As I've said before, Tennessee's defense isn't bad, they're just young and inexperienced. This leads to giving up some big plays.
Against Buffalo, the only touchdown Buffalo scored was when Jacques Smith got fooled by a fake hand-off and the Bulls' quarterback ran 68 yards for a touchdown. That single play was more than half their rushing yards for the game.
An experienced outside linebacker would've seen where the ball was going and would have been there to clean up Smith's mess.
While the linebackers have been steadily improving game to game, they still aren't playing well enough.
Luckily, Tennessee's best linebacker may be back in time to play against Georgia.
Not convinced that Herman Lathers is that good? There's a reason his face is the one plastered up on all the billboards.
If he does return, then it will be an instant upgrade for Tennessee's front seven and ought to cut down on those big plays that Tennessee keeps giving up. He will immediately step up and lead the back half of the front seven, if not the whole defense.
Most of the points scored against Tennessee have been on big plays; Montana and Buffalo only put up points against Tennessee (before they started playing prevent defense) on freak plays that went 40-plus yards. Cincinnati's first score was a 65-yard run (one of the other two was in prevent mode with backups in).
With Lathers in, those big plays will be cut down, and that will lead to much better overall defense.