Plagued by injuries, the Tennessee Vols got hammered by No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide. Tennessee would’ve had a big task in front of them playing Alabama totally healthy as it is. However, playing them with an extensive amount of injuries made it even worse. Tennessee has had a “next man up” mentality this season with injuries mounting up left and right. However, they could be running out of men.
Tennessee was without Jalen Reeves-Maybin, Darren Kirkland Jr, Cortez McDowell, Quart’e Sapp, Cam Sutton and Malik Foreman defensively. Dylan Weisman was out on the offensive line and Jashon Robertson could only play on special teams. He’s usually on the offensive line as well. During the game, Brett Kendrick and Chance Hall exited with injuries on the offensive line.
Danny O’Brien was dismissed from the team due to violation of team rules. Then let’s not forget wide receiver Preston Williams’ testament to transfer was approved. Tennessee had to use red-shirt freshman, Venzell Boulware for his first start on the offensive line. He was filling in for Jashon Robertson. This was the fifth different offensive line combination for Tennessee this year. Not to mention, Coleman Thomas had to be put back in the game as snapper. He already was out with an ankle injury.
Alabama out-rushed Tennessee 438-32. The evident injuries hurt Tennessee yesterday, even though a team would never want to use that as an excuse. The Vols had just come away from playing Florida, Georgia and Texas A&M back-to-back-to-back. They continued to lose players in those games, which Tennessee did go 2-1 in. Only loss was a double overtime loss at the Aggies last week. Coming home banged up, then playing the No. 1 team in the land. It was clear Tennessee ran out of steam.
The Tide Rolls In
Alabama is ranked at the top of the polls for a reason, and that reason was clear yesterday. However, if Tennessee had been down by only a few players, the game would not have been a 49-10 blowout. Nobody knows if Tennessee would have won if completely healthy, but all is not lost for the Vols. They can still win out and hope Florida loses. If that happens, they’re in the SEC title game.
That’s a lot of ifs and hopes though. The bye week coming up could not have come at a better time. This team needs to refocus, get healthy, and come back strong against South Carolina. Tennessee’s remaining schedule is favorable, as they have South Carolina in two weeks, followed by Tennessee Tech, Kentucky, Missouri and Vanderbilt.
The tough four game stretch is over. This team just needs to heal and refocus. The goal this year was to get to Atlanta and that is still very much in reach. A lot is left to play for.