All right, let's get this out of the way.
At the top of the curve.Um, the waterboy?
In the usually big and fat but today oddly roomy middle of the curve.
Quarterback. Erik Ainge completed 26 of 41 pass attempts (63%) for 249 yards, one touchdown, and one interception. He must share at least some of the blame for the momentum changing fumble and the inability to stretch the field vertically. You'd also like for your QB to elevate the play of his teammates, but that didn't happen Saturday. Displayed an unnerving inability to get beyond the red zone and into the end zone, with the exception of the fine TD pass to Chris Brown.
At the bulging bottom of the curve.
Special teams. Okay, yeah, Britton Colquitt kicked directly to Florida's Brandon James and the coverage unit missed every opportunity for a tackle pretty much paving the way for James to dart 83 yards to the end zone for a tone-setting score, but the rest really wasn't all that bad. Daniel Lincoln hit two field goals, one from 28 yards and one from 22 yards. Colquitt punted five times for an average of 46.2 yards and placed one inside the 20. And LaMarcus Coker ran a kickoff back for 74 yards, which was the second best play of the game.
Defensive line. Xavier Mitchell had four total tackles, including one for a loss. Wes Brown, Robert Ayers, Walter Fisher, and Demonte Bolden each had two tackles. But they gave up 255 yards on the ground to Florida and did not record a sack or even a quarterback hurry. Tennessee is currently 90th in the country in rushing defense. Oy.
Offensive line. Tennessee ranks 31st in the nation in passing offense, and there were no sacks allowed during the Florida game, so this unit gets some credit for that, but they must also take some of the blame for the grossly inadequate rushing game. Tennessee is currently 90th in the nation in rushing offense. I'll say it again -- 90th. The coaches appear to have no confidence in this unit or the running game in general in short yardage situations. Ramon Foster had two penalties for not lining up on the line of scrimmage, and Anthony Parker and Eric Young were each penalized for false starts.
Running backs. Thirty-seven net yards rushing, and the longest run of the game was 6 yards. No explosiveness, and little, if any, yards after contact. Arian Foster shares the blame for the momentum-changing fumble. LaMarcus Coker still appears to be the most dynamic running back, but he didn't do much with his five carries.
Receivers. Josh Briscoe had a decent game, catching eight passes for 76 yards. Lucas Taylor had six catches for 57 yards, Austin Rogers had four catches for 64 yards, and tight end Chris Brown had four catches for 35 yards and the game's only offensive touchdown. Rogers had the longest reception of the day, a 32-yarder, but he also dropped two third-down conversion attempts. The continued inability to stretch the field is a real problem.
Defensive backs. Eric Berry's 96 yard interception return for a touchdown was the highlight of the game. Unfortunately, he was also the victim of one (perhaps two) other touchdown passes. This unit's (and the rest of the defense's, except for Rico McCoy's) unwillingness or inability to tackle is still a problem. Florida receivers consistently beat the secondary, and Tim Tebow had completions of 25, 30, 49, 48, 20 and 44 yards. Oy again.
Linebackers. No match for Tim Tebow. Rico McCoy did record seven tackles, five of them solo. Ryan Karl also had seven tackles, and did a fine job defending Percy Harvin in pass coverage when he found himself mis-matched. Jerod Mayo recorded six tackles, but mostly this unit was overmatched by Tebow's power and the running backs'/receivers' speed in the running game.
Coaching. Not a good day for Tennessee coaches. The team did not appear to be ready to play, either mentally or physically, and the Vols were utterly out-schemed. The coaching staff appears either not willing to put young playmakers on the field or unable to get them ready to play, and they appear to be unable to fix persistent problems on special teams and in the running game.
Overall. This bell curve is cracked. It begins with C and ends with F. Not a good day for the Volunteers.