Monthly Archives: October 2015

Daniel named to Ray Guy Award watch list

From UT sports info:

AUGUSTA, Ga. — Tennessee redshirt sophomore punter Trevor Daniel has been named one of 79 candidates for the 2015 Ray Guy Award, which identifies the nation’s top collegiate punter.
Daniel is enjoying a standout 2015 season. His punting average of 47.1 yards per punt ranks fourth in the nation and second in the SEC. Daniel has also pinned opponents inside their own 20-yard line 13 times and he has 15 punts of 50 or more yards.
Among the 79 candidates is the 2014 Ray Guy Award winner Tom Hackett, Utah and the two other 2014 finalists, JK Scott, Alabama and Austin Rehkow, Idaho. Candidates were nominated for the award by their school’s sports information department.
The list will be narrowed to ten semifinalists, who be announced on November 13. Following the semifinalists announcement, a national body of Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) sports information directors, coaches, media representatives and previous Ray Guy Award winners will vote for the top three finalists, who will be identified on November 23. The voting body will then cast ballots to select the winner.
The presentation of the Ray Guy Award will be featured live on ESPN during The Home Depot College Football Awards, Thursday, Dec. 10, at 7 p.m.
2015 Ray Guy Award Candidates:
• Zach Paul, Akron
• JK Scott, Alabama
• Bentlee Critcher, Appalachian State
• Drew Riggleman, Arizona
• Matthew Haack, Arizona State
• Toby Baker, Arkansas
• Luke Ferguson, Arkansas State
• Alex Tardieu, Army
• Kevin Phillips, Auburn
• Drew Galitz, Baylor
• Alex Howell, Boston College
• Joseph Davidson, Bowling Green
• Jonny Linehan, Brigham Young
• Sam Geraci, Cincinnati
• Hayden Hunt, Colorado State
• Will Monday, Duke
• Worth Gregory, East Carolina
• Austin Barnes, Eastern Michigan
• Johnny Townsend, Florida
• Dalton Schomp, Florida Atlantic
• Cason Beatty, Florida State
• Garrett Swanson, Fresno State
• Wil Lutz, Georgia State
• Rigoberto Sanchez, Hawai‘i at Manoa
• Logan Piper, Houston
• Austin Rehkow, Idaho
• Dillon Kidd, Iowa
• Colin Downing, Iowa State
• Nick Walsh, Kansas State
• Anthony Melchiori, Kent State
• Landon Foster, Kentucky
• Steven Coutts, Louisiana (at Lafayette)
• Jamie Keehn, LSU
• Tyler Williams, Marshall
• Logan Laurent, Massachusetts
• Spencer Smith, Memphis
• Justin Vogel, Miami
• Blake O’Neill, Michigan
• Peter Mortell, Minnesota
• Logan Cooke, Mississippi State
• Corey Fatony, Mizzou
• Sam Foltz, Nebraska
• Alex Boy, Nevada
• Eric Keena, North Texas
• Tyler Newsome, Notre Dame
• Cameron Johnston, Ohio State
• Austin Seibert, Oklahoma
• Zach Sinor, Oklahoma State
• Satchel Ziffer, Old Dominion
• Will Gleeson, Ole Miss
• Nick Porebski, Oregon State
• Ryan Winslow, Pittsburgh
• James Farrimond, Rice
• Joey Roth, Rutgers
• Tanner Blain, San Diego State
• Michael Carrizosa, San Jose State
• Sean Kelly, South Carolina
• Mattias Ciabatti, South Florida
• Kris Albarado, Southern California
• Tyler Sarrazin, Southern Miss
• Alex Robinson, Stanford
• Riley Dixon, Syracuse
• Trevor DanielTENNESSEE
• Drew Kaser, Texas A&M
• Lumi Kaba, Texas State
• Taylor Symmank, Texas Tech
• Dalton Parks, Tulsa
• Caleb Houston, UCF
• Logan Yunker, UNLV
• Tom Hackett, Utah
• Alan Luna, UTEP
• Nicholas Conte, Virginia
• A.J. Hughes, Virginia Tech
• Alex Kinal, Wake Forest
• Korey Durkee, Washington
• Nick O’Toole, West Virginia
• J. Schroeder, Western Michigan
• Jake Collins, WKU
• Ethan Wood, Wyoming

Continue reading

UT football 2016 schedule released

In case you haven’t seen it yet, here’s the gist. From UT sports info.

