Before discussing the Volunteers game I will mention another. Florida upset by Ole’ Miss at the Swamp! The Rebels made us look even worse today going into Florida Stadium and taking it to the Gators. Ole’ Miss came out with twice the fire and intensity this week than the Volunteers did last week. The Rebels kicked to Brandon James 9 times in their game this Saturday and all but shut down James, we only kicked to him 6 times and surrendered a touchdown and another huge return. I suppose wins like today’s for the Rebels are why they had better recruiting this past off season than the Volunteers despite the recruiting budget. Did you know The Mississippi Rebels have beaten the Gators more times than the Vols since 2002? Interesting.
Now, lets move on to this weekends game. Another loss as the Vols move to 1-3 on the year and the bottom of the barrel in the SEC. The big orange could not move the ball what so ever, Crompton has been proven again this week as a completely ineffective quarterback. With Crompton at the helm I see a less than five hundred season on the horizon, I think its time Phil gives Nick Stephens or B.J. Coleman a look, its only fair at this point. The game as a whole wasn’t as bad as I thought it might be thanks to our defense playing a great game. And now lets break down each aspect of the game.
Offense, complete junk with Crompton taking the snaps again this week. He is completely inadequate as a passer and despite what we heard about his legs I continually see him get dropped behind the line when he tucks the ball under. Crompton threw only 8 completions out of 23 attempts which only produced 67 yards. The running game got going early which was nice until Auburn realized that is all the Vols had and stacked the box with 8 and 9 defenders and that is when the offense stopped. We had seven three and outs during this game, if that doesn’t tell the story I don’t know what does. But if you need more we were only converted 4 third downs out of 14 tries against Auburn. Again I will indicate my disgust with Arian Foster and Jonathan Crompton this week after another exchange problem. The Volunteers had similar fumble cost them six against Florida last week and obviously didn’t fix the problem before this week. At least Phil made Foster learn his lesson as we saw very little of him the remainder of the game. The G-Gun did a decent job moving the ball with the run, but I still believe the Volunteers have to let Gerald throw the ball before it will reach its full potential and one throw which was dropped after hitting Lucas Taylor in the hands hardly qualifies. And it should be noted that the only offensive touchdown came off a Dennis Rogan interception which gave the offense a very short field of 37 yards.
Hats off to the defense this week, the D only surrendered 7 points to the Tigers at Jordan-Hare Stadium. Credit the other seven to the offense. The defense can’t do much else when they held Auburn to 226 yards of total offense. Auburn was only 6 for 18 on third downs thanks to the D this week. Again the secondary played an amazing game snatching another interception making that 8 on the year which is fourth in NCAA football. Some missed tackles here and there plagued the defense in stopping runs behind the line of scrimmage and cost the Vols one or two sacks.
On to Special Teams, first off great job by Cunningham pinning the Tigers three times inside the five yard line. Although it did make me a little nervous that Auburn almost blocked three punts this afternoon, especially after seeing the punt block for a TD against UCLA. Last week I said I would like to see Gerald Jones return some punts, and this week that came true for me this week, and he did make a big play with a long return in the second half but, surprise surprise a three and out followed suit. Never really gave up a big return which was a change, good adjustments there. I would also like to give props to Daniel Lincoln who kicked his first field goals since the misses at UCLA, he went two for two from 47 and 35.
Now to coaching, again simple mistakes cost the Volunteers the game with the fumble and some more personal fouls to go along with the turnover. I have to say that this team lacks discipline when a blatent hit out of bounds gives Auburn fifteen more yards. Peyton Manning said it best, “bonehead plays costing this team games.” That couldn’t be a more true statement. The offensive adjustments were nonexistent after Auburn committed to stopping the run. I will give John Chavis some credit for bringing the defense in ready to play. And I have to say if Phil doesn’t make the executive decision to take out Crompton and give someone else a shot it is going to cost him his job. I don’t put a whole lot on Fulmer after this loss but when your team is one and three all fingers point to the coaches and that is still the direction mine points as well.
Overall the fact is the Volunteers have suffered another loss, they are almost like two different football teams, with a different team on each side of the ball. This week should be an easy win with Northern Illinois coming to town. But without a complete turn around of this football team we will be staring a 2 and 4 start in the face with a game at Georgia in two weeks. This is going to be a rough season Vol fans. Until next time Volball out.