QB Tyler Bray* 8
6’6, 213 lbs.
-Looks right, then comes back left to deliver as strike to Patterson
-Steps up in the pocket to evade pressure.
-Throws off his back foot and ball is deflected at line
-Beautiful bomb over the top of the CB for a TD to Patterson, waited for the route to develop and delivered a pretty pass
-Ball comes out of his poorly and bounces well short of the WR, looked like he didn’t even have a good grip on it
-Good anticipation on the hitch route to Patterson
-Telegraphing some throws and staring down his targets, DB’s are starting to attack the throws
-Big time strike from Bray down the field to a streaking WR who blew by Amerson who looked like he thought he had over the top help
-Good fake on the reverse to sell that the Vols were trying to run up the middle, defense got swallowed up
-Really drilled the slant throw to Patterson
-Good fake to draw coverage off Hunter but then didn’t deliver an accurate ball
-Moves away from pocket and calls WR back for big strike down the field for a first down, Bray now looking cool and confident
-Another weird looking throw from Bray who had a streaking Hunter open but couldn’t get the ball anywhere near him.
-Showing some pistol formation
-Keeps digging on a goal line QB dive, and tries to go over the top and gets the ball knocked loose by Bishop.
-Good job standing in the pocket and taking a hit to deliver the ball to Hunter
-Puts ball where only the WR can go get it and it’s a picture perfect pitch and catch for another first down
-Bray is throwing darts and I assure you the NFL talent evaluators sitting behind me are taking notice and plenty of it
-Goes long to Hunter but can’t get it deep enough, needs to plant and drive the ball down the field, too many falling off throws
Summary: Tyler Bray had the kind of night where he just kept plugging along and taking what the defense gave him and before you know it he was over 300 yards and had thrown multiple TD’s. Bray was methodical in his effort tonight, he made throw after throw after throw based almost solely on what the NC State defense was willing to give him. He took some shots and definitely made more than a few NFL throws but it was his demeanor and refusal to even come close to getting rattled that impressed me. He still had a few too many erratic throws overall but in terms of the QB battle on this night, the victor was clear and that was Bray.
WR Justin Hunter* 11
6’4, 200 lbs.
-Does not look like he’s got the same speed, is he healthy?
-Didn’t even try and elevate for a high pass from Bray
-Playing mostly in the slot now
-Finally shows some burst and got wide open but Bray missed him
-Hunter gets in front of the CB on a slant route and makes a nice catch, too much body though
-Showing a little shimmy, shimmy, shake and somebody has found the confidence in their repaired knee
-His fakes cause a personal foul facemask penalty against him
-Finds the ball on a deep in, bobble it slightly needs to get his hands more extended
-Just beat Bishop on that deep in, looking much better now
Summary: It was clear to me that something was not right with Justin Hunter during the first few Tennessee possessions. He wasn’t running smoothly, he was cutting slowly, and really seemed to be afraid of going all out with his knee. Whatever the reason those fears and concerns went out the window in the 2nd quarter as Hunter returned to form and showed us all want we wanted to see. He had the speed, the athleticism, and the flair for making the big catch when needed. His routes are one of his most underrated qualities too, they were crisp once he regained confidence in his knee and they needed those routes that led to big catches.
WR Cordarrelle Patterson* 84
6’3, 205 lbs.
-Body catches first pass
-Ran a double move route to get behind the CB in single coverage and smoked him for a TD
-Tracked ball very well when in the air
-Nice field awareness to know where the sticks are run his route to that point
-Impressive play in the open field as Patterson takes the reverse, cuts on a dime and then outruns Amerson for a big TD
-Found a second gear in the open field to cross the field and still outrun the entire Wolfpack defense
-Great job extending arms and catching the ball with his hands on quick slant route
-Natural hands and with less than a half of play Bray appears to trust him a lot
-Has some wiggle to his hips
Summary: If there was any questions left about why Patterson was so highly ranked coming out of JUCO consider them answered now. His combination of size and speed was one of the true enjoyments of the night. He carried this Tennessee passing game in the first half and really was the only one who get open for Tyler Bray early on. He showed how versatile a weapon he can be when he took that reverse for a TD as well. The Vols have three future NFL players leading their offense, a word to the rest of the SEC, you better watch out.
TE Mychal Rivera 81
6’3, 254 lbs.
-Has not gotten off the ball exceptionally well
-Struggled to get open v. LB or SAF
-Has been a steady blocker in run help
Summary: It was a game of going unnoticed and really not being utilized at all. Rivera was often on the sidelines when Tennessee went into multiple receiver sets and Bray could not count on him to break free from coverage. A very disappointing night for Rivera.
OT Ja’Wuan James* 70
6’6, 320 lbs.
-Great block on the move to knock down NC State defender and spring play to the outside.
