9.06.2011

UT vs. Montana Impressions

It is always a treat to watch the Vols play the first game of the season. Sure it is usually against a mediocre team  and this year was no different. As I watched UT defeat Montana 42-16 Saturday night at Neyland Stadium, I was overall very pleased with what I witnessed. Sure, there were a couple areas of concern, but for the most part I was happy with the team's play.

The biggest area of concern for me was the lack of a pass rush. I expected the Vols defensive front to wreck havoc all night in the Montana backfield. but that was not the case at all. Against better teams, the Vols must get a pass rush or better quarterbacks will pick the Vols secondary apart. The Vols must find a way to improve this fast.

The next area that stood out for me was the play of the running backs, in particular Tauren Poole. I expected Poole to have a field day against the Montana defense, but this was not the case. Even though this stood out to me, it isn't as big of a concern for me going forward because I know the Vols will improve in this area. In Poole's defense, Montana stacked the box expecting the run all night and as a result Tyler Bray and the Vols passing attack could do whatever it wanted through the air.  Poole is a good running back, so I am going to chalk this up as just having an off game. I was impressed with the younger Marlin Lane in the action that he saw. The duo of him and Poole will be nice to watch as the season progresses.

As I mentioned earlier, the passing game was excellent. Bray looked to be in control the entire game and the sophomore receiver tandem of Justin Hunter and Da'rick Rogers are going to be fun to watch. The sky is the limit for these guys and I am looking forward to seeing how well they do throughout the year.

It was a good way for the Vols to start the season off, but this week's game against Cincinnati will pose a greater test. The Bearcats are coming off a 72-10 win over Austin Peay. We all know that Cincinnati has a powerful offensive attack, but it will be interesting to see how the Vols do against their defense.

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