Before you start reading this article, let’s remember that you really can’t learn very much about Tennessee from the ETSU game. You probably won’t next week either against UTEP. The Vols don’t want to show too much to Florida, the most winnable game of a brutal stretch in the middle of their season.
But I’ve made a commitment to you, the good readers of the planet, to write this article and will do so.
The Vols beat the Buccaneers 59-3, and here are my five takeaways.
1) Weather delays… again.
It sounds like something Butch Jones would have said, “No team has ever had their first two games delayed because of the weather!”
Tennessee has had to deal with lengthy delays this season. The Vols didn’t respond well in the West Virginia game. They did after a 45-minute pause during the second quarter against ETSU.
Tennessee poured it on. The defense collected two interceptions, scoring on one and bringing the football inside the five-yard line on the other.
Yes, the level of competition helped the cause… a lot… but it was encouraging to see unexpected adversity not turn into more negativity.
2) Jeremy Banks is a player
It is a very small sample size, but in his first game, Tennessee true freshman running back Jeremy Banks had 13 carries for 62 yards and two short yardage touchdowns. Banks was a key keep in the Class of 2018 for new UT head coach Jeremy Pruitt. For whatever reason, the offensive line seems to give more of a push close to the goal-line with Banks than with Tim Jordan. This could be a sign of things to come in the red zone this season.
3) Marquez Callaway makes things happen
Tennessee’s passing game is a work in progress, to say the least. Jarrett Guarantano only threw 13 passes, completing eight for 154 yards. Five of those were to junior Marquez Callaway, the longest a spectacular 51-yard hookup that showed off Callaway’s athleticism.
There will be times this season when the Vols need to take chances simply to give themselves a chance to stay competitive against the likes of Georgia, Auburn and Alabama. It’s not a bad idea to take those chances with your most athletic player.
© 2016, gridironnow.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.