You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet

Alabama 41  Tennessee 10

23 Oct 2010 | Neyland Stadium | 102,455

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What does airplane glue and a paper bag give you? A short-lived high, and then an excruciating headache. “Migraine” is now spelled “Julio Jones”…

…or, perhaps the present state of “Tennessee Vol Football”.

Tennessee got the first score for the first time in this rivalry since the 2004 game. Tauren Poole found a shockingly huge hole in the O-Line and rambled 59 yards, mostly down the left sideline, into the end zone with just less than 9 minutes left in the first quarter.

It was a short-lived high. It only led to a moral victory. Tauren Poole finished with 117 yards on the ground, becoming the first player to rush for more than 100 yards against Alabama since Ole Miss’ BenJarvus Green-Ellis ran for 131 on Oct. 13, 2007.

But, it was Trent Richardson’s 65-yard TD run and Julio Jones setting a single-game Alabama school record with 221 yards on 12 catches for which this game will be remembered in the annals of this long series.

*****

It was the Julio Jones show at Neyland Stadium on Saturday night. Jones racked up 221 yards during the game. Photo by Adam Brimer.

The Vols initially limited the Crimson Tide’s running game, by blitzing and pressuring QB Greg McElroy, but the effort eventually diminished into the reality of our situation – we are undersized and lack depth. McElroy ended up 21-for-32 and 264 yards. Most of those yards were taken by Jones. Richardson and Heisman-defender Mark Ingram had less than 100 yards rushing at halftime, but added about that many in the third quarter alone. Richardson ended by gaining 119 yards on 12 carries, and Ingram earned 88 yards with 14 rushes.

Tennessee’s only real drama was that surrounding the QB position. The only thing this so-called QB rivalry created was nothing more than unnecessary uncertainty. Matt Simms started the game. He was subbed for Tyler Bray for moments, but left the game for good when, after driving the Vols the length of the field, Tide defender Robert Lester stepped in front of a would-be touchdown pass to Gerald Jones. Simms was sacked by Don’ta Hightower on that play and never returned to the game. Simms finished 12 for 22 and 117 yards, one INT, but no TDs. Freshman Bray was mostly less than mediocre: 5-of-14 for 39 yards. Both Vol QBs threw INTs at the ‘Bama goal line.

The Vol’s best drive of the game began with less than a minute left in the first half. Tennessee went 66 yards in seven plays, but had to use their final timeout of the half at the Alabama 15 to allow Michael Palardy to convert on a 33-yard field goal as time ran out.

We were done and dusted thereafter. Alabama finished with 538 yards of offense, more than 200 beyond Tennessee’s tally.

Alabama has now won 22 straight over unranked opponents, taking care of business against those that deserve the business end of the stick. Tennessee hasn’t beaten a quality opponent since… I don’t remember.

Having said that, what was our worst aspect showed by far the most improvement on Saturday night – the offensive line. At the other end of the spectrum, the defensive secondary was pathetic.

*****

Some might say that I’m too “negative about the Vols” and should “get behind the team.”

I’m objective and realistic, not overly negative or positive. Being otherwise would not be properly supporting this team. And, it would be boring.

I have predicted every win and every loss this season. Only in the LSU game did I completely miss the mark in the magnitude of the point difference.

Based on our performance, I think the Vols have less than a 10 percent chance to play in a bowl game (requiring a 6-6 record). I also think we have a better than 50 percent chance of losing 8 games this year, attaining the distinction of becoming the worst team in the history of Tennessee football based on the metric of number of losses in a single season. Eight losses would most probably be attained by losing against South Carolina, Ole Miss, and Kentucky.

Based on what you’ve seen so far this season, don’t you think that is a more-likely-than-not scenario?

If you think we’ve seen the bottom, you ain’t seen nothing yet.

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4 responses to “You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet”

  1. rockytop78 says :

    As someone who attended the game last night, a couple of things jumped out at me.

    First, the word “undersized” did not begin to describe the visual disparity between the Alabama linemen (both offensive and defensive) and who Tennessee had on the field — it was like comparing adult men with high school freshmen. And our defensive backs seemed dwarfed by the likes of Julio Jones (although part of that may have to do with observing how high Jones could leap to bring down those long bombs thrown by both Alabama quarterbacks.)

    Second, the Tennessee defensive back play was indeed pathetic in its literal sense — worthy of pity. Rod Wilks got beaten on two of the long throws to Julio Jones, and he didn’t even turn around or look back for the ball; he just tackled Jones after the reception was made. The same with Art Evans on the last long completion to Jones from McCarron that set up Alabama’s final touchdown.

    As for your assessment of how the Vols are likely to do the rest of the season, I think that you are spot on, especially after watching last night. And I agree that a person can support the Vols without being a Kool-Aid drinker. If I were a betting man, I would lay even money or better that the Vols lose to South Carolina, Ole Miss, and (painful as it is to say it) Kentucky this year — even though I will be cheering on the Vols, and, hopefully, attending one of the last two home games.

    (I was thinking last night, while lying in bed, about a Kentucky victory this year, and how I imagine Randy Sanders would be crowing about a victory over the Vols in Neyland Stadium — when that SOB was as responsible as much as anyone, in my opinion, for the decline of the Vols after the 1998 championship season. But that may be the topic of a blog later this season.)

    In summary: some bright spots last night, enough to give hope for the future; but mostly a depressing reminder of how bad the rest of the year is probably going to get.

  2. NorCalVol says :

    Seeing how competitive Vandy was at home against South Carolina, the Memphis game may be the true metric for how dreadful we might be(come).

  3. rockytop78 says :

    A correction to my earlier comment — I have since been told that Rod Wilks didn’t play last night, so it must have been Art Evans (#25) instead of Rod Wilks (#22) who got burned on the long completions to Jones. (I had trouble reading the jersey numbers, and obviously need to get back to the optometrist.)

    Yes, the way that Vandy played South Carolina in Nashville is troublesome, since once again playing Tennessee is Vandy’s bowl game, and they will be loaded for bear when we come to town (as much as they can ever be); and Vandy does have a good running back in Norman, and we obviously have some issues in stopping the run.

  4. tk says :

    rocky top 78 mentions something about drinking the Kool Aid. after watching last nights game in knoxville ill be doubling up on old number seven.

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