Contrary to the halftime pipe dream of Vols fans everywhere, Tennessee was not going to compete against Alabama in the second half Saturday night.
The 6-6 tie at halftime, although a mildly shocking development, was just a tease.
Tennessee took a water gun to a street fight in Tuscaloosa. The Vols depth and injury issues continue to plague what was thought to be a season of improvement.
Derek Dooley is taking a water gun into a street fight on a weekly basis against SEC teams—an especially true fact against the BCS No. 1 and 2 teams in the nation.
Fans cannot expect this young Tennessee team to compete in these games. It certainly did compete for 30 minutes, but when your defense has to bring down a guy who runs a 4.4-40 and benches 400-pounds every play, it can cause some fatigue.
Throw in the fact that Tennessee has no one Two Deep on defense that can match the intensity or talent of the Vols first unit and you have a perfect recipe for a second half collapse. Not to mention playing a senior quarterback that holds on to the ball too long, throws into triple coverage, and takes too many sacks.
Sure, you take any team's starting quarterback and biggest playmaker out of the equation and they'll experience a downturn in productivity. But without Tyler Bray and Justin Hunter this Tennessee team is probably worse than last year's 6-6 squad.
So bad was Tennessee's quarterback play against Alabama that Dooley decided to burn freshman Justin Worley's redshirt late in the fourth quarter of a 37-6 game. It's highly likely that we've seen the last of Matt Simms as a Tennessee Vols quarterback.
And, on the bright side, at least the Vols got out of Tuscaloosa alive and relatively injury free.
Remember, rebuilding is a process and these Vols are still quite a ways from competing against the nation's biggest and best.