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Midseason report: Tennessee

TENNESSEE

Record: 3-3, (0-3 SEC)

What started as a team with more fire and confidence compared to a year ago is looking more and more like it just doesn’t have the horses to keep up in this league right now. The Vols have yet to win the SEC and are watching as their defense slowly implodes each week against conference foes. Everyone in Knoxville was giddy about getting former Alabama linebackers coach Sal Sunseri and his 3-4 scheme, but it’s clear his players aren’t totally comfortable in it. In three SEC games, the Vols have surrendered 129 points, giving up an average of 521.7 yards each outing. You just can’t win in this league with a shoddy defense, and that’s what Tennessee has right now.

This team is going to put up points. When you have Tyler Bray and his talented cast of wide receivers, it’s inevitable, but the Vols have to be able to stop someone. It’s hard to do that when you’re 11th or worse in total, scoring, passing and rushing defense.

The rest of October is a bear, and things are getting testier in Knoxville, but there are wins to be had in November, and the Vols will need them, as Derek Dooley’s seat is roasting in Knoxville.

Offensive MVP: WR Cordarrelle Patterson -- He’s a big-play waiting to happen, whether its on offense or special teams. He’s a quality deep threat and he can also come out of the backfield and score from anywhere. He’s second in the SEC with 835 all-purpose yards (139.2) and has six total touchdowns.

Defensive MVP: LB A.J. Johnson -- There hasn’t been a lot for Tennessee to be happy about on defense, but Johnson has successfully chugged along on defense. He has great football instincts and knows how to find the ball and makes plays. He leads Tennessee with 63 tackles and is second with 3.5 for loss.