When the Tennessee Vols returned a fumble for a touchdown on Georgia’s opening drive on Saturday, I felt like like there was a legitimate chance that we would see an upset in Athens.
A few hours later, though, and it was apparent that an upset wasn’t in the cards.
In fact, it wasn’t even a close game.
Georgia, thanks to their incredibly stout defense, dominated the Vols in the second half on their way to a 44-21 win.
It’s a familiar feeling for Tennessee fans. Georgia has won by at least 23 points in each of the last four seasons.
I can understand if Tennessee fans are frustrated after Saturday’s game. They should be.
Jeremy Pruitt is in his third year as the program’s head coach. And I think he’s done a great job. I think he is THE guy for the Vols. I don’t question his ability as a head coach.
But there’s no doubt that Pruitt was out-coached on Saturday.
Georgia did a better job in every phase of the game. They were more disciplined, they won the line of scrimmage and they forced turnovers. They did all the things that good teams do.
Tennessee simply didn’t.
At this point, I don’t know what the answer is for the Vols. I don’t know when they’re going to take the next step.
UT has what I believe is a good coach. They have top 15 talent. They have a tremendous coaching staff. Everything is in place for the program to be great. It just hasn’t happened yet.
One reason, of course, is the quarterback. Jarrett Guarantano probably shouldn’t be an SEC starter. I respect him as a competitor, but he’s not a top tier quarterback. He’s barely average.
There’s no doubt the Vols need better quarterback play if they want to be an elite program.
But that’s not the only reason Tennessee is…stuck.
I wish I could tell you what the issue is. I wish I could point to a simple solution. But there isn’t one. And that’s what is so frustrating for Tennessee fans.
The Vols should be better than what we saw on Saturday. They have all the ingredients.
They just don’t have the right recipe.
I think Pruitt is the right guy to figure it out. But he won’t get the benefit of the doubt if he can’t start delivering wins against teams other than South Carolina and Missouri.
Featured image via Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports