Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
All eyes tomorrow will be on Justin Worley and any freshmen that may/should follow. We've spent all week dissecting Tennessee's quarterback situation, which you can read about here:
There will be plenty of other words said after Saturday's game about Justin Worley and whoever follows, and plenty of words about our ability or lack thereof to compete with Georgia with whoever ends up
under center in the shotgun. But who else does Tennessee need to become a better team by November, when (if the Vols take care of business Saturday) bowl eligibility will become do or die? Who's not playing quarterback that's worth watching against the Jaguars?
A third of the way through our season, I feel like we still haven't seen what our talented true freshman receiver can do. North leads all Vol pass catchers by a healthy margin with 12 receptions for 112 yards on the year; Pig Howard
is second with 8 for 112. But only nine Tennessee players have caught more than one pass this season, a number that includes both Rajion Neal
and Marlin Lane
, meaning actual wide receiver/tight ends threats have been few and far between this season. Some of that is obviously due to the issues at quarterback, and at Cincinnati Butch Jones and Mike Bajakian didn't always have one go-to guy in the pass game. But North is clearly the favorite target of the Vol offense to this point, and I'd like to see what he can do given a chance to actually make a play once he gets the ball in his hands.
The Vols had two sacks in each of the first three games, then came up empty against the Gators despite several opportunities. Tennessee needs pressure wherever it can find it, and it was encouraging to see freshman Corey Vereen show up immediately when he made his season debut in The Swamp. Look for Vereen to get a lot more than seven snaps this week; Tennessee has a lot of experience in front of him on the defensive line this season, but Vereen can still be helpful in 2013 before being asked to take on a bigger role going forward. Seeing the young guy get a big play behind the line against South Alabama would be very encouraging.
Freshman of the Week in the Secondary
Seriously, now that we think we know all of these guy's names, can Tennessee find consistency in the secondary? Having so many bodies is great, though we wish more of them were on scholarship, but the Vols need to find a reliable group back there to prevent big plays and take better angles. You're starting to see talent emerge, no doubt, but UT has been getting beat in part because walk-ons are going against four and five star skill players from Oregon and Florida. The baptism by fire could continue next week against Georgia...who else will step up?
Where else other than quarterback would you most like to see the Vols improve on Saturday?