Vols Justin Hunter Out For The Season
When Vols star receiver Justin Hunter went down with a knee injury against Florda Saturday, the Vols and Vols fans knew it wasn't good. It was known that Hunter would not be returning to the game, and many knew that he wouldn't be returning to the field for a while. After seeing the replay, the first thing that popped into my head was a torn ACL. After undergoing an MRI yesterday to determine the extent of the damage, my assessment was accurate. Hunter also damaged his MCL and he is out for the year.
To say losing Hunter for the season is a huge blow for the offense is an understatement. The Vols offense thrives on the passing game and Hunter is the main reason why. The combination of Hunter and Da'Rick Rogers is one of the most lethal in college football. Taking away one of elite receivers in the game is more than detrimental.
Once Hunter exited the game Saturday, the Vols offense struggled. A loss like this completely forces the Vols to change their gameplan. The added focus on Rogers will force other Vols receivers to step up and make plays. I'm not saying that it won't happen, but it will be hard. Sophomore quarterback Tyler Bray is good. Bray is tough, but his security blanket is gone now. Bray has determination as made evident by the way he finished the game. It will be up to him to rally this offense into a productive one for the remainder of the year.
Other Florida game notes:
Vols center James Stone was absolutely terrible. Bray was forced to field grounders all game as a result of the horrific display of snapping the ball by Stone. This must improve if the offense is going to get any rhythm going.
The Vols running game was okay at times and terrible at others. With the loss of Hunter, the Vols need to get the running game rolling.
The Gators are a good team with an explosive offense. They are always capable of making big plays, but it is up to the defense to limit them. The Vols got burned on an 83-yard touchdown pass to Chris Rainey and never recovered. Rainey also blocked a punt that led to a Florida score.