Tennessee Football: Reaction to the Volunteers' Spring Game

Reaction to the Tennessee Spring Game

4/14/14 in NCAAF   |   BlakeLovell   |   86 respect

Nov 30, 2013; Lexington, KY, USA; Tennessee Volunteers quarterback Joshua Dobbs (11) passes the ball against the Kentucky Wildcats in the second half at Commonwealth Stadium. Tennessee defeated Kentucky 27-14. Mandatory Credit: Mark Zerof-USA TODAY SportsA new era began on Saturday in Knoxville, as the Tennessee Volunteers held their annual Orange and White Game in front of over 68,000 people at Neyland Stadium.

The game was certainly a showcase of not only experienced talent on the roster, but the newcomers to the fold as well. And as with all spring games, there were glaring positives and glaring negatives.

We'll get the bad out of the way first.

The defense was rather underwhelming. And that's putting it lightly. Butch Jones wasn't happy at all with the performance of his defensive unit, and went as far as to call it "unacceptable."

The secondary struggled mightily against the pass, and although the rush defense was better than the pass defense, it wasn't by any means great. Now, you have to remember the type of talent that was lining up opposite of them, but that's not an excuse to struggle the way that they did.

Normally it's the offense that is more behind when the spring game rolls around, but clearly the defense is in need of the most work after watching the scrimmage on Saturday.

Speaking of the offense, it greatly exceeded expectations.

The quarterback situation garnered most of the attention throughout the spring, but very few people mentioned Josh Dobbs as the guy who would ultimately win the job.

After his performance this weekend, he's undoubtedly in the mix. Dobbs showed that he's come a long way in several months after a disappointing stint as the Vols' starter last season, and threw the ball much better than we've seen him throw it before.

Justin Worley also threw the ball well, and if he can keep up the consistency, he's probably going to be the starter when the fall rolls around.

But perhaps the biggest offensive stars for Tennessee were freshmen. Two in-state freshmen, to be exact.

Early enrollees Jalen Hurd and Josh Malone were fantastic within the offense, and showed their breakout star potential in the process. Malone caught six balls on the day, with three of those going for touchdowns. His 79-yard touchdown reception from Dobbs in the second half was particularly impressive.

As for Hurd, he was effective on the ground in the rushing game, and you could just sort of tell that this kid has the 'it' factor that will make him a star in the future.

So although the defense left a lot to be desired, the offense brought enough positives to give Tennessee fans plenty of excitement heading into the 2014 season.

If the defense makes major strides this summer, the Vols could be in the mix for an SEC East title for the first time in quite a while.

What did you think of the Orange and White Game on Saturday? Let us know by commenting below! For more college football talk, follow FanIQ College Football or myself on Twitter!
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