The Tennessee Vols lost to the Alabama Crimson Tide by 22 points this past weekend, but the final score was not indicative of how close the game really was.

Tennessee was a yard away from from making the contest a one score game in the fourth quarter. But redshirt junior quarterback Jarrett Guarantano, for some unknown reason, decided to run a quarterback sneak instead of the play that offensive coordinator Jim Chaney called.

Guarantano fumbled the sneak attempt and Alabama returned the football 100 yards for a touchdown, essentially putting the game out of reach.

On Monday, former Vanderbilt quarterback and now ESPN/SEC Network analyst Jordan Rodgers broke down the goal line play.

Chaney had a perfect play called. And Tennessee’s offensive line executed the play to perfection. Guarantano, however, took matters into his own hands. This has to be frustrating for Vol fans, knowing that Tennessee did everything right to make it a one score game. Who knows what could’ve happened from that point (there were seven minutes left in the game when the fumble occurred).

It’s been a frustrating season so far for Vol fans. But I think there are plenty of signs of hope for Tennessee. If not for some poor quarterback play, Tennessee could easily be 4-2 right now. They might even be 5-1 with a win over Alabama.

The Vols played 27 freshmen and sophomores on Saturday night in Tuscaloosa and managed to hang tough with the top ranked team in the country. There’s been some disappointment this season for UT, but there’s also been a lot of encouraging signs.

Youth and lack of depth aren’t a recipe for success. But in a few years, that youth will be experienced. And there will be plenty of depth on the Vols’ roster.

Tennessee isn’t as far away some folks might think.

Featured image via Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports
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