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Grading the Vols’ Performance Through Five Weeks

Offensive Line

Photo by Anne Newman/RTI

Nathanael: F

You’ve watched the games just like we have. You know how bad the offensive line has been. The only reason they’ve been as “good” as they’ve been in pass blocking, in my opinion, is because the Vols have been utilizing quicker passes and have been trying to mask their deficiencies there. There’s still been far too many times where Guarantano has been knocked down or pressured when he shouldn’t have been.

Then there’s the blocking in the run game. The line has been downright atrocious blocking for running backs this season. They’re allowing the most tackles for loss per game in the SEC, and the Vols’ backs are oftentimes getting hit before they can even cross the line of scrimmage.

It’s just been a very, very bad start to the season for Tennessee’s offensive line. Injuries have contributed to that some, but that’s not been the main issue. They just haven’t been playing well.

Ben: F

The offensive line receives the majority of the blame for why Tennessee’s offense ranks 13th in the SEC and 102nd nationally. For that, they receive a failing grade. Now, I like the future of the position under offensive line coach Will Friend. But a large part of that is because of the guys they’re likely to bring in this offseason through recruiting.

For now, though, Tennessee’s O-line doesn’t appear to be good enough to catapult the Vols to a bowl game. Trey Smith has been rusty following an offseason full of health scares. Its just a matter of time before Smith returns to his normal self, but even when he does, he doesn’t have much help around him. Drew Richmond has failed to take a step forward, and Ryan Johnson hasn’t been good in the absence of Brandon Kennedy — who was lost for the season due to injury. At guard, Jahmir Johnson and Jerome Carvin have been thrust into action but have failed to be consistent. The pair will have a key block where they flash potential and spring a big run, and then they’ll follow it up with a blown assignment or complete whiff.

If Tennessee wants to win an SEC game in 2018, this group has to take a big step forward.

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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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