A View from Big Ben: Vanderbilt

#1

London Vol

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 27, 2015
Messages
869
Likes
6,780
#1
GAME 12 – VANDERBILT 25 NOVEMBER 2023


They say “you save the best to last” and I thought this was probably our best performance of the regular season. The general consensus before the game was, had Tennessee regressed having posted two lackluster performances against albeit elite teams, and after a nine-game losing streak and a bye, would Vanderbilt even show up figuratively speaking, well last night it felt like I had tuned into to watch a fight when a game of football broke out. This was mainly caused by more crazy zebras who failed to blow the whistle on back-to-back pre-snap penalties resulting in AJ Swann being “levelled”, just imagine if that had happened to Joe Milton against Georgia or Alabama.

So, with a big smile on my face, here are my grades:

QUARTERBACKS A+

Milton’s stat line was 22-33 383-4-0 and add in a couple of rushing touchdowns, even the most negative Vol can’t object to an A+. Not only were this far and away his best stats as a Vol (he hasn’t passed 300 yards in any game for Tennessee) But it was the downfield throws that most impressed me. The debate about Joe`s time at Knoxville will go on like, was there a shooter on the grassy knoll? And yes, I suspect he hasn’t always seen the complete field, however in my humble opinion (and I has written it in multiple articles) the play calling this season has been far too conservative. When I saw the Austin Peay game, I thought all the wide receiver screens was just keeping the game plan secret for more important nights, but it never really opened up until last night when the “stabilizers” seemed to be finally removed and you all saw what this guy can do. What is not in doubt is that Milton was completely loyal to Tennessee, don’t underestimate how much he helped Hendon Hooker last year and I believe Nico Iamaleava`s successes will be part down to how the baton was passed on to him from No 7. I hope he skips bowl game avoiding any possible injury as well as to prepare for the Draft (wait to his pro-day and he unleashes a pass into the next post code). Since 2009 we have started Crompton, Bray, Simms, Worley, Peterman, Dobbs, Dormady, Guarantano, McBride, Chryst, Maurer, Shrout, Bailey and Hooker and I would say only Dobbs and Hooker had better careers at Tennessee so thank you, Joe.

RUNNING BACKS B+
168 yards on the ground looks like a bad day and it took awhile to really get going even to that level. I was pleased that Jaylen Wright was given enough of the rock to complete 1,000 yards, he has taken his game to the next level and I would not be surprised if he goes to the NFL in April especially as Running Backs seem to have a shorter shelf life than most positional players. Dylan Sampson had his number called 10 times. I really hope the rumours that he may leave are unfounded as I think Tennessee can have ‘back to back’ !,000 yard rushers next season

WIDE RECEIVERS B+
With two 100-yard receivers (Ramel Keyton 122 and Squirrel White 110) and 7 catches for Chas Nimrod and Kaleb Webb this was a very good night for the WRs, however it was slightly spoiled by a number of drops early on. I was particularly interested in Nimrod and Webb as they could both be more prominent in 2024 and I was slightly concerned that Webb lost out on two jump balls. Now a Heupel offense is set up for one receiver to compete for these and in Cedric Tillman and Bru McCoy that would not have happened last night. I appreciate this is quite hard on the young man but there is some really talented WRs coming in next year so I hope he corrects this in the Gator Bowl (just my guess of the bowl game).

TIGHT ENDS A
For so long I have been disappointed in the lack of including of the Tight Ends in the playbook but last night Jacob Warren (an unsung trooper for the Orange and White) and McCallan Castles (I wish he had another year of eligibility) came to the fore with 82 and 47 yards respectively. I wish them both the best at the Draft and hopefully they will receive some good news on probably day 3.

OFFENSIVE LINE A
The “big uglies” were truly banged up before the start and then Cooper Mays didn’t last long so for the Offense to register 617 yards of Offense and only one sack shows they deserve an A. It took 6 years before Ollie Lane had himself depicted on the rock so well-done young man (another who bleeds orange). From a selfish point of view, it looks that possibly Mays and Javontez Spraggins may return next season and combine them with Gerard Mincey we may have a good O`Line in 2024 after all.

DEFENSIVE LINE A
After the 1st Vanderbilt drive (that was scary) yet again the D`Line came to work and this time restricted the opponents to just 2.6 yards per carry. A special mention to James Pearce who again seemed unstoppable and how he only registered ½ sack, 1½ TFLs and 2 QBHs is a mystery to me, we have a real stud on our hands. A mention to No 9 Tyler Baron, last night his performance epitomised his time at Knoxville, with high highs followed by low lows, but to his credit he completed the journey and can justly call himself a VFL.

LINEBACKERS B

Another department badly depleted but played well last night with Jeremiah Telander and especially Will Brooks doing well. Another one missing from the Seniors night was Kennan Pili and if is to return for his 47th year and Arion Carter back fully healthy in 2024 then things look good here as well. We also wave goodbye to Arron Beasley who like Baron has had some very low times at Tennessee but fought through adversity to leave his mark on the program.

DEFENSIVE BACKS B
At last I can complement the DBs 😊. Finally, it seemed that they played man to man and stopped giving up a soft 10-yard cushion and then wondered why the opposition have 7 minute, 15 play drives. OK they may not be the strongest unit on the team but suddenly 3rd and long was much harder. Who ever is the DB coach next season please stop playing “bend don’t break” football which roughly translates to “playing not lose instead of playing to win”?

