Get To Know The Tennessee Volunteers
The Tennessee Volunteers notched their first victory over perennial powerhouse Alabama on Saturday, October 15th, 2022. It was the first time that the Vols have beaten the Crimson Tide in 15 years.
The game was an offensive showcase for both teams, scoring back and forth until the final minute. After a missed Alabama field goal with 15 seconds left, Vols quarterback Hendon Hooker got the Vols close enough for Chase McGrath to kick a 52-yard field goal that knuckled its way over the uprights for a 52-49 Tennessee Volunteers win.
After the game, Vols fans stormed Neyland Stadium, removed the goalposts, and proceeded to dump them in the Tennessee River. They’ll need new goalposts to get through the rest of their season.
Long story short, the Vols are contenders this year. Let’s take a look at some of the stars of this Tennessee Volunteers team.
Offensive Prospects Abound
Josh Heupel was an offensive coach before he came to Tennessee, working as a quarterbacks coach at Oklahoma to start his career. He was the offensive coordinator for Missouri for a couple of seasons before becoming the Tennessee Volunteers’ head coach.
Heupel’s emphasis on the offensive side of the ball shows up in some of the prospects he has playing for Tennessee. Quarterback Hendon Hooker demonstrated his upside last season after transferring from Virginia Tech, throwing 31 TDs and three interceptions in his first season with the Vols. Hooker put up huge numbers in the game v Alabama, throwing for 385 yards, five touchdowns, and 56 yards rushing.
Heupel & Hooker like throwing the ball so much because they have multiple NFL-caliber WRs to throw to. Jalin Hyatt was the name that everyone talked about after the Alabama game – he caught all five of Hendon’s touchdown throws. Cedric Tillman is considered the best wide receiver and deep threat the Vols have – he’s currently recovering from ankle surgery. The Vols’ offense could get even stronger the rest of the year.
When the final score of your victory over Alabama is 52-49, it’s clear that there isn’t much defense being played. Defensive coordinator Tim Banks’ unit is often pointed at as the weak link in the Tennessee Volunteers. However, this is more of a case of using what you have to get what you need.
Tennessee knows that they don’t have the talent on defense that other SEC stalwarts do. They’re not going to win a ton of individual match-ups. Banks’ focus is on limiting big plays and essentially encourages opposing teams to dink and dunk their way down the field versus the Tennessee Volunteers.
Defensive studs to look out for on the defensive side of the ball includes Byron Young, an edge rusher, and middle linebacker Aaron Beasley. If the defensive line and linebackers can pressure the opponent, while the secondary waits for timely turnovers, the Tennessee Volunteers’ defense may need to do only so much while letting their offense run wild.