Our dear, dear friend and former colleague Austin Burlage tweeted about the high grade given to Tennessee’s WR group by Pro Football Focus from last week’s games. (NOTE: if you like football and watching football and then also like trying to better understand football, PLEASE follow him on Twitter. He’s fabulous with a capital PH.)
(NOTE: That’s a joke, like how fat used to be spelled PHAT when it was something cool. The fact that I felt the need to explain that means I should probably delete it. But you only live once — make every single bad joke you can. It’s the stuff of life.)
Please resist the urge to scoop out your eyes with rusty spoons at the disgusting graphic featuring Alabama players and focus on the list that has the Vols WRs graded out as the second best unit in the country.
Tennessee’s WR contingent was, by many, one of the biggest concerns for the team coming into the season. Josh Palmer, mostly the team’s third wide-out for the last two seasons, was the lone, remaining “sure-thing,” from a group that lost Vol-God Jauan Jennings and down-field, jump-ball virtuoso Marquez Callaway to the NFL.
(NOTE: Palmer is doing his best to fill the void left by Jennings and Callaway — he leads the team in catches and yards with 10 and 156, respectively.)
(NOTE: The CRIMINALLY UNDRAFTED Callaway made his first career NFL reception last week for the Saints after joining the team on a post-draft free-agent deal with the team in April . Not a bad landing spot for the boy, eh?
The rest of the remaining WRs on the team, prior to the season, were question marks, though intriguing ones. Jalin Hyatt and Malachi Wideman are as athletic as any college player out there, and Jimmy Holiday has already shown a penchant for making big, timely plays by recovering that punt at the end of the game against South Carolina. I hope this play gives Will Muschamp heart palpitations until his dying day.
Holiday making waves on special teams isn’t really a surprise, he was a do-it-all, put-your-best-athlete at QB, QB in high school and, allegedly, has 4.38 speed in the forty-yard dash,
(NOTE: I find that 4.38 mark highly dubious, as very, very few humans possess that kind of speed. But whatever his forty number is, it was enough to get downfield against South Carolina and pounce on that ball like a lioness pounces on a hapless baby antelope.)
Hyatt recorded his first career catch as a Vol against the Tigers Saturday, reeling in a Lebron-James-like DIME from Jarrett Guarantano, leading him with the pass toward the open field, even though the play ended up on the far side of the field near the sideline.
It would have been nice for there to have been more green, green grass in front of Hyatt, but this serendipitous occurrence led to hands down, or shoulda-been-hands up, maybe, a satisfying surprise, when Hyatt popped an out-of-bounds Missouri player with a very necessary stiff arm to the dome. This team seems full of guys who just want to dominate. That’s good for teams that like winning games.
The blue-hair of the WR crew, redshirt senior Brandon Johnson made the magical one-handed grab against SC in week one, and he followed it up with three more grabs for 17 yards against the Tigers, including a third-down grab that set up steamroller turned QB Guarantano’s 4th down sneak conversation.
(NOTE: I’m just poking fun at Johnson, he’s not old, he’s twenty-freaking-two. He’s just the most senior member of the WRs. And even if i have to smash a square peg into a round hole, I’ll work a Simpsons reference into a story. It’s just who I am, and while you don’t have to like it, you do have to accept it because this is America and those are the rules.)
While the group graded out as the country’s second-best WR corps in the country for last week, it’s worth showering more praise on Palmer, who’s the 11th highest graded WR in the country, according to PFF’s database. Go Josh, you’re very cool and very dope and very awesome at running and jumping and catching things people throw at you. (NOTE: what an odd collection of skills that combine to make the ingredients of possible millionaires.) I hope you continue balling out.
It seems that what at one point was thought to be a weakness may turn out to be a strength for Tennessee. I really prefer it when these things work out like this as opposed to the opposite. Good things that go bad suck. Like fruit. Full of sugar and no staying power. No thanks.