Derek Dooley is momentarily off the hot seat as his Volunteers got a good victory in their season opener. It wasn't a dominant performance but Tennessee showed that they do have the talent to compete in the SEC. Whether or not they can put it together every week will remain to be seen.
Cordarrelle Patterson has the Vols fanbase forgetting about that