Sep 8, 2012; Knoxville, TN, USA; Tennessee Volunteer pioneer mascot cheers with the fans against the Georgia State Panthers during the second half at Neyland Stadium. Tennessee defeated Georgia State 51-13. Mandatory Credit: Jim Brown-US PRESSWIRE
Fifty-one points, 588 yards of total offense and forcing seven fumbles against Georgia State and we STILL have PLENTY to gripe about.
We're either incredibly hard to please or we're Tennessee fans looking for reasons to believe the other shoe is about to drop. Truthfully, we haven't accomplished anything yet, and we will be able to puff out our chests and brag a bit if we can come out of this weekend's tilt with the Florida Gators still undefeated.
A couple of guys gave the Vols plenty of reason to be excited heading into that game and coming out of Saturday's 51-13 tiptoe through the tulips against Georgia State. Let's get right onto it after a couple of paragraphs of clarification:
Welcome to Week 2 of the Final Player Report where we again explain that if you get recognition in the "Earned a Start" category, it simply means you're a player who normally doesn't start for the Tennessee Volunteers who had a good enough game that you get a game ball. It does NOT take into account the players over you and necessarily mean that we want the guy in the starting lineup when the Florida Gators come to town.
Just clearing that up. This week's first two awards were very easily and unanimous among the voices in my head. I got a little creative with the third one. So, let's get on with them ... Let's roll.
LOOKED THE PART
TYLER BRAY: Yes, it's the easy way out. Yes, he'll probably win this award many times this year, but the junior from Kingsburg, Calif., continued his ridiculous start to the season by completing 18-of-20 passes for 310 yards and four touchdowns. He promptly exited the game after his fourth TD pass in the midst of completing a streak of 13 consecutive passes. Though the competition was almost nonexistent, Bray was phenomenal. Even with points docked because he could have been even better [missing a wide-open Mychal Rivera down the seam in the first quarter] he is still the runaway winner. We really, really need for him to have the game of his life against the Gators, and he's just the cool, confident customer to do it. I don't know that -- right now -- I'd take any other quarterback in the country.
BLESS HIS HEART
MICHAEL PALARDY: Again, no-brainer. I've said enough about the junior kicker from Florida -- enough that I'm probably not on his Christmas card list. So, if you think I've trashed him before, I'll be easy on him here. But he missed a chip-shot field goal and yet another extra point. Because of his performance, Palardy was pulled for walk-on kicker Derrick Brodus, who will start the game of his life against the Gators this weekend. A former No. 1 kicker in the country will sit in favor of a walk-on. With his low knuckleballs aside, I'll simply ask this: Everybody out there who feels confident when he lines up to kick anything, raise your hand. Anybody? Hello? I rest my case.
EARNED A START
COREY MILLER: With all due respect to freshman running back Quenshaun Watson, who ran with a purpose in the fourth quarter against the Panthers, we're going with the junior defensive end this week. Miller is a tweener who has struggled to find a spot in Knoxville his first two seasons after being one of the most highly recruited defensive ends in the country. He wasn't even part of the team this spring as he was academically ineligible. But Miller worked his tail off in the classroom to get back to the football field, and, along with Darrington Sentimore and Curt Maggitt, he has been one of the Vols' three most disruptive defensive players thus far. Against GSU, he was all over the field, amassing six tackles and 1.5 tackles for a loss. He also had a sack. Miller has a nice little twitch inside and can get around offensive linemen. He may be a big piece of the puzzle in getting to Jeff Driskel this weekend.