Tennessee 48, Arkansas State 27: early thoughts


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  • The offense looked fantastic most of the game. Erik Ainge was on target and in command, except for one mysterious interception that was returned for a touchdown. LaMarcus Coker got the bulk of the carries in the running game and also looked good.

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  • The defense looked much improved at times. The line got a good deal of pressure on the quarterback, and the secondary got its hands on the ball a lot. It's now more a problem of consistency. Run defense is still suspect, and there were still several missed tackles and opportunities, including at least two passes that should have been intercepted for scores but weren't. Berry is the team's best tackler by far and quite possibly the best defender period. It looks like we're beginning to get some of the right players onto the field.

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  • The receivers were finally getting behind the secondary. Lucas Taylor had another very good night and the highlight of the game -- a one-handed deep grab to set up the first touchdown.

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  • The secondary is beginning to come together, with DeAngelo Willingham joining Marsalous Johnson, Eric Berry, and Jonathan Hefney. Brent Vinson also saw a good deal of action. Hefney's beginning to look like just one of the guys instead of the leader. Johnson left the game with a chest contusion, which could be a real blow.

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  • It was really good to see so many of the new guys on the field. Willingham and Berry were all over the place in the secondary. Vinson's and Nevin McKenzie's names were called a lot. Running back Lennon Creer got nine carries. Ben Martin also saw some action.

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  • Overall, it was a good game for the Vols. Enough improvement to bring some optimism back into the season.

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