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Season report card: Tennessee

It's time to take a look how how the Tennessee Vols graded out in 2012:

OFFENSE: The Vols certainly knew how to move the ball in 2012. Quarterback Tyler Bray finally made it through an entire season and finished the year third in the SEC with 3,612 passing yards and was second with 34 touchdowns. While he did have his issues forcing the ball into bad situations, he threw for more than 300 yards in six games and tossed multiple touchdown passes in 10 games. He set the school record for passing yards in a game when he threw for 530 (second most in SEC history) and five touchdowns in a 55-48 win over Troy. In that same game, the Vols racked up a school-record 718 yards of total offense. Receiver Justin Hunter returned from his ACL injury in a big way, catching a team-high 73 passes for 1,083 yards and nine touchdowns. Junior college transfer Cordarrelle Patterson led the SEC in all-purpose yards (1,858). He was one of the best playmakers in the league last fall, catching 46 passes for 778 yards and five touchdowns. He also carried the ball 25 times for 308 yards and three more scores. With help from much-improved play from the offensive line, the Vols' run game improved dramatically, averaging 160.3 yards per game. Tennessee finished the year second in the SEC in total offense (475.9 yards per game), but the Vols did have issues with turnovers and closing out games. Tennessee turned it over 22 times and there were too many times when players, especially Bray, couldn't deliver down the stretch in key games. Bray turned it over late with chances to win or tie against South Carolina and Georgia, and the Vols failed to convert a 4th-and-3 against Missouri, leading to a loss in quadruple overtime. Grade: B+

DEFENSE: Tennessee easily had the SEC's worst defense in 2012, finishing last in the conference in scoring defense (35.7) and total defense (471.3). The Vols ranked 13th in the SEC in rushing (188.8) and passing (282.5). Tennessee allowed 400-plus yards of total offense 10 times in 2012, including in each of the final eight games. The Vols lost four games in which their offense scored more than 30 points. Tennessee was the only team in the SEC to surrender 3,000 passing yards and 2,000 rushing yards on the season. Teams averaged 6.1 yards per play against the Vols and scored 51 touchdowns in 2012. The Vols gave up an SEC-high 74 plays of 20-plus yards and were last in the league with just 17 total sacks on the season. Darrington Sentimore led the team with four sacks. A.J. Johnson had the most productive year on Tennessee's defense, recording a league-high 138 tackles (63 solo). It was obvious that players never felt completely comfortable in Sal Sunseri's 3-4 defense. Grade: F

OVERALL: Even though this was Derek Dooley's most talented team during his tenure, the Vols fell flat after blowing a second-half lead in an eventual 17-point loss to Florida in Week 3. Tennessee was never really the same after that game, especially on defense. The offense was prolific for most of the season, but it just didn't have enough to help the defense, as the Vols trudged through back-to-back 5-7 seasons and won just one SEC game for the second straight year. Tennessee should have gone bowling, but blew a 21-7 lead at home to Missouri before being blown out by Vanderbilt a week later to be eliminated from postseason play. Derek Dooley was then fired before the season even ended. Grade: F

Past grades: