Tennessee football: Breakdown of loss to Alabama

Tennessee football extended its losing streak to three games after losing to No. 2 Alabama. Now, that might not come as a complete shock. The Volunteers haven’t beat Nick Saban and his Crimson Tide since he started coaching for Alabama, which means the Vols loss on Saturday marked the 14th straight loss to Alabama. Tennesse would’ve had to play a perfect game, and Alabama would have had to derail entirely for the Vols to come out victorious.

But unfortunately for Tennessee, it did not have a good game, let alone a perfect one, and the Crimson Tide came ready to play and never took its foot off the gas.

Let me give you a breakdown of what I mean by that.


Tennessee quarterback Jarrett Guarantano did not have his worst game of the season on Saturday. Believe it or not, he had glimpses of greatness when he threw the ball deep. He threw two long pass touchdowns to receivers Jalin Hyatt and Josh Palmer.

Unfortunately for the Vols’ offense, there is not enough trust in Guarantano to throw longer passes more frequently. The senior QB lacks pass consistency, which poses a problem for coaches when deciding whether to pass or run the ball. The running game usually is Tennessee’s go-to, but the option was short lived against the Alabama defense.

The Crimson Tide’s defensive line dominated the Volunteers. Tennessee’s running backs Eric Gray and Ty Chandler rushed for a collective 94 yards. Gray fumbled in the third quarter when Alabama’s defensive back Malachi Moore stripped him, and Alabama recovered the ball for a touchdown.

The offensive line played a very average game. It protected its quarterback, resulting in no sacks and allowed the running backs to get decent yardage on some runs. But, there is still a lack of communication on the line that causes mistakes. On top of the miscommunication, there were multiple penalties called against Tennessee’s O-line.


Tennessee allowed Alabama’s offense almost 600 yards on Saturday. It was the defense that lost the game for the Volunteers.

Tennessee football fired its defensive line coach Jimmy Brumbaugh after the loss against Kentucky. During the game on Saturday, there was a palpable sense of uncertainty from the D-line. Alabama’s offense was too dominant. It pushed the defensive line with ease through the entirety of the football game.

Mac Jones, Alabama’s quarterback, didn’t have any issues making passes. He was allowed ample time to complete passes to his receivers or run the ball himself behind his offensive line.

Inside linebacker Henry To’o To’o, had one of his worst games against Crimson Tide. He usually is reliable on defense, creating a cluster and making tackles, but on Saturday, he missed tackles and allowed Alabama players to blow by him.

The middle of the field was wide open for Alabama, which explains the crazy amount of yardage the team was allowed to gain. I mentioned earlier the amount of time Jones was allowed to throw the ball. With that said, the Vols secondary had to pick up the slack. Unfortunately, the secondary was not able to do much against Alabama.

Bryce Thompson missed a chance to intercept a pass, but Thompson wasn’t the only Vol who had missed opportunities to intercept the football. Trevon Flowers, a safety, was late on a play that could have been critical for Tennessee.

It seems head coach Jeremy Pruitt has a lot on his hands this week from finding a new defensive line coach to tightening up his defensive play. Luckily for him and his team, Tennessee football has a week. We will see if the Volunteers can turn its season around in its next game against Arkansas.