One Response

  1. No way the QB gets a B-. UT has a QB that has no feel for the game, cannot read defenses, and has no running ability. JG is the worse QB in the conference behind the worse line in the conference.
    I grade him a D- at best, just due to the fact he has improved from last year in the “throw game” (but not by much) and is playing behind this horrible offensive line.

    With this team, we need a true mobile QB that can make plays with the legs. I would bring Jennings back to QB and let him run the team against Auburn, Miz, Kent, Charlotte, and Vandy. We have no chance with JT.


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