  • Sept. 3 vs. APPALACHIAN STATE
  • Sept. 10 vs. Virginia Tech (Battle at Bristol)
  • Sept. 17 vs. OHIO
  • Sept. 24 vs. FLORIDA*
  • Oct. 1 at Georgia*
  • Oct. 8 at Texas A&M*
  • Oct. 15 vs. ALABAMA*
  • Oct. 29 at South Carolina*
  • Nov. 5 vs. TENNESSEE TECH
  • Nov. 12 vs. KENTUCKY*
  • Nov. 19 vs. MISSOURI*
  • Nov. 26 at Vanderbilt*

Five Factors: Explaining Tennessee’s 19-14 loss to Alabama

The Five Factors: Explaining Tennessee’s 19-14 loss to Alabama

Advanced college football statisticians believe there are five factors that most accurately determine what teams win games: explosiveness, efficiency, field position, finishing drives, and turnover margin. They have come up with statistical formulas to measure those factors beyond what can be found in a typical box score. This season, we will be following Tennessee’s progress game-by-game using these formulas. The Vols’ figures for Saturday’s 19-14 loss to Florida follow.

Explosiveness

Formula Explanation: Average yards per play

UT Offense: 5.0 yards per play

UT Defense: Allowed 5.3 yards per play

Season

UT Offense: 5.5 yards per play

UT Defense: Allowed 5.7 yards per play

Commentary: In Tennessee’s first two drives, which went for a missed 43-yard field goal and a touchdown, they had eight plays that went for 10 yards or more. Of the four plays in their 75-yard touchdown drive in the fourth quarter, three went for 10 or more. In between those drives, they had a total of three plays that picked up double-digit yardage. Alabama didn’t have a run go for over 20 yards or a pass for over 29, but they had 18 plays that went for 10 or more.

Efficiency

Formula Explanation: Success rate gives an offense a point every time it gains 50 percent of the necessary yards on first down, 70 percent of the necessary yards on second down and 100 percent of the necessary yards on third or fourth down. Total points divided by the total number of plays is the success rate.

UT Offense: 40.9 percent success rate

UT Defense: Allowed 43.5 percent success rate

Season

UT Offense: 45.1 percent success rate

UT Defense: Allowed 40.6 percent success rate

Commentary: Tennessee was successful on 10 of its first 21 plays and three of the four in its fourth quarter drive. It was 12-for-36 (33.3 percent) the rest of the game. Alabama was successful on 10 of 20 fourth quarter plays before the three kneel-downs that ended the game.

Average Field Position

Formula Explanation: The average spot on the field where each team started its offensive drives.

UT Offense: Own 23.1 yard line

Alabama: Own 36.3 yard line

SEASON

UT Offense: Own 34 yard line

UT Opponents: Own 26.4 yard line

Commentary: The size of Alabama’s field position-edge was skewed because of the strip-sack recovery at the end of the game that put the Tide on the Tennessee 4-yard line. Without that, Alabama’s average starting field position would have been at its own 30.3-yard line. Still, the Tide negated Tennessee’s special teams advantage by giving sophomore Evan Berry, the nation’s leading kickoff returner coming into the game, just once chance at a kickoff return with the other four kickoffs going for touchbacks. Alabama’s J.K. Scott put two punts inside the Tennessee 15-yard line and Tennessee failed to have at least one drive start beyond its own 40 for the first time all season.

Finishing Drives

Formula Explanation: Points per trip inside the opponent’s 40-yard line.

UT Offense: 2.8 points per trip

UT Defense: Allowed 3.8 points per trip

SEASON

UT Offense: 4.1 points per trip

UT Defense: Allowed 4.0 points per trip

Commentary: Alabama scored touchdowns on just two of its four red zone drives, but the field goals the Tide settled for proved to be the difference in the game. Tennessee scored touchdowns on two of its three red zone drives, but missed a field goal in the other and missed two more field goals on its other two trips inside the Alabama 40.

Turnover Margin/Projected Turnover Margin

Formula: Turnover Margin is what it usually is. Projected turnover margin tries to measure and factor out luck by presuming one recovered fumble for every two caused fumbles and an interception for every four pass breakups

Turnover Margin: Even

Projected Turnover Margin: Alabama +0.50

SEASON:

Turnover Margin: UT +3

Projected Turnover Margin: UT +2.75

Commentary: Tennessee quarterback Josh Dobbs could have had four turnovers in the game, but Alabama dropped three potential interceptions. His fumble on the strip sack by Alabama’s Ryan Anderson ended the game, however, killing Tennessee’s two-minute drill.

