Everyone knew going into this weekend that it was going to be a long game for the Tennessee Volunteers. That doesn’t make it any easier when you have to live through it. Tennessee lost 58-21 to No. 1 Alabama at home on Saturday. Alabama was exactly what everyone thought it would be: a good defense partnered with a turbo-efficient offense led by a probable Heisman Trophy-winning Hawaiian. Tennessee was exactly what everyone thought it would be: a team that still has a lot of questions and a long way to go. Still, there are a few things that we can learn from Saturday, such as:
Tennessee Is Going To Live And Die With Its Defense
Obvious, right? It’s very hard to win consistently when you’re only good on offense and bad on defense. But, Tennessee still hasn’t learned that lesson yet. In three wins this season, Tennessee has allowed an average of nine points and two forced turnovers per game. In four losses, its surrendered 45.7 points and forced .75 turnovers per game.
The difference is palpable.
Granted, the defense is still very young and everyone has growing pains learning a new system. They’ve also played some of the best offenses in the country. So, there’s some benefit of the doubt to be given, but everyone around the program, Jeremy Pruitt included, is probably getting frustrated with the hot/cold tendencies of this defense.
Earlier in the season, the offensive line was the unit that was holding the team back, but they’ve improved since. So time will tell if the defense can dig in and play a little more consistently.
There *Might* Be A Quarterback Controversy?
Jarrett Guarantano had a fantastic weekend last week against Auburn. Unfortunately, he got off to a rough start against the Tide, culminating in him getting injured. He shouldn’t be out any extended time, but in his absence, backup Keller Chryst had a pretty good day, posting two touchdowns and 164 yards passing. Guarantano has taken a beating his whole career at Tennessee, while Chryst has a track record of being the better passer. On the other hand, Guarantano has more time at the school ahead of him, and it looked like he was starting to get in sync with his receivers. Plus, if Chryst was going to prove that he was the better option, why hasn’t he already done it in practice?
Personally, I think if Guarantano is healthy, he should get more playing time. There is also a case to be made for Chryst to see more playing time. Either way, one of them needs to step up and lead the team going forward if Tennessee is going to have any chance at a bowl game this year.
Hate Is Hard, But Butch Jones Makes It Easy
Butch Jones got a Gatorade bath and lit up a victory cigar on Saturday after the game went final. Look at this guy:
Butch Jones exits Neyland Stadium. pic.twitter.com/7GxcYjEBLw
— Dan Harralson (@danharralson) October 20, 2018
Dude, what? You couldn’t make this stuff up if you tried. Jones tanks one of the most successful college football programs in the country, gets fired, takes an internship position at one of the hottest programs of the last ten years, and takes pride in the result when the two teams finally meet. A result that further solidifies the belief that he was just really, really bad at his job. He was, for some reason, probably the happiest person in that Alabama locker room in Saturday night.
I don’t know if he is just stupid, ignorant, or both. But taking pride in a team beating a group of young men that you recruited, while you sit idly by and ride the coattails of a former rival and count the money you’re making off of your failures is just a special kind of ridiculous. A kind of ridiculous that only Jones could ever achieve.
Just goes to show you, kids. If you’re bad enough at your job and kiss the ass of people that are better than you, then you too can get to be unjustly rich and smug.