It almost feels wrong to come up with these charts and tables. We all saw the game and we all know what happened: Alabama simply outplayed Tennessee. All summaries of the game will come to that conclusion. But you do occasionally find some things you missed before when you start poring through the data. Besides, if a bammer doesn't like stats, what more reason do you need to take a peek? This will be a contextual analysis; I'm going to place the Alabama game next to the other games this season and see how the stats look in a comparative sense rather than an absolute sense.
Anyway, on with the peep show:
The offensive numbers are very typical of a Stephens-led offense. The passing percentage is reasonable but nothing special; no interceptions (woo!); and the running game was nothing to write home about. Well, you could write home about the running game - much in the same way you'd write home to say you hate summer camp becasue of the ptomaine poisoning.
In short, the running game is gone.
Yes, Alabama has a good rush defense. (But not as good as Georgia! Hah!) However, whatever ability the offense had to run the ball in the first few games is now officially gone. Chalk it up to game tape; UCLA through Florida didn't really have anything to gauge what UT's offense would look like. Surprise helped out. But now, everybody knows what the running game is. Defenses are getting very fast reads on the offense, and it's making life very difficult on the runners. (Remember that, against MSU, much of the yardage came on the garbage time Creer drive where the D-line was too tired to stop the plays that everybody knew was coming.)
So, while the mistakes are down, so is the spontaneity. Our offense appears to be pegged.
This chart has much of the same information as the previous chart, but it includes a better breakdown of the passing game in particular. In the "looking to the future" department, we can see one good sign of growth from Stephens: better distribution of passes among the available players. You usually expect the receivers to get half (or slightly more) of the receptions, but the better inclusion of the tight ends is particularly encouraging. Let's hope for more of that.
Also, the "E.B." column should be self-explanatory.
Breaking the offense down even further, there's not much to note about the run/pass percentages. UT was playing from behind, so their passing percentage went up. End of story. However, look at the green line in the top graph. UT is still losing plays on the offensive side of the ball. Against UA, the Vols only had 49 offensive plays in the game. That's not the worst this year shudder but it's still at unprecedentedly low levels. Sure, we can blame the clock for some of it, but much of it also goes to the inability of the offense to sustain drives. (Side note: Alabama's last drive took 7 minutes, 20 seconds, 3 UT timeouts, 13 plays and still didn't gain 60 yards. Did I mention I hate the new clock rules?)
Welcome to mediocre.
Stephens is still getting better QB ratings than Crompton - largely (but not entirely) due to his lack of interceptions. Still, those are very pedestrian numbers for a team that wants to compete for titles of various forms. He's managing the game well, but he's not actually beating anybody, either. If we accept this as prep for next year, that's well and good. If we're looking for reasons to hope for a 7-5 salvage, we'll have to find other things to add to this.
As for the yards-per-play: let me just remind you that a rushing YPP of 4.0 and a passing YPP of 8.0 are the basic goals of most offenses. Enough said.
No. Not enough said.
UT had 57 total yards rushing in the game. The player with the most was Foster. The player with the longest? Nick Stephens had the longest rush of the day. Do you remember that play? The one in the second half where he had to scramble out, managed to fight off a potential tackler in the open field and got a first down? Yeah, that was our best rush of the day. For 12 whole yards. By the way, Stephens had an 18-yard rush against MSU; the longest was a Foster run for 19.
But back to the Alabama game; if you take out Stephens's rush, UT had only 45 rushing yards on 20 carries. Yes, that includes sacks. Sacks, secks, sicks, socks, and it sucks.