The very post-game postgame blog: Alabama tops Tennessee 19-14

WHAT HAPPENED: Tennessee had a fourth quarter lead against Alabama and briefly appeared to have an opportunity to end its eight-game losing streak in the series, but the Crimson Tide scored with 2:24 to go and stopped the Vols on their final drive to win 19-14 in front of 101,821 at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa.

The Vols fell to 3-4 overall, 1-3 in the SEC. No. 8 Alabama improved to 7-1, 4-1.

Alabama took a 7-0 lead on its first possession with a nine-play, 75-yard drive that ended with a bruising 20-yard touchdown run by junior tailback Derrick Henry. The Vols matched that, however, with a 10-play 75-yard drive on the ensuing possession capped by an 11-yard touchdown pass from junior Joshua Dobbs to redshirt sophomore wide receiver Josh Smith. Continue reading

The Cutting Room Floor: Alvin Kamara

After Alvin Kamara’s emotional press conference Wednesday regarding his return to Alabama and the death of Altee Tenpenny, I wrote this feature on him . There was a lot that didn’t make the piece that was left on the cutting room floor. Some of that info follows.

— Kamara said the most important development of his time in junior college was his personal maturation. He said he has a much better understanding of personal accountability.

“Just socially, I’ve matured,” Kamara said. “Being able to interact with people in a different way because of all of the things I’ve been through. Kind of understanding other people’s situations and how my situation affects people, how what you do not only affects you put the people around you. I’ve been able to really mature in that aspect.”

He is a more mature player also, though. Kamara said that in the last two years, he’s  developed an understanding of why he’s asked to do what he’s asked to do on given plays.

“When I got to Alabama, it was kind of run around, get the ball and run,” Kamara said. “Not knowing why or how or when. Now I know why I’m doing this. I know when to do this. I know how to do this. It’s just maturing as a total football player, not just a physical football player.”

— As talented as Kamara was as a high school player and as versatile as he was, he was never asked to return punts in his entire football career until he started doing it at Tennessee.

“When I got here, they told me go back and catch punts,” Kamara said. “I’m kinda like, ‘Alright, I’ll do it.’ In that (Bowling Green) game being able to return those punts kinda gave me more confidence. Like, ‘OK, I’m gonna call myself a punt returner now.”

— These were Butch Jones’s thoughts on Kamara on Wednesday.

“With Alvin, the same approach he’s had the entire season very, very consistent never too high never too low just consistency in his performance very determined and accountable. Alvin is a very reliable individual, he’s very, very driven he’s very mature and I think he relies on his past experiences not only at Alabama but also at the junior college level and I think that drives him and he’s very, very mature he’s come into our football program and embraced everything he’s been a great source for us and I can’t say enough about him in terms of a punt returner.”

— Alvin Kamara’s personal style is unique among his teammates. He wears both a stud in his nose through his left nostril and a ring through his septum. He usually wears a fedora during the Vol Walk, and senior offensive tackle Kyler Kerbyson said he wore a pink camoflauge bag to the first Vol Walk of the season instead of the standard team issue orange bag.

“I asked him why the pink bag,” Kerbyson said. “He was just like, “This is who I am. This is just me. He does that. He loves wearing a little hat during the Vol Walk, a fedora. I don’t know if he thinks he’s Sherlock Holmes or something. He has one of those Cyborg things that Dobbs has, the hoverboard. He’s just a different guy. His fashion, he wears the tight pants, no socks and dress shoes. He’s just Alvin. That’s all I can say. He’s Alvin Kamara. No one else is like Alvin.”

Kerbyson said that helps the Vols’ team dynamic.

“You definitely want as much diversity as you can get in the locker room,” Kerbyson said. “Different guys bring different stuff to the team whether it’s keeping everybody positive and happy and joking around. There’s a few guys on the team that every time you’re around them, you can’t help but laugh because they’re just funny. They’re just those kind of guys. There’s guys that are really serious that are all about football that help you lock in. Then there’s guys like Alvin who is just his own person. It makes you almost feel free to see someone just be their own person and not care what everyone else thinks of them and do his own thing. You want as many personalities as you can get on a team because that just makes your team more diverse and even better.”

— Kerbyson admitted that there is a stigma to junior college players, but said that Kamara has disproved all of those.

