PFF Grades: Tennessee at Alabama

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    Photo by Andrew Ferguson — Tennessee Athletics

    Tennessee dropped its second straight game Saturday night, falling to No. 4 Alabama 52-24.

    The Vols hung in it for just over three quarters, trailing by just seven early in the fourth quarter before the Crimson Tide rolled with a 28-point fourth quarter

    If you need a reminder on how Pro Football Focus works, read the opening of the Bowling Green grades.

    Let’s see how the Vols graded out.

    Elite grade = 90-100, All-Conference = 85-89, Starter = 70-84, Backup = 60-69, Replaceable = 60 >

    Offensive Grades (minimum 16 plays — 30% of offensive snaps)

    WR Cedric Tillman — 73.2 (52 plays)

    QB Hendon Hooker — 68.3 (53 plays)

    WR JaVonta Payton — 62.2 (53 plays)

    OG Jerome Carvin — 61.4 (58 plays)

    OT Dayne Davis — 60.8 (58 plays)

    WR Velus Jones Jr. — 58.6 (40 plays)

    RB Jabari Small — 58.5 (29 plays)

    WR Jalin Hyatt — 55.6 (22 plays)

    TE Jacob Warren — 55.6 (25 plays)

    RB Tiyon Evans — 55.4 (29 plays)

    TE Princeton Fant — 54.9 (27 plays)

    OT Darnell Wright — 51.7 (58 plays)

    C Cooper Mays — 51.2 (58 plays)

    OG Javontez Spraggins — 47.2 (58 plays)

    The first thing that stands out is that Tennessee just didn’t play well or grade out well on offense according to PFF. At first that sounds a little odd, Tennessee’s offense totaled 24 points — its most vs. Alabama since 2003. When you thing about it though it makes since. PFF grades out every single play of a game which each play being just as important.

    Tennessee’s offenses ability to create long plays is what it did well Saturday night. They struggled to find any consistency or success running the ball against the Crimson Tide.

    It wasn’t a surprises that Cedric Tillman or Hendon Hooker graded out as the Vols two best players. Both made plays and despite not being particularly mobile on his bruised knee, Hooker was still effective. The Virginia Tech transfer has truly changed Tennessee’s offense and grades out as one of UT’s best offensive players every week.

    It’s not hard to find out why Tennessee couldn’t move the ball with any consistency against Alabama. The three worst UT offensive grades were all offensive lineman.. Surpisingly, that did not include Cade Mays backup Dayne Davis who earned a decent grade.

    Defensive Grades (minimum of 26 plays — 30% of defensive snaps)

    CB Kamal Hadden — 78.7 (plays)

    DT Matthew Butler — 77.0 (70 plays)

    DE Byron Young — 74.0 (59 plays)

    DE Roman Harrison — 64.0 (28 plays)

    DT LaTrell Bumphus — 62.7 (49 plays)

    CB Alontae Taylor — 62.0 (88 plays)

    STAR Doneiko Slaughter — 61.5 (48 plays)

    DE Ja’Quain Blakely — 61.5 (44 plays)

    DE Tyler Baron — 57.8 (53 plays)

    LB Jeremy Banks — 56.2 (78 plays)

    S Jaylen McCollough — 47.4 (93 plays)

    DE Caleb Tremblay — 46.5 (29 plays)

    S Trevon Flowers — 39.3 (81 plays)

    LB Aaron Beasley — 29.4 (81 plays)

    The common theme of Tennessee’s defensive lineman grading out as the best part of the defense continued Saturday night. Four of the top five Vols were defensive linemen with Byron Young continuing to play better every week, earning the third best defensive grade.

    Some grades on players that did not play 30% of defensive snaps. DT Omari Thomas earned a 69.3 grade on 15 snaps, Theo Jackson earned a 54.5 grade on 24 plays, Brandon Turnage earned a 53.9 grade on 24 plays and LB Solon Page III earned a 25.7 grade on 24 plays.

    The means the middle of Tennessee’s defense had players earn a 25.7, 29.4, 39.3 and 47.4 grade. That’s pretty terrible and makes it surprising that UT’s defense played so well for three quarters.

    Finally, a shoutout to Kamal Hadden for playing fantastic in Warren Burrell’s place Saturday. Last week against Ole Miss was the first time Hadden played on defense all season.

    Ryan Schumpert is a senior at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville who has covered University of Tennessee athletics since the moment he stepped on campus. He just completed a three-year stint with the Daily Beacon, the last two of which as the Sports Editor. Ryan also spent last three years at Volquest providing strong Tennessee baseball coverage of Tony Vitello's resurgent program. While the bulk of Ryan's responsibilities involved beat coverage and writing, he also recorded podcasts for both the Beacon and Volquest. Did we leave out the part about Ryan interning for the Smokies? Ryan's work ethic, versatility, and strong writing skills are but three of the reasons why Vol Nation will be hearing from Ryan for years to come.