By Jordan Mayton, VFL Insider
Vols Game Preview
Tennessee Volunteers (3-4, 0-4 SEC) vs Kentucky Wildcats (5-2, 2-2 SEC)
Saturday, October 28, 7:30 PM (ET) on SEC Network
Kroger Field – Lexington, Kentucky
What to watch for:
The Third Saturday in October was disastrous for the Vols. It was one of the worse losses by Tennessee in recent memory.
Yes, they scored a touchdown for the first time in almost a month. Yes, the defense showed improvement. But the Vols offense is absolutely atrocious. Tennessee only mustered 108 yards against a stingy Crimson Tide defense.
The only solace you could take away from Saturday was the Vols’ defense. They did give up 45 points, but given how long and how often they were on the field, it’s a borderline miracle that they didn’t give up more.
Rashaan Gaulden… Can he play QB too? pic.twitter.com/sB2093eFP8
— Austin Stanley (@AustinStanley81) October 21, 2017
Players like “Bird Flipper” Rashaan Gaulden and freshman Shawn Shamburger showed out despite the loss. Couple that with Daniel Bituli’s pick-six to give the Vols their only score of the game and Tennessee really showed they still have playmakers on defense.
I’ve said it for weeks. I feel like a broken record at this point, but plain and simple the Vols offense has to step up.
It’s going to be a lot more difficult now without the SEC’s fifth leading rusher John Kelly, who was suspended Wednesday after being arrested earlier in the week. But again, it’s the next man up.
Ty Chandler could prove to be the spark that the Tennessee offense is missing. The Nashville-native has only racked up 118 yards on 27 carries this season, but has shown just how explosive he can be with the ball in his hands. Look for the freshman to have a huge day for the Vols on Saturday.
As for the quarterback situation, you have to hope Jarrett Guarantano and his receivers come out loose after their weak performance against the Tide. Marquez Callaway and Brandon Johnson have to find ways to get separation. The pass game has to open up.
On defense, the Vols just need to keep doing what they’re doing. Again, stats-wise Tennessee’s performance Saturday looked bad, but that’s the result of offense. If they keep to what they’ve been doing, then Saturday night’s game could be great for the Vols.
It’s time for the Vols to lock in.