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Seven Maxims Scorecard: Bama

Measuring the Vols performance against General Neyland's timeless Seven Maxims of Football.

John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Since the 1930's the University of Tennessee has been measuring themselves against seven keys to winning football as first summarized by General Robert Neyland. The Seven Maxim's Scorecard is a quantitative and qualitative analysis of how, relative to that week's opponent, the Vols performed against each of the seven directives. Grading is on a 4.0 scale, with a 4.0 being perfect, which is rare. In this analysis, it's possible for Tennessee to have won without excelling on all fronts, but it is impossible to have performed well in all seven areas in a loss. Time to lick some wounds.


1. The team that makes the fewest mistakes will win. (2.6)

Playing disciplined football.


Considering the score, Tennessee played with surprisingly few mistakes. However, the ones the Vols had went to the endzone.

2. Play for and make and make the breaks and when one comes your way - SCORE (1.3)


The number of big plays Bama was able to generate out of the running game was staggering. The Crimson Tide has been doing this all year long so this is more about their excellence than Tennessee's shortcomings. But still...

3. If at first the game - or the breaks - go against you, don't let up... put on more steam. (1.1)
Positive responses to bad circumstances, regardless of the situation.


The defense fought valiantly in the first half but four straight weeks of Top-25 opponents and a defense filled with backups (and backup's backups) finally caught up with Tennessee. The offense didn't have good results following "bad breaks," but those results weren't any different the rest of the game either. Again, this was more about Alabama's excellence.

4. Protect our kickers, our QB, our lead and our ball game. (0.3)
Minimizing opponent opportunity to strike quickly or make a comeback.


Disclosure: I have no idea what a "hurry" is. It's typically the last stat to get populated in the box score so it's safe to say there's a lot of room for interpretation. What is not up for interpretation is that Josh Dobbs was not comfortable in the pocket all day. Whether or not there were "hurries," Dobbs was certainly "hurried" all day long.

5. Ball, oskie, cover, block, cut and slice, pursue and gang tackle... for this is the WINNING EDGE. (0.1)
All about fundamentals; the little things. Many of them, not stat-friendly. 


Suffice to say that Bama did the little things better. No point in belaboring it.

6. Press the kicking game. Here is where the breaks are made. (1.3)
Special teams held a special place in the General's heart.


The coverage units did not have a good day. Punter Trevor Daniel did not have a great day and the unit -€” perhaps from over-use -€” gave up a 60 yard return for touchdown. Medley had one of only three kickoffs go out of bounds. On the other hand, both punt returns and several kick returns went for good yardage; but the biggest return got called back due to a penalty. Medley made his lone FG opportunity. Not a great day, but Maxim 6 was not the reason Tennessee lost this game.

7. Carry the fight to our opponent and keep it there for 60 minutes. (1.8)
Coaching staff's gameplan... and the players' execution of it.


Alabama averaged a staggering 5.2 yards per play more than Tennessee. A truly staggering number.

Bottom Line Seven Maxims Scorecard Result: 1.2

Alabama was better than this collection of Tennessee players. If the same teams played the game 100 times the result would be the same 99 times or more. But here's the thing, if the Vols take care of business against a back-half schedule where they'll be favored to win every game, there's a really good chance Team 120 will be seeing the Crimson Tide again. This game marked the end of Tennessee's gauntlet; it was only the beginning of Bama's. As ugly as this game was, the Vols have a chance to get a few players back and get a rematch against a Bama squad who may have a few bumps and bruises of their own. A 1-in-100 chance to beat Alabama in the SEC Championship Game would be one more shot at winning the SEC than Tennessee has had at anytime in the past 12 years. So let's take that shot.