Tennessee-Auburn: CFF's Review of the Vols' 14-12 Loss
This was a loss, and I'm supposed to feel bad about it.
But I don't. Well, not as much as I did last week, but Tennessee played a lot better than I really thought they would, and I'm not really angry with them this week.
Well, I lied. I'm very angry about the offense.
Dave Clawson has got to get this group together and tell them to stop playing like crap and stop making so many mistakes.
Jonathan Crompton confirmed that he is one of the most incompetent and worst starting QBs in the nation with his second-quarter botched handoff to Arian Foster, fumbled at UT's own 5, which Auburn recovered in the end zone for a TD to make the score 14-6.
Crompton clearly is not the starting quarterback. He made several throws that were just awful, including three at least 10 yards out of bounds when he had a receiver open, and sometimes two.
And to top it off, his pathetic attempt at a handoff to Foster ended up being the deciding play of the game.
You want to know how badly he played?
His final stat line: 8-of-23, 67 yards, no TDs, and two sacks on plays where he could've easily gotten away.
In other words, a normal outing for Ryan Leaf.
The rushing game actually played fairly well, accumulating 124 yards on 33 carries. The rushing game kept UT in the game and kept them threatening late.
Gerald Jones finally got a little more action at the G-Gun, even throwing his first pass of the year to Lucas Taylor, a perfect screen pass that Taylor dropped because he took his eyes off the ball.
The defense played very well, but I do have to admit it was against Auburn's sputtering offense. Still, UT's defense held Auburn to just 226 yards on 67 plays and forced seven three-and-outs.
The defensive line finally looked good, making great plays on the line and even sacking Todd and Burns twice. They were in both QBs' faces for most of the day.
The secondary didn't play very well, but Dennis Rogan made a great pick with five minutes left in the third quarter that led to UT's only touchdown of the day.
Kudos to John Chavis for getting the defensive unit ready for this game, because they played pretty darn well.
What an improvement in just one week.
Chad Cunningham, who isn't even the real first-string punter, pinned Auburn inside their own 5 three times and inside their own 20 five times on 10 punts.
The punt coverage was a lot better as well, and Auburn couldn't even return a punt because either Cunningham had pinned them or multiple UT defenders were in their face, ready to smack the returner if he didn't call for a fair catch.
Once again, a big improvement over Florida last week.
Fulmer did not look incompetent this week at all, and I'll give him that. But, he has to make the decision to at least let someone split time with Crompton, because if Crompton continues as the starter, we may not even reach a bowl.
For the first time in my life, I'm actually worrying about the game against Vanderbilt.
Clawson did not make too many good play calls, but most of them weren't his fault. Crompton played so badly that late in the game, CBS showed a shot of him leaning back in his chair, sighing, seemingly wondering, "How much worse can he play?"
Chavis, you did a great, great job with the defense.
A much better effort against Auburn than against Florida, and much better than I expected us to play. Still, one play, a massive mistake, cost UT the game, just like last week when three major mistakes cost UT a chance at challenging Florida.
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