Advertise with usContact UsRTI Team

Grading the Vols’ Performance Through Five Weeks


Photo by Anne Newman/RTI

Nathanael: C-

Considering the fact that the Vols have been playing three true freshmen extensively in the secondary and a true sophomore in Theo Jackson has also seen a lot of playing time, I think the secondary has performed fairly well. Unfortunately for the Vols, the older players have been the ones who haven’t played up to par.

Baylen Buchanan has gotten better as the season has gone along, but he’s really the only veteran player who has improved in my opinion. I guess you can include Nigel Warrior there too, but his improvement has been more incremental than Buchanan’s. Micah Abernathy has been very disappointing, and if not for Trevon Flowers breaking his collarbone in practice last week, I think his starting job would’ve been taken here in the next couple weeks.

True freshmen Alontae Taylor and Bryce Thompson have been the bright spots in the secondary, but you can tell they’re freshmen at times still. The secondary hasn’t been tested much aside from the first game of the season against West Virginia, but they haven’t really impressed a whole lot except against lesser competition.

Ben: D+

If you look at the stats, Tennessee’s secondary ranks 5th in the SEC in passing defense, and 26th in the country. But that’s in large part because UTEP and East Tennessee State rarely through the football, and when they did, had little success.

Alontae Taylor and Bryce Thompson are going to be really good defensive backs for Jeremy Pruitt, but at this point, they’re still freshmen and aren’t receiving much help. Baylen Buchanan has progressed from game-to-game, but he is still beaten on a regular basis. The Vols really need the likes of Shawn Shamburger to step up and play a pivotal role on the back end of the defense.

The safety position has been the most disappointing aspect of the secondary. Veterans Micah Abernathy and Nigel Warrior were expected to take a step forward, but they’ve played poorly to start the year. Missed tackles and poor angles have snake-bitten the secondary against the run this season, and poor communication has led to breakdowns in coverage.

Similar Articles


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.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *