Tennessee's statistical rankings after Alabama

John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Tennessee's schedule is no doubt impacting its national statistical rankings, but overall they're not so bad with the exception of most categories relating to the passing game.

Tennessee took hits in a couple of statistical categories after facing Alabama, but overall the numbers still look surprisingly okay. The Vols obviously still need to improve some of the more important categories to get them into a more competitive territory, and they really need to do something about the passing game, which is the only really bad aspect of the team right now. Fix that and move some of the more important things from average to good, and this team could really be quite good.

What Tennessee is doing well

There's a decent amount of green in the Top 30 chart even after a schedule featuring games against teams ranked 1, 2, 6, 11, and 19. The only problem is that most of it isn't points or yards. Tennessee is a disciplined team that can keep opponents out of the Vols' backfield and win the turnover and field position battles. Moving the ball and keeping the other team from moving the ball? Still works in progress.

Categories in which Tennessee is in the Top 30
Category 2011 2012 AP WKU OR FL SA GA BYE SC AL
Fewest Penalty Yards Per Game 51 67 - 2 4 3 4 10 9 9 9
4th Down Conversion Pct 91 80 - -

1

43 42 4 4 4 10
Passes Intercepted 86 56 12 1 2 5 1 2 6 6 12
Fewest Penalties Per Game 56 92 - 1 3 2 8 17 18 21 16
Turnovers Gained 91 95 26 1 3 3 3 6 12 14 17
Pass Sacks Allowed 40 5 23 18 5 11 19 25 21 23 19
Red Zone Defense 47 115 - 5 19 30 26 24 24 20 22
Tackles for Loss Allowed 38 9 54 29 7 11 4 4 3 34 22
Kickoff Returns 41 80 1 7 19 29 28 36 37 41 26
Net Punting 104 52 7 101 104 95 72 44 42 35 27

New Arrivals: Tackles for Loss Allowed (from 3 to 34 to 22), Kickoff Returns (from 41 to 26), Net Punting (from 35 to 27).
Dropped out: Team Passing Efficiency Defense (from 38 to 27 to 49), Punt Return Defense (from 34 to 30 to 31).

Where Tennessee needs major improvement

After two consecutive weeks during which there were no new entries into the Bottom 30, we have three new ones this week: Passes Had Intercepted, Total Offense, and Kickoff Return Defense all fell down the well this week. Only Kickoff Return Defense is a real surprise, as the others were still flirting with futility for some time after having crawled to safety earlier in the season. Nothing made it out alive into the Big, Fat Middle this week.

Basically, the passing game is still a real liability, and it's weighing down what is not a bad rushing offense. If Tennessee fixes that, there are only two categories remaining in this Bottom 30 chart.

Categories in which Tennessee is in the Bottom 30
Category 2011 2012 AP WKU OR FL SA GA BYE SC AL
4th Down Conversion Pct Defense 48 86 34 70 113 105 91 107 105 111 119
Passing Offense 50 15 101 108 114 114 112 111 111 109 110
Team Passing Efficiency 69 31 25 46 72 100 100 100 103 106 110
Passing Yards per Completion 102 90 103 105 105 102 102 105 101
Passes Had Intercepted 63 83 1 39 17 99 112 107 99 87 96
Total Offense 104 18 51 65 78 103 93 90 87 89 96
Kickoff Return Defense 7 47 76 77 78 88 76 76 76 73 95

New Arrivals: Passes Had Intercepted, Total Offense, and Kickoff Return Defense.
Climbed out: None.

THE BIG FAT MIDDLE

And here's the rest, for tracking purposes.

Categories in which Tennessee is in the Middle of the Rankings
Category 2011 2012 AP WKU OR FL SA GA BYE SC AL
Punt Return Defense 85 67 2 43 93 80 59 33 34 30 31
Turnover Margin 59 88 24 3 4 29 41 53 49 34 41
Rushing Offense 116 61 11 23 29 46 34 32 29 37 41
Fumbles Recovered 71 113 - 22 48 15 28 37 56 47 43
Fumbles Lost 6 28 57 32 56 92 81 89 75 59 44
Punt Returns 61 22 28 40 60 56 47 41 41 44 45
Team Passing Efficiency Defense 14 10 71 72 36 37 38 27 49
Red Zone Offense 58 29 1 59 52 63 68 73 75 59 51
Passing Yards Allowed 12 111 17 38 102 80 82 78 78 63 70
Scoring Offense 106 22 20 13 41 59 59 55 51 60 72
Scoring Defense 36 104 1 15 73 73 74 75 75 65 78
3rd Down Conversion Pct 56 81 13 26 52 56 58 59 61 70 82
Time of Possession 37 116 55 70 45 84 85 78 82 70 82
Total Defense 28 107 11 29 90 82 78 79 80 75 83
Turnovers Lost 20 58 25 31 32 103 112 106 94 77 83
First Downs Offense 98 20 12 26 43 65 35 41 86 78 83
Rushing Defense 69 85 19 43 65 75 71 80 80 83 85
First Downs Defense 18 86 8 39 83 88 98 106 68 70

88

Team Tackles for Loss 67 48 38 29 55 56 81 72 72 65 89
3rd Down Conversion Pct Defense 57 50 10 60 81 103 96 89 91 79 93
Team Pass Sacks 100 98 41 48 50 77 92 101 101 75 93

Players in the Top 30

Same guys holding the reins here, Rajion Neal and Michael Palardy.

Player Stat 2011 2012 AP WKU OR FL SA GA BYE SC AL
Devaun Swafford Punt Return TDs 5 5 6 6
Michael Palardy Punting 19 26 22 8 7 13 10
Rajion Neal Rushing TDs 28 12 21 22 19
Rajion Neal Rushing Yards 19 11 19 24 26
Rajion Neal Rushing Yards Per Game 15 25 23 26
Brian Randolph Interceptions 3 14 25 21 28 19 29
Max Arnold Fumbles Recovered 23 25
Vincent Dallas Kickoff Returns 12
Rajion Neal Scoring 14
Dontavis Sapp Fumbles Recovered 23
Brent Brewer Forced Fumbles 24
Dontavis Sapp Forced Fumbles 24
Rajion Neal Rushing Yards 15 27
Justin Worley Passing Efficiency 28
Daniel Hood Interceptions 7
Malik Foreman Interceptions 7
Justin Worley Points Responsible For 13
Devrin Young Punt Returns 28 21
Daniel Hood Passes Defended 21
Marlin Lane Scoring 21
Marlon Walls Tackles For Loss 30
A.J. Johnson Tackles 4
Byron Moore Interceptions 13
Cordarrelle Patterson Kickoff Returns 14
Cordarrelle Patterson All-Purpose Runners 16
Tyler Bray Total Offense 19
Justin Hunter Receiving Yards Per Game 22
Tyler Bray Passing Efficiency 29
Austin Johnson Interceptions 23
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