InsideTennessee.com staff give you our thoughts following Tennessee's 37-17 win over Kentucky. Check back each week as we give you our post game take.
Randy Moore's Thoughts
What could be more fitting than a Tennessee season that went to the dogs ending with a defeat of the Cats?
The season I thought would never end finally came to a merciful close Saturday at Neyland Stadium, where the Big Orange thumped the Big Blue under interim coach Jim Chaney. I feel sorry for the fans who paid good money to watch the Vols go 5-7 this fall. Tennessee simply did not put a good product on the field.
Back to Saturday's game: Tyler Bray passed for 293 yards, repeatedly finding Justin Hunter and Cordarrelle Patterson open. The Vols averaged nearly six yards per carry, benefiting from some big holes created by the offensive line.
For the first time in eight games Tennessee's defense held an opponent to less than 38 points. That says a lot about how bad this Vol “stop unit” has been, doesn't it? There was a hint of a pass rush this week, something that was missing in the previous 11 games. Never mind that UK has one of the worst offenses in college football.
Tennessee's special-teams play was pretty good. Michael Palardy punted well, twice bottling up the Wildcats inside their 15-yard line. He also made his only field-goal attempt, a 33-yarder, and generally kicked off well.
Special Teams: B
Josh Woodward’s Thoughts
Well it's been a long season that has finally come to an end. This season will be remembered with one of the better offenses in Tennessee history versus one of the worst defenses in Tennessee history. These Tennessee seniors get to go out with a win, which, with what all they have been through at Tennessee, is something to feel good about. The next head coach at Tennessee has a lot of work to do, but he has a base to build with.
Offensively, the team played loose and could score at will. The big question remains, will the big 3 will be back next year? That will be the first recruiting pitch from the new head coach. Marlin Lane got better as the season went and looked comfortable with the ball. He will need to work on his speed in the off-season. Jim Chaney spread the ball around today and Tyler Bray was able to make good throws only bad thing on offense was another Justin Hunter drop.
Defensively, the Vols continue to struggle, but the where able to stop Kentucky enough to get the win. Jordan Williams was all over the field today along with Naz Oliver. It will be interesting to see what scheme the new defensive coordinator brings, they just need some more speed in the secondary and they will be fine.
Tennessee has a history of having good kickers, this is the biggest place for improvement on this team. Tennessee must get better on special teams.
Special Teams: B
Chris Price’s Thoughts
Well the seniors get to go out on a win. It was one of the few this season, but the Vols came out motivated, relaxed and concentrated on getting a win to end an otherwise atrocious season.
Tyler Bray did his normal 300-yard, four-touchdown performance against a weak opponent to pad his stats as a quarterback at Tennessee. Then Hunter dropped another ball that should have been a first down. Story of the year for him really. On the other hand, Cordarrelle Patterson put on another show. So long sir, we barely knew you. Hope the Colts take you.
On defense, more of the same really. With the occasion stop, Tennessee allowed Kentucky to move the ball extremely well, 2-9 Kentucky. If Tennessee could have played a lick of defense all season Derek Dooley would still be the head football coach.
Michael Palardy paid tribute to Dooley by not adjusting a thing in his game. He kicked one out of bounds on a kickoff, even when a Kentucky player tried to keep it in bound for him. Then he kicked an extra point up J.R. Carr’s rear. More of the same really.
All in all, this season was a disaster. To think about the amount of talent this team had and them being 1-7 in the SEC is enough to bring up every bit of turkey out of the collective stomach of the Orange & White fanbase.
Special Teams: D
Danny Parker's thoughts
Smiling orange and white faces graced Shields-Watkins Field for the first time in a long time with Tennessee sending out a relatively small group of seniors victoriously.
While there were no "win this one for Derek Dooley" speeches, it was clear that his former team played relaxed and hard at the same time.
The Volunteers came up less than 100 yards short of setting a school record for total offense and offensive line coach Sam Pittman won't be pleased that Tyler Bray was sacked the one time, but it was a quality effort that saw them average 6.9 yards per play. Nine players caught passes.
The Tennessee defense deserves a tip of the cap for keeping the Wildcats out of the end zone for the final 41 minutes. The Vols racked up four sacks and all-conference linebacker A.J. Johnson paced the unit with 14 tackles, including two TFLs.
Although Michael Palardy did have an extra point blocked, the left-footer netted 43 yards per punt and coverage units were solid.
Special Teams: B-