The Vols may have a freshman quarterback, but their issues go far beyond that. The Vols have looked non-competitive the past two weeks, and Tennessee fans should be worried.
In recent weeks the rational in the Vols fan base was that Worley was holding the team back, but the quarterback was the least of Tennessee’s concern in a 31-3 loss at Missouri.
The offensive line (long-thought to be a strength of the Vols) has really struggled to block talented defensive fronts this year, and look worse than advertised. If the Vols are going to start a freshman quarterback they need this offensive line to be better than it has been so far, and overcome their issues with talented rushers like Michael Sam, Jadeveon Clowney, Dominique Easley, and the entire Alabama front-seven.
A.J. Johnson had another rough night, only making tackles after allowing a first down or a big chunk of yardage. In one instance he and a host of Vols ran the wrong direction on a screen play allowing Dorial Green-Beckham to cut back across field and score an easy touchdown. This was only one of the Vols many miscues on a defense that really didn’t do anything well.
Countless times the Volunteer front four failed to get pressure and Mizzou QB Matt Maulk sat back and picked apart the defense. When the Vols did get pressure, Maulk easily eluded the would-be tacklers and ran for big yardage and first downs.
If there was a bright spot for the Vols it was the surprisingly good performance from quarterback Joshua Dobbs. The true freshman actually fared well in his first outing despite his numbers. Josh Smith had a terrible dropped pass that should have been a touchdown if he had finished the catch. Also, a number of passes were dropped or mistimed purely out of a lack of chemistry, as time goes on Dobbs will build a better connection with his receivers and the offense will get better.
The Vols need to soul search and put these last two games behind them if they want any chance to beat a dynamic Auburn Tigers team in a week.
Edited by Will Lomas