Final Thoughts from the Vols’ Upset Win over No. 21 Auburn

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    Wide Receivers and Tight Ends

    Photo by Anne Newman/RTI

    As seen above, Guarantano called on Marquez Callaway, Jennings, Palmer and Ty Chandler often. Aside from the quarterback, those four are the core of the offense. Against Auburn, they stepped up big.

    Jennings led the way with five catches for 71 yards and a touchdown, but his presence was felt all over the field. On one run-play, Jennings pancaked an Auburn linebacker over the middle of the field, letting his presence be known. It set the tone for how the rest of the day would go for the entire group.

    There were four drops on the day, the most in a game all season, but two were on tough, leaping catches. Callaway had two drops while Jordan Murphy and Palmer also dropped a pass. Drops may have been an issue, but the receivers dominated 50-50 balls. The Vols did a great job of being physical with the defensive backs and going up and high-pointing the football. On deep balls to Callaway, Jennings and Palmer, the trio hauled in 5-of-6. After Saturday’s performance, I expect Tyson Helton to utilize the passing game going forward. Rather than using the run to setup the pass, the passing game needs to setup the running game from here on out. It’s the clear-cut strength of the offense.

    As for the tight ends, they weren’t utilized once again. That’s likely because Dominick Wood-Anderson left the game due to injury, but though six games, the main responsibility of the group is to help out the offensive line. And once again, it was a mixed bag.

    Before Wood-Anderson left the game, he had 12 positive blocks to three negative blocks, his best blocking performance of the season. The JUCO transfer was a big part in sparking a few positive runs. Following Wood-Anderson’s departure, Wolf stepped up as the primary blocking tight end, which isn’t his strong suit. Wolf had a nice catch on 3rd down as the game was winding down, but was off-and-on when blocking. He had 11 positive blocks to seven negative ones. Latrell Bumphus was promoted to the No. 2 tight end following the injury and was also off-and-on. He had 11 positive blocks and seven negative blocks.

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    Ben McKee
    Ben McKee is a graduate from the University of Tennessee and has a degree in Journalism and Electronic Media. He grew up an Army brat and lived in Alabama for a bit, but he bleeds orange. He covers Tennessee football, basketball, baseball, and the Lady Vols for RTI, and he's also a co-host on the RTI Live Show and RTI Podcast. You can also hear Ben on the morning sports radio show "The Swain Event." He's the producer and co-host along with former Vol wide receiver Jayson Swain.