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Stat rankings show improvement for the Vols despite the losses

Comparing year to year, Tennessee appears to be improving. Now to tackle that Stat That Matters Most.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Top 30 chart compares favorably to 2014, the Bottom 30 limits itself to one additional pimple, and the Big Fat Middle generally holds its form. 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

A year ago, after the Vols had played four games (with two of them against Oklahoma and Georgia), Tennessee was in the Top 30 in a total of 10 of the official NCAA stats. This year, after four games (with two of them against Oklahoma and Florida), they're in the Top 30 in a total of 19 stats. Last year, it was mostly penalties and defense; this year, they've added some special teams, some turnovers, and a little bit of offense.

We've noted before that progress can be difficult to see if you only look at the W-L column (and that "rebuilding is an imperfect metaphor), but if you can see through giant, block-letter Ls, there appears to be some positive progress here.

Categories in which Tennessee is in the Top 30
Category 2011 2012 2013

2014

BG OK WC FL
Blocked Kicks Allowed

1

1 1 1 1
Blocked Punts Allowed 1 1 1 1 1
Kickoff Returns 41 80 20 14 5 8 3 2
Turnovers Lost 20 58 87 61 1 7 4 5
Net Punting 104 52 28 36 57 18 13 7
Passes Had Intercepted 63 83 107 84 1 28 14 9
Red Zone Offense 58 29 100 5 61 38 23 12
3rd Down Conversion Pct Defense 57 50 91 14 27 58 25 13
Fumbles Lost 6 28 24 37 1 1 1 14
Turnover Margin 59 88 54 53 26 26 8 16
Blocked Kicks 70 3 4 11 18
Fewest Penalty Yards Per Game 51 67 21 6 44 70 33 18
Rushing Offense 116 61 44 89 4 20 17 18
Scoring Offense 106 22 94 62 13 32 13 20
Fewest Penalty Yards 9 45 72 38 22
Punt Returns 61 22 51 37 6 13 17 25
4th Down Conversion Pct 91 80 76 26 70 100 55 27
Kickoff Return Defense 7 47 118 23 17 9 30 28
Fewest Penalties Per Game 56 92 26 7 22 74 42 29
New this week: Fewest Penalty Yards Per Game, Fewest Penalty Yards, 4th Down Conversion Pct.
Back in this week: Fewest Penalties Per Game.
Departing this week: Fumbles Recovered, First Downs Offense.

Where Tennessee needs major improvement

How good must our running game be for the team to be 18th in Rushing Offense and 93rd in TFLs Allowed? And someone needs to get a telegram to Jancek or whoever is setting strategy for the defense on fourth downs that they need to check their notes from last season.

Categories in which Tennessee is 90th or below
Category 2011 2012 2013 2014 BG OK WC FL
Tackles for Loss Allowed 38 9 37 122 54 89 61 93
Passing Offense 50 15 109 70 76 105 97 102
4th Down Conversion Pct Defense 48 86 117 26 102 107 114 123
New this week: Tackles for Loss Allowed.
Climbing out of the gutter this week:
None.

THE BIG FAT MIDDLE

This is not too troubling.

Categories in which Tennessee is in the Middle of the Rankings
Category 2011 2012 2013 2014 BG OK WC FL
Fumbles Recovered 71 113 29 78 21 47 18 33
First Downs Offense 98 20 101 54 14 40 27 34
Fewest Penalties 13 23 77 48 38
Passes Intercepted 86 56 40 15 45 42 40
Turnovers Gained 91 95 35 34 60 55 31 41
Time of Possession 37 116 91 51 27 61 51 44
Team Tackles for Loss 67 48 90 21 27 20 41 46
First Downs Defense 18 86 45 33 92 91 49 51
Team Sacks 100 98 99 29 29 37 74 51
Rushing Defense 69 85 100 65 53 64 70 52
3rd Down Conversion Pct 56 81 92 78 19 39 56 54
Team Passing Efficiency Defense 58 24 86 74 51 56
Total Offense 104 18 102 90 14 61 54 56
Team Passing Efficiency 69 31 111 70 34 95 61 57
Completion Percentage 32 49 109 75 70
Scoring Defense 36 104 78 35 82 93 64 70
Passing Yards per Completion 115 116 40 68 77 71
Punt Return Defense 85 67 92 11 107 98 89 75
Total Defense 28 107 83 36 114 104 78 76
Sacks Allowed 40 5 21 117 27 71 72 83
Passing Yards Allowed 12 111 27 22 120 108 81 87
Red Zone Defense 47 115 11 124 32 98 68 88

Players in the Top 30

Player Stat 2011 2012 2013 2014 BG OK WC FL
Alvin Kamara Punt Return TDs 2 2
Evan Berry Kickoff Returns 8 1 4
Evan Berry Kickoff Return TDs 2 4
Trevor Daniel Punting 4 4 5
Jalen Hurd Rushing TDs 3 8 9 9
Jalen Hurd Scoring 4 16 13 9
Jalen Reeves-Maybin Solo Tackles 12 2 9 11
Jalen Reeves-Maybin Fumbles Recovered 2 4 10 16
Derek Barnett Fumbles Recovered 10 16
Shy Tuttle Fumbles Recovered 10 16
Jalen Reeves-Maybin Total Tackles 2 12 16
Evan Berry Combined Kick Returns 29 14 16
Jalen Reeves-Maybin Tackles For Loss 7 27 19
Cameron Sutton Punt Returns 4 13 17 23
Jalen Hurd Rushing Yards 29 26 26
Aaron Medley Field Goals Per Game 17 26
Todd Kelly, Jr. Interceptions 6 16
Aaron Medley Scoring 24
Joshua Dobbs Points Responsible For 18 25 25
Ethan Wolf Receiving TDs 4 16
Jalen Reeves-Maybin Forced Fumbles 19
Jalen Reeves-Maybin Sacks 25
Jalen Hurd Rushing Yards Per Game 29 28