NICO IAMALEAVA B+
You know there are people with binoculars on mountains in Roswell, New Mexico who have had more successful sightings than Volnation looking to see “the anointed” one So last night we had a little glimpse of the future and it was impressive. 9-12-66-0-0 will not shift his Heisman odds for next season but on closer inspection we saw crisp accurate wide receiver screens and he is an elusive runner. I feel more relaxed we are in good hands next season.

I went into last night’s game fearing that the team may have “checked out” this season and a poor performance or even a loss to Vandy would have caused 8 months on panic and navel gazing and possibly damage to the incoming 2024 intake, well the team delivered in both performance and effort and a win in the Gator Bowl will mean Josh has recorded 20 wins in two seasons, how can you not smile about that. The futures bright, the futures Orange.

Please feel free to discuss the above after all its just my thoughts.


GO VOLS
 
#2
#2
Great to "hear" from you following the final regular season game. (I watched alone at home while wife was babysitting granddaughters & our son & his wife were at the game). I, too, was happy to see more use of our tight ends, & Joe Milton was on fire. OL getting very thin, & Cooper Mays' injury a special concern, but the big uglies were scrappy. Vandie's attempt to intimidate the Vols was laughable. :cool:
 
#3
#3
Great summary as always! Regarding the defensive back alignment, I believe it’s the defensive coordinator who sets that for the game and the defensive backs coach just coaches his guys on technique.
 
#4
#4
Great summary as always! Regarding the defensive back alignment, I believe it’s the defensive coordinator who sets that for the game and the defensive backs coach just coaches his guys on technique.

Good point cherokeeeVOL then Bank and not Martinez should take the blame. After years of watching Jones etc playing scared I loved the way the 2022 Vols literally threw caution to the wind and landed with the No 1 Offense in the Country

Great to "hear" from you following the final regular season game. (I watched alone at home while wife was babysitting granddaughters & our son & his wife were at the game). I, too, was happy to see more use of our tight ends, & Joe Milton was on fire. OL getting very thin, & Cooper Mays' injury a special concern, but the big uglies were scrappy. Vandie's attempt to intimidate the Vols was laughable. :cool:

Lovely to hear from Nashvilles No 1 Vol, please feel free to e-mail me sometime on londonvol55@gmail.com
 
#5
#5
Excellent analysis again from across the big pond, thank you. The most surprising thing to me was the play by the tight ends. Steady and sure handed they gave us another dimension on pass plays that we haven't seen much this year.

A big thank you to all the seniors who now have the honor of being called VFL's!
 
#6
#6
Always enjoy your assessment of the games. I too noticed the passing game seemed to be wide open last night as opposed to tightly controlled most other nights and Joe was on fire. But it also seemed the receivers were getting open more quickly and easily
 
  • Like
Reactions: feathersax
#8
#8
You think Milton had a better career than Bray? Also, I think JG would have had a better career under Heupel.

I agree with OP. I think his summary on Milton was spot-on.

Bray struggled to have winning seasons. Milton led his team to 8-4.

JG was who he was, and it wasn’t good. Another who struggled to win games.

No need to play coulda shoulda woulda. It’s useless speculation.
 
#10
#10
I always appreciate your reviews. They are good reads. I do think you were a little generous with the defense. Way too many stupid penalties, LBs appear slow to react. I would the Defense more in the C category.
 
  • Like
Reactions: feathersax
#11
#11
I always appreciate your reviews. They are good reads. I do think you were a little generous with the defense. Way too many stupid penalties, LBs appear slow to react. I would the Defense more in the C category.

Thank you for your kind words and that is a fair point OrangeVolMan about the generous defense grades, my thinking was that after the capitulation of the first drive, the Run Defense stiffened immeasurably, Swann was constantly harassed even without the aid of the "no whistles" and for once the DBs seemed to have tight coverage. I know Vandy are not Georgia or Alabama but nor are they Virginia, Austin Peay, UTSA or Uconn.
 
  • Like
Reactions: feathersax
#14
#14
Another great review of last nights game. If Milton had played the season as he did last night, we would be undefeated or only one loss at most. I think next season’s QB play will be more consistent which will equate to more wins. I’m excited. Our future looks very bright for the next couple of years.
Thanks for your assessments of UT Football. Your insight is mostly spot on.

Go VOLS
 
#15
#15
I agree with OP. I think his summary on Milton was spot-on.

Bray struggled to have winning seasons. Milton led his team to 8-4.

JG was who he was, and it wasn’t good. Another who struggled to win games.

No need to play coulda shoulda woulda. It’s useless speculation.
It is useless speculation like you say, but look who Bray played for. That's the biggest thing setting them apart. I thought Bray was a good QB. He just played for a bozo of a head coach.
 
#17
#17
Excellent analysis again from across the big pond, thank you. The most surprising thing to me was the play by the tight ends. Steady and sure handed they gave us another dimension on pass plays that we haven't seen much this year.

A big thank you to all the seniors who now have the honor of being called VFL's!

We all owe the seniors our heart felt thanks.
 

VN Store



Back
Top