The Top 30 chart grows fat on special teams and turnovers with a dash of offense, the Bottom 30 chart gets stomach staples, and the Big Fat Middle discovers a new notch in its belt. All in this week's review of where the Tennessee Volunteers rank in all of the major statistical categories kept by the NCAA.
What Tennessee is currently doing well
There's nothing like a game against an FCS opponent to make the mirror shine again. Several categories that had fallen out of the Top 30 after the Oklahoma game climbed back in this week, including the all important First Downs Offense, Red Zone Offense, and Scoring Offense. We did lose Team Tackles for Loss this week, which is a bit of a concern.
Does anyone else have this odd feeling of being happy and proud of this team and yet a bit unsettled about them? I do, and I have a theory as to why. The early returns show that the team is doing especially well in the special teams and turnover categories. Of the 17 stat categories in which they rank in the Top 30, 11 of those fall in those two categories.
For Vols fans for too many years, "special teams" was something the other team used to beat us on the scoreboard even if we stayed even with them in yards on offense and defense. We've longed for this for too long, and boy does it feel good to perk up and pay more attention when a ball is about to be dropping from the sky into the hands of Evan Berry, Cam Sutton, or ALVIN! Kamara. But because it's a brand new (or again-new) feeling, it's hard to trust to help win a game.
Even more dangerous to trust are the turnovers categories. There's an age-old debate we can wage once again in the comment section about whether turnovers are skill or luck, but at the end of the day the conclusion will be that they are generally a bit of both. And relying on a recipe that is randomly seasoned with Luck is wildly entertaining, but only if you're the one who wins.
So this team is currently really, really good at things that we hope can and will continue. That it's only hope is what's making me queasy.
The team also ranks in the Top 30 in five other categories that are related to the offense, and that's good news except for the fact that two of three opponents so far were FCS and Bowling Green's terrible defense. I expect us to wonder where our offense went against Florida's defense this week, much like it did in the second half against Oklahoma. I hope the coaching staff has answers or aces in pockets.
|Categories in which Tennessee is in the Top 30|
|Blocked Kicks Allowed||
|Blocked Punts Allowed||1||1||1||1|
|Passes Had Intercepted||63||83||107||84||1||28||14|
|Red Zone Offense||58||29||100||5||61||38||23|
|3rd Down Conversion Pct Defense||57||50||91||14||27||58||25|
|First Downs Offense||98||20||101||54||14||40||27|
|Kickoff Return Defense||7||47||118||23||17||9||30|
Back in this week: Scoring Offense, Fumbles Recovered, 3rd Down Conversion Pct Defense, First Downs Offense.
Departing this week: Team Tackles for Loss.
Where Tennessee needs major improvement
This on the other hand is very good news. Last week, the team was in Terrible Land in 11 stat categories. This week, we're only terrible at two things, and of those two only Passing Offense is truly disconcerting. I think we're going to need to pass the ball against Florida, and when I say "pass," I don't really mean throw it to the sideline.
|Categories in which Tennessee is 90th or below|
|4th Down Conversion Pct Defense||48||86||117||26||102||107||114|
Climbing out of the gutter this week: First Downs Defense, 4th Down Conversion Pct, Team Passing Efficiency, Scoring Defense, Red Zone Defense, Completion Percentage, Total Defense, Passing Yards Allowed, Punt Return Defense.
THE BIG FAT MIDDLE
Again, there's a lot of improvement here, which is encouraging. We'll see whether it holds up in SEC play.
|Categories in which Tennessee is in the Middle of the Rankings|
|Fewest Penalty Yards Per Game||51||67||21||6||44||70||33|
|Fewest Penalty Yards||9||45||72||38|
|Team Tackles for Loss||67||48||90||21||27||20||41|
|Fewest Penalties Per Game||56||92||26||7||22||74||42|
|First Downs Defense||18||86||45||33||92||91||49|
|Team Passing Efficiency Defense||58||24||86||74||51|
|Time of Possession||37||116||91||51||27||61||51|
|4th Down Conversion Pct||91||80||76||26||70||100||55|
|3rd Down Conversion Pct||56||81||92||78||19||39||56|
|Team Passing Efficiency||69||31||111||70||34||95||61|
|Tackles for Loss Allowed||38||9||37||122||54||89||61|
|Red Zone Defense||47||115||11||124||32||98||68|
|Passing Yards per Completion||115||116||40||68||77|
|Passing Yards Allowed||12||111||27||22||120||108||81|
|Punt Return Defense||85||67||92||11||107||98||89|
Players in the Top 30
Special teams and turnovers. Mayhem on defense, Hurd on offense. Oh, and Mr. Invisible, Trevor Daniel.
|Evan Berry||Kickoff Returns||8||1|
|Evan Berry||Kickoff Return TDs||2|
|Alvin Kamara||Punt Return TDs||2|
|Jalen Reeves-Maybin||Solo Tackles||12||2||9|
|Jalen Hurd||Rushing TDs||3||8||9|
|Jalen Reeves-Maybin||Fumbles Recovered||2||4||10|
|Derek Barnett||Fumbles Recovered||10|
|Shy Tuttle||Fumbles Recovered||10|
|Jalen Reeves-Maybin||Total Tackles||2||12|
|Evan Berry||Combined Kick Returns||29||14|
|Todd Kelly, Jr.||Interceptions||6||16|
|Cameron Sutton||Punt Returns||4||13||17|
|Joshua Dobbs||Points Responsible For||18||25||25|
|Jalen Reeves-Maybin||Tackles For Loss||7||27|
|Ethan Wolf||Receiving TDs||4||16|
|Jalen Reeves-Maybin||Forced Fumbles||19|
|Jalen Hurd||Rushing Yards||29||26|
|Jalen Hurd||Rushing Yards Per Game||29||28|
|Alvin Kamara||Rush Yards Per Carry||9|
|Alvin Kamara||Rushing Yards||14|
|Alvin Kamara||Rushing Yards Per Game||14|
|Cameron Sutton||Combined Kick Returns||17|
|Jalen Hurd||Points Responsible For||18|
|Joshua Dobbs||Points Responsible For Per Game||19|
|Jalen Hurd||Points Responsible For Per Game||19|
|Derek Barnett||Tackles For Loss||6|
|Cameron Sutton||Punt Return TDs||11|
|Aaron Medley||Field Goals Per Game||17|
|A.J. Johnson||Total Tackles||4||19|
|Cameron Sutton||Passes Defended||24|
|A.J. Johnson||Solo Tackles||25|
|Dontavis Sapp||Fumbles Recovered||9|
|Devaun Swafford||Punt Return TDs||14|
|Cordarrelle Patterson||Kickoff Returns||14|
|Cordarrelle Patterson||All-Purpose Runners||16|
|Tyler Bray||Total Offense||19|
|Justin Hunter||Receiving Yards Per Game||22|
|Devrin Young||Punt Returns||28|
|Tyler Bray||Passing Efficiency||29|