“The JUCO transfer doesn’t always have a good connotation with it,” Kerbyson said. “People don’t think they’re the best guys for a team. But Alvin came in here and he was the best kind of surprise. In the summer, he came in working hard during workouts, was a leader automatically and just wanted to get to know all of the guys. He is a true teammate. He loves all of his teammates and that’s what he does it for is them. You really want those kind of guys on your team. I love Alvin and everything he’s done for us as a leader.”

Kerbyson said it’s obvious the junior college experience made him better.

“It’s his work ethic and how much he really wants to succeed shows that he took it for granted before and now is really working hard for it,” Kerbyson said. “If he’s working hard for us I’m loving it. I’m loving every second of it. I think the JUCO was definitely eye opening for him and I think it made him a better person. I’m proud of him for that.”

Butch Jones transcript

If you haven’t seen it  yet, from UT media relations.

(Opening statement)
“The term that comes to my mind after watching Alabama on video is impressive. They are an impressive football team. I think the statistics and their body of work speaks for themselves. When you talk about them, first of all defensively, they are first in total defense in our conference and I believe sixth overall in the country. They are first in rush defense, giving up only 70 yards per game. They’re only giving up 16.7 points per game. The thing that is impressive is their 16 takeaways and four of those have resulted in touchdowns. They lead the conference with 12 interceptions, and they are No. 1 in our conference in pass defense efficiency. When you look at a defense, a lot of times, they may be No. 1 at one end of the categories, in terms of running the football, but then on pass, it’s another element. With them, they are a very balanced defense. They are very disruptive. Offensively, they average about 200 yards rushing per game. They have only given up eight sacks. We all know about Derrick Henry. He is a great back, but they have play makers. They have individuals on their football team from the tight end position to the wide receiver position that probably don’t get as much credit as they deserve. They’re a top-10 opponent and a great football team. It’s also a great opportunity for our football team going on the road in a great environment.” Continue reading

Some UT baseball observations

With Tennessee football off this weekend and out of town, I dropped by UT baseball’s fall practice. Some observations

— Today was scout day, so there were about 30 guys in the stands with radar guns and notebooks. The guy they must have been most interested in, junior Nick Senzel, gave them something to write to their bosses about.

The Cape Cod League MVP hit a pair of home runs in a nine-inning scrimmage, one over the right center field wall and one to left center that he pretty much golfed over the fence from below his knees. He drove in all five of his team’s runs with those hits. Senzel, the only one of the Vols’ top four hitters from 2015 who is returning for 2016, is going to have to carry Tennessee’s offense, but he looks capable of doing it.  Continue reading

Bowl projections for Tennessee through Week 6

The bye week and the season’s mid-point seems like a good time to check in on bowl projections, which of course have been going on since Week 1 but meant even less than than they do now. They still don’t mean much, but they provide entertainment for the bye week.

ESPN’s Brett McMurphy has Tennessee playing East Carolina in the Birmingham Bowl while colleague Mark Schlabach has them up against Duke in the Belk Bowl. 

CBS’s Jerry Palm has the Vols finally playing in the Liberty Bowl against Kansas State. 

USA Today has the Vols playing West Virginia in the Texas Bowl. 

SB Nation also has Tennessee in the Belk Bowl against Duke. 

The Sporting News also has Tennessee playing West Virginia in the Texas Bowl. 

From earlier: Jones says Kelly doing fine after practice injury

Tennessee freshman running back John Kelly is “doing great” after being taken to a local hospital during practice Tuesday and is expected to practice Thursday, Vols coach Butch Jones said on the SEC football coaches teleconference Wednesday.
Jones said Kelly felt a “tingling down his body” during practice, so the Vols sent him to the hospital for precautionary reasons. Kelly had an MRI and a CT scan, Jones said, and neither of those tests showed anything problematic. He was released from the hospital Tuesday evening, just a few hours after he arrived.
Kelly is the Vols’ third-string running back behind sophomore Jalen Hurd and redshirt sophomore Alvin Kamara. He has rushed for 88 yards on 21 carries this season, and also recovered a fumble on special teams.

Kelly released from hospital after undisclosed practice injury

Tennessee freshman running back John Kelly was transported to a local hospital after an injury suffered at Tuesday’s practice but released after a precautionary evaluation, UT athletics spokesman Ryan Robinson said Tuesday evening.

Robinson did not divulge what Kelly’s injury was or how it occurred and did not know whether it would cause Kelly to be kept out of practice or games.

Kelly has appeared in four games this season and rushed for 88 yards on 21 carries. He has also recovered a fumble on special teams.