Stokes’ Stance: The 1st Half 42-0
Welp, lots of action in the first half of this football game. It was all Vol for 30 minutes of football. Tennessee’s starters are doing what most expected them to be doing at this point and that is completely dominating. The Vols have yet to be penalized and that in itself is a huge W compared to the previous regime. Here are some quick thoughts I have regarding the 1st half of this game.
The Vols offense is rolling along pretty well. It’s not the amazing aerial assault that we all saw with Bray and Co, this team is getting it done on the ground. Is it hard to tell just how good this o-line is so far? Very much so because the Governors are awful. Towards the end of the half they could not get push on a 2nd and goal from the 3. The backs are running very well though. Raijion Neal has 141 yards on 16 carries and is running through ankle tackles and running away from defenders in space. Lane is doing what Lane has always done and that is weave through the line of scrimmage and linebackers. Nothing to spectacular from a yardage standpoint, 38 yards on 6 carries, but he is running hard and dragging guys. Neal has 1 TD on the day while Lane has 2 and I expect this hard running style to continue in the game and throughout the season.
The passing game has been ok, nothing great with Worley going 11-13 for 104 yards and 3 TD’s. AT first glance that sounds great and very effecient. Don’t get me wrong, it is, but the passes are behiind the receivers. There could have been a couple more passing scores if Worley could lead the receivers and not throw low and away. North has missed a couple of balls he should have had, but I’m going to pin that on 1st game jitters. If Worley doesn’t improve he will not be the starter all season.
All in all this staff has commiteed to the run and it’s working. I doubt we see the starters in the 2nd half, so it will be awesome to see just what the depth looks like on the offense.
The starting 11 look much improved from last season. There are a couple of holes that have been exploited on the back end, but nothing major. The biggest defensive concern I have is with the 2′s. Against the Vols backups the Governors starting offense was able to find a rhythm and marched to the redzone. Once the starters came in though, all of that stopped. APSU currently has 99 yards. 15 rushing and 84 passing. The pressure has been good on the QB with a couple of sacks recorded and Daniel Hood is doing a great job getting his hands up in passing situations. Good enough to bat and intercept a pass early in the 1st quarter. It’s hard to gauge how good or bad this defense will be, but I can say that they are penalty free, flying to the ball and seem to know what they are doing. Only one big missed assignment so far.
Nothing much to say here except that Palardy is perfect in XP’s. The Vols haven’t had to punt nor kick a field goal. His kick off have been ok. Not great but not bad and no miscues other than some less than stellar tackling on one AP kick return attempt.
The team is playing with speed and tenacity. The offense’s pace is very fast and will give them a chance against better opponents if they execute. That’s what I have for the first half. We’ll see what the backups can do in the 3rd and 4th quarters.