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Offensive Review: Indiana State

Well, that was fun, right? Just kidding, it was pretty boring. Tennessee defeating Indiana State 42-7 means whatever you want it to mean: if you’re overly positive, it was an expected win where younger players continued to show out. If you’re more negative, it enhanced some serious and severe flaws with the team. If you’re in between, you’ve just been waiting for Florida all along, and that’s fine.

I only charted 51 offensive snaps for Tennessee, none of them in the fourth quarter. Anything after Tennessee made the score 35-7 was garbage time, so here’s a summary:

  • Tim Jordan was a curiosity scholarship flyer that flashed some good abilities, and I feel that there’s interesting ways to use him down the road, perhaps on special teams.
  • Tennessee’s opponents are now 0 for 3 on field goals.
  • Jarrett Guarantano has talent, and it’s clear, but he also looked jumpy and pretty forgettable in this game. The wide receivers dropped two of his passes and I wish he’d gotten more time with Callaway on the field (the WR rotations continue to baffle me), but I don’t know how much it would’ve helped.
  • With that said, the touchdown was very good and he had a good run late in the game.
  • The second-string defense couldn’t defend a jet sweep all that well either.

And that’s it. Let’s get into the rest I guess.

The offensive line has a very, very long way to go

Our offensive line grading system this year will be simple: +1 for a great block, +0.5 for a good, solid one, 0 for a draw, -0.5 for a suboptimal block, -1 for bad or worse. Here’s how each lineman graded out in the first three quarters:

  • Trey Smith: 3 great, 3 good, 2 bad or worse (+2.5)
  • Jashon Robertson: 2 great, 1 good, 2 bad or worse (+0.5)
  • Jack Jones: 1 great, 2 good, 2 bad or worse (0)
  • Brett Kendrick: 1 great, 1 good, 3 suboptimal, 2 bad or worse (-1.5)
  • Drew Richmond: 1 great, 1 good, 6 bad or worse (-4.5)

Here’s some thoughts.

  • Trey Smith is clearly the best offensive lineman on the roster, and it isn’t close. It is your guess as to why they didn’t try him out at left tackle, but he also probably wouldn’t be quite as good just yet at left tackle. I don’t think Trey Smith has been great, but he’s been good-to-pretty-good, and that’s all it takes to be the easy #1 on the roster right now.
  • Tennessee’s still struggling mightily to create downfield holes. You want four yards and a cloud of dust? Tennessee can probably do that for now. However, unless John Kelly, Ty Chandler, or Carlin Fils-Aime create their own holes, big plays are almost impossible right now. For Tennessee’s best lineman to grade out as a +2.5 against Indiana State is really alarming – the goal should be at least +5 or better against these teams, and really +6. For four of Tennessee’s linemen to either barely be a net positive or worse is really scary. Indiana State doesn’t have a single three-star on the roster. They should be getting tossed around, and weren’t.
  • After two games, two linemen have positive grades combined: Smith and Brett Kendrick. Kendrick was bad on Saturday against Indiana State, which isn’t a good sign…but he was also Tennessee’s best lineman against Georgia Tech by a fair margin. Maybe he was re-adjusting to right tackle? Not sure. In the second half, he struggled to block a 230 pound defensive end, which isn’t good.
  • Drew Richmond. A -4.5 game would be bad against someone like Florida. A -4.5 game against Indiana State is a gigantic, flaming red flag with demons screaming. Other, better teams are paying attention and will hammer Richmond all night long.
  • Still not much rotation. Coleman Thomas and Venzel Boulware got some reps, but neither stood out. If Richmond continues to struggle, you’ll see one or the other slide in as the team sends Kendrick back to LT.

No questions answered at quarterback, except for who’s starting

I still don’t believe Quinten Dormady is anything special so far, but he’ll be starting until he gets injured or he has a 2013 Nathan Peterman game. He was better in this one – I counted him at 14/19 for 202 yards and two touchdowns, along with one atrocious interception. However, that was his only interceptable ball. Here’s how he fared at depths and shades of the field:

  • Long: 1-4, 19 yards, TD, three overthrows
  • Middle: 6-7, 116 yards, TD, INT, average depth of target (ADOT) 15.6
  • Short: 7-8, 67 yards, ADOT -1

Basically, minus the interception, Indiana State gave Dormady whatever he wanted under 20 yards. He got away with more open hip/footwork issues thanks to better hands and lesser coverage today. We didn’t learn much other than Dormady can pass on air fairly well. Guarantano’s 4-12 was marred a bit by a pair of drops (including a potential 30 yard pass play to Jeff George), but he had an awful staredown play on a PA Read and struggled to get in a rhythm offensively. Dormady’s your starter going forward, and I wonder how they get JG on the field if they aren’t going to let him run (two runs against ISU).

John Kelly had 23 touches against Indiana State

Butch Jones complains about playing three games in 13 days but plays by far his best offensive player well into the second half against Indiana State. Come on.

The halfbacks are #good

Literally every single one of them is good. They’ll need to be.

This week’s usage of formations, up to the end of the third quarter (51 snaps):

  • Shotgun (48 of 51 snaps, 24 passes, 24 runs), 323 yards (6.7 YPP)
    • Shotgun Base: 14 snaps (5 passes, 9 runs), 115 yards (8.2 YPP)
    • Shotgun Ace: 3 snaps (1 pass, 2 runs), 22 yards (7.3 YPP)
    • Shotgun Double Flex: 7 snaps (5 passes, 2 runs), 30 yards (4.3 YPP)
    • Shotgun Overload Right: 2 snaps (1 pass, 1 run), 11 yards (5.5 YPP)
    • Shotgun Split Slot: 2 snaps (2 passes, both HB Swing), 11 yards (5.5 YPP)
    • Shotgun TE Left: 6 snaps (3 passes, 3 runs), 48 yards (8 YPP)
    • Shotgun TE Right: 6 snaps (3 passes, 3 runs), 4 yards (0.7 YPP)
    • Shotgun Trips Left: 5 snaps (5 passes), 58 yards (11.6 YPP)
    • Shotgun Trips Right: 2 snaps (2 runs, both HB Draw), 20 yards (10 YPP)
    • Shotgun Twin TE: 1 snap (1 run), 4 yards (4 YPP)
  • Under Center (3 snaps, 2 passes, 1 run), 14 yards (4.7 YPP)
    • I-Form Two TE: 1 snap (1 run), -3 yards (-3 YPP)
    • Singleback: 1 snap (1 pass), 0 yards
    • Strong: 1 snap (1 pass), 17 yards (17 YPP)

Here’s how these same formations look on the season through 1.75 games. Examples or drawings of each formation are linked so you can follow along as to what the formation is.

I find it very alarming that in Tennessee’s Shotgun Trips Left formation, they’ve thrown the ball 20 of 21 times. That’s incredibly predictable, and it didn’t change at all against Indiana State. Even more alarming, three of the five designed runs in Trips so far have been delayed draw plays. Either Tennessee as a whole has a very limited running playbook out of this or they’re deliberately forcing pass plays through it. Better teams will combat that.

I don’t know how to explain TE Left and TE Right having majorly different results; I feel they’ll regress to being similar throughout the season. Everything I said last week still stands:

Will Tennessee pay attention to these issues? Who knows.

Here’s the first three quarters in spreadsheet form:

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