MEN AMONGST BOYS: Tennessee’s offensive line showing dominance
By: Jake Hubbard
Junior Staff Writer
The All Vol Call in Show
The smoke over Neyland has cleared, the goal posts have been replaced, and the Tennesse Volunteers are third-ranked team in the country. A huge performance by Jalin Hyatt (207 receiving yards and 5 TDs) carried the Vols to a miraculous 52-49 win against a good Alabama team. Tennessee quarterback Hendon Hooker has continued to build his Heisman resume, adding a five touchdown outing last Saturday.
With all that being said, my dad taught me three things growing up: never shake a man’s hand sitting down, always open the door for your lady, and football games are won in the trenches.
One group of young men that have been overlooked by many this year, is Tennessee’s offensive line. These guys have not only played a huge part in Hooker’s individual success, but they have played a key part in Tennessee being in the position it is in today.
Darnell Wright, Javontez Spraggins, Cooper Mays..These are not names you are going to be seeing on the highlight reels on Saturday nights. However, these men have played a massive role in the success Tennessee’s gung-ho offense has had this season.
Hooker has thrown a single interception in 170 attempts on the year. Sure, two of Tennessee’s games were against Akron and Ball State, but the others were against Pittsburgh, Florida, LSU, and Alabama (all ranked at the time the Vols played them). Pitt, Florida, LSU and Alabama have had 5, 6, 4, and 3 interceptions on the year respectively.
Hooker has thrown one interception. Not one a game, one through his first six games of the season. This single interception finds itself paired with Hooker’s 15 passing touchdowns and a remarkable 187.7 rating.
Tennessee’s O-line has shown to be essential in its success, and has given Hooker the protection he needs to make big time plays and put points on the board.
The defensive players that the big guys have locked down are no scrubs. Tennessee’s line held Florida linebacker Brenton Cox to a single tackle and one assist. BJ Ojulari of LSU totalled 6 tackles (2 solo and 4 assists) against the Vols. Former All-American linebacker Will Anderson of Alabama was held to one measly solo tackle and two assists. The three aforementioned players combined for zero sacks on Hooker. On the year, Tennessee’s offensive line has allowed 9 sacks, 4 quarterback hurries, and 19 tackles for loss through six contests.
Tennessee’s historic offense boasts 47.7 points per game, 551 total yards per game, 203 rushing yards per game, and 347 passing yards per game. These stats are crazy-impressive, and you have to give credit where credit is due. Hooker is a Hesiman favorite, Hyatt is a superb playmaker, and Tennessee’s offensive linemen are men amongst boys.