Loss to Alabama shows how much work still needs to be done at Tennessee

Jeremy Pruitt and Nick Saban

This… was expected.

Alabama steamrolls everyone. They have yet to play a game within a 22-point margin. So the 37-point cushion isn’t a surprise.

Tennessee simply isn’t at a level close to the Crimson Tide at the present time. This is what the Vols strive to become someday.

The Crimson Tide beat the Volunteers 58-21. Here are my five takeaways.

1) Slow starts

So far this season Tennessee has gotten off to slow start after slow start. They were able to overcome those issues against ETSU, UTEP and even Auburn. Alabama isn’t ETSU, UTEP or Auburn.

Two Tua Tagovailoa touchdown passes and two short Crimson Tide touchdown runs equaled a 28-0 Alabama lead, and the game wasn’t twelve minutes old.

Even if the Vols began the game in a stronger fashion, they weren’t winning on Saturday. But in the weeks to come they have to figure out a way to get out of the starters blocks quicker to have a chance to play in a bowl game. They have yet to score an offensive touchdown in the first quarter in seven games.

2) Guarantano’s health

In the second quarter, Tennessee quarterback Jarrett Guarantano got blasted by Alabama linebacker Mack Wilson. He walked off the field under his own power, but wouldn’t return to the game. There were reports that the issue was bruised ribs, and Tennessee head coach Jeremy Pruitt said that he will be fine.

Guarantano continues to take a battering. Backup quarterback Keller Chryst looked good in relief, throwing a couple of touchdown passes.

3) Give Tua the Heisman

Tennessee’s defense had no answer for Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. He threw for 306 yards and four touchdowns before exiting in the third quarter. If he goes on and wins the Heisman Trophy, he could do so without playing a full game.

That’s right. Alabama is 8-0, and Tagovailoa has yet to play in the fourth quarter of any game.

4) The truth hurts

After the game, Pruitt said, “There’s guys we have on this team that this game was way too big for.”

He was right.

Pruitt, a former Alabama assistant coach, recruited a lot of the players responsible for Saturday’s beatdown at Neyland Stadium. He knows that the current Vols roster can’t compete with the Crimson Tide right now.

The Class of 2019 becomes more important by the day.

5) Butch Jones’s cigar

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