Sep 15, 2012; Knoxville, TN, USA; Tennessee Volunteers linebacker A.J. Johnson (45) tackles Florida Gators tight end Omarius Hines (20) during the second half at Neyland Stadium. Florida won by a score of 37 to 20. Mandatory Credit: Randy Sartin-US PRESSWIRE
LOOKED THE PART
A.J. JOHNSON: Many folks are under the impression that Curt Maggitt is Tennessee's best defender. He's good, but my vote goes to the smashmouth 240-pounder from Gainesville, Ga. He's everything UT hoped he would be when the Vols recruited him, garnering Freshman All-American honors last year and getting off to another great start this season. He had 11 tackles, a tackle for a loss and 5 rushing yards and a touchdown out of the Wildcat. When asked about his offensive performance after the game, UT coach Derek Dooley said something along the lines of, "He's A.J. He can do anything." Who's to argue?
BLESS HIS HEART
BRIAN RANDOLPH: This dubious distinction could go to any number of players such as Tyler Bray, Antonio Richardson, Marsalis Teague, Jacques Smith, Justin Hunter, Cordarrelle Patterson. Basically everybody who had the opportunity to make a game-changing play and failed. Instead -- since there are so many worthy recipients -- I'm going to give it out for a totally different reason. I think we all feel sorry for Randolph this morning. He's UT's best defensive back, and we won't get to see him anymore this season after he tore his ACL against the Gators. That's a shame and reason enough to bless his heart and wish him well on his recovery. We'll certainly need him last year. Not to pile on [because that's not what we try to do here] but it only added insult to injury when he was corkscrewed trying to tackle UF receiver Frankie Hammond on the play in which he was hurt. Hammond cut around him, and Randolph went down without being touched or touching Hammond. Tragic.
EARNED A START
LADARRELL MCNEIL: Looking up and down the stat sheet and in my mind during the game, there were really no recipients for this award. It was a game where there were few standouts ... much less guys who rarely play. But McNeil made what could have been the play of the game when he corralled the ball carrier on a fake punt at midfield with the Vols up 20-13. In a perfect world -- a bizarro one where we actually beat Florida some days -- we'd have marched it right down after that and seized control. But since we're Tennessee and don't know how to win anymore, we didn't. Still, it was a very big -- and very savvy -- play for the true freshman.