Now that Tennessee is halfway through the season, which positions on offense have excelled, and which have failed to impress?
Justin Worley has been the most improved, the leader, and offensive MVP through the season so far. Worley has sustained hit after hit from a lack of blocking but has gotten back up and played admirably through his senior season. Three Nathan Peterman-led drives in the Georgia game really showed how much this offense improves with Worley on the field. Despite this, Worley has made some poor choices (See 3rd quarter vs. Florida, 1st down in the red zone) that have cost the Vols some possessions.
Running Backs: B
Jalen Hurd by himself has earned an A, but the lack of production from Marlin Lane drops that to a B. Hurd has somehow outgained expectations for his highly-touted freshman season, including rushing for the most yards as a freshman since Jamal Lewis in 1997. Also, Hurd has provided much needed backfield protection for Justin Worley. Marlin Lane, on the other hand, has struggled both on the field with rushing and off the field with an injury.
Wide Receivers: B+
Barring a few drops and missed opportunities, the receiving core has stepped in with the absence of Von Pearson and Josh Smith and caught nearly everything thrown their way. An inexperienced offensive line has forced the offense to go to more short passes that require receivers to do more with the ball, so explosive plays and long receptions have been limited.
Tight Ends: A-
Ethan Wolf has provided a complementary presence to an injured receiving core and has caught nearly every ball Justin Worley has thrown at him. For the most part, Wolf has blocked fairly well and is one of many freshmen who have excelled at stepping in and gaining a large chunk of playing time.
Offensive Line: F
The offensive line has been without a doubt Tennessee’s weakest position group on the team. Tennessee has allowed the most sacks in the SEC and has failed to get a push for the run game in nearly every game this season. After allowing five sacks to FCS program Chattanooga, it is clear that this group will be in for a long few weeks in the heart of SEC play.
Edited by Maggie Jones
Nathan is a junior at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville. He spends most of his free time eating meaningless foods and watching sports. If you wish to contact Nathan, you can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or find him on Twitter, @NathanOdom11.