LOOKED THE PART
MARLIN LANE. Sure, it would be easy to give the award to Tyler Bray on his record-setting day or to Cordarrelle Patterson/Justin Hunter for their epic performances. But that's the boring thing to do, isn't it? All of those guys had great days -- record-setting days -- but this isn't necessarily a game MVP award. This is one handed out for somebody who had a career day. For me, the game ball goes to Lane. I'm a big fan of power running, and the sophomore from Daytona Beach ran all over Troy. He powered his way to a career-high 132 yards on 19 carries with a couple touchdowns. That's an average of nearly 7 yards per carry. He was a Boss, and we'll need him down the stretch.
BLESS HIS HEART
DANIEL GRAY. Honestly, Tennessee never meant to have to depend on Gray [or classmate Deion Bonner] this year. So, this is absolutely not his fault. Every young cornerback goes through what he did on Saturday, but Gray -- who is blazing fast and has a bright future -- simply got tangled up several times and ultimately burned because his technique and pivot isn't quite where it needs to be yet. We're so painfully slow in the secondary that Derek Dooley was trying to do something to assist his incompetent defensive coordinator. It didn't work out against the high-flying Trojans.
EARNED A START
JOSH CONKLIN. He's Tennessee's safeties coach, and while it's not like UT's secondary has been anything to write home about yet this season, Conklin has a couple things going for him: A) He has been a college defensive coordinator before and B) He isn't Sal Sunseri. When Dooley says there will be major defensive changes this week, maybe that means he'll let Conklin call the defensive plays and for Sunseri to be an $800,000 linebackers coach. Hey, at this point, it can't get worse, right?