-Gets to the second level well and make a block on Sterling
-Getting rocked back a little bit off initial rush but giving up little push into actual pocket
-Gets out of his stance quickly but his footwork looks a little slow likes he’s stuck in mud
-Good combo block to open up the right side, but he needs to recognize when he needs to come off that block and get to his next block on the 2nd level
-Quickly got out of his stance and just devoured Sterling at the 2nd level, Sterling never had a chance
Summary: James was one of the guys I really wanted to get a good look at tonight and he had a so so showing. He’s your classic RT, he’s a big guy with long arms who is pretty strong. He is not a guy who you ever can put at LT or who slides his feet exceptionally well. It will be interesting to re-evaluate James against some of the better pass rushers in the conference later in the year.
OG Dallas Thomas 71
6’5, 305 lbs.
-Great kick out block by Thomas to seal the hole on a rushing play
-Pulled outside and sealed the running lane
-Has kicked outside to LT
-Good combo block with OG and then came off of it to pick defender trying to come outside
-Leading on run to the outside, good cut block on Amerson
-Showing good strength at the point of attack, controls his man and moves him at will
-Has kicked back inside to OG, would of liked to see him remain at OT with how he was playing
-Getting hands into the DT and locking his arms out with perfect technique
-I was hard on Thomas last year at points and didn’t like him as OT prospect but his play tonight is like night and day, technique, strength, and athleticism on full display
Summary: I usually don’t admit to being right or wrong about any player after the first game but I can already admit that I was wrong on Thomas. I only saw Thomas once last year v. Florida and it was not a good game for him. This year he looks entirely different, he looks like he’s spent a lot of time working on his fundamentals and most importantly he looks dominant. He played both OG and OT tonight and looked great at both. Really loved the way he got his arms out in front and kept defenders away from his body, so much improvement there. To me he was the player of the game.
DE Darrington Sentimore* 94
6’2, 288 lbs.
-Beat block by Wallace to get into a backfield and force the running back to alter his rush
-Moving inside to DT when UT goes with a four man line
-Looks tired, attempted an initial rush but then just gave up on the play
-Gives good chase on Glennon after he escapes the pocket
Summary: Sentimore played a lot of snaps and I think it showed later in the 2nd half. In the first half he was continually active and getting after the OT/OG on every play, in the 2nd half he tired some. He was better inside at DT than he was at DE in my opinion, seemed to be more comfortable trying to shoot the gap than work on the outside. With Tennessee’s 3-4 base alignment not sure how well he fits in the long term future.
DT Daniel McCullers* 98
6’6, 380 lbs.
-Looks absolutely massive on the line in a 34 alignment, dwarfs the DE’s easily
-When he stays low he’s immovable out there
-Gets good push despite taking on blocks from three different offensive lineman at different times
-Playing limited snaps not sure if that’s by design or because of a conditioning concern
Summary: There was a moment in the 2nd half of this game when I saw McCullers blocked by three different NC State line man on the same play. It was at that moment that I decided that even though this was a non-descript game for McCullers he has other teams already worried. He needs to stay lower coming off the snap, and needs to understand how to play with leverage but for a big man he can move and if you can’t anchor against him you’re going to end up in your QB’s lap.
OLB Jacques Smith* 55
6’2, 244 lbs.
-Got off block of Crisp to make possibly TD saving tackle
-Active defender is all over the field and never gives up on the play
-Constant presence around the ball, really giving the NC State offensive line trouble
-Good stunt on the blitz, came right up the gut on Glennon’s face and forced a bad pass
-Comes down as a DE in four man front
Summary: Was probably one of Tennessee’s best pass rusher on the night, I thought he did more damage as a hand down line than a standing OLB but his burst was evident regardless of position. He doesn’t have a ton of functional strength, and he doesn’t have a lot of natural bend but his motor never stopped and he gave the OT’s fits with how he just kept coming play after play. Smith left a very nice initial impression on me after this one.
CB Prentiss Waggner 23
6’2, 185 lbs.
-May have lost the WR after Glennon broke the pocket, looked like a missed assignment/communication between Waggner and Strong Safety about who has deep coverage.
-Played possum on his INT, saw Glennon staring down WR in flat and baited the throw
-Stepped in front of WR for easy INT and big return that was nullified by holding penalty
-Strong wrap up tackle right after WR catches the ball
-Never located the ball on the deep pass and allowed WR to make catch
Summary: Waggner was better than my notes above indicate, and if you want to know why that is its because he was locking down the opposing WR’s all night long. He was constantly in their hip pocket and showed nice versatility in both zone and man coverage. Waggner’s bait and pick v. Glennon was a thing of beauty and was probably one of the nicest plays of the night overall. He tackles a lot harder than I thought and wraps up really well for a CB. I still like him better as a SAF at the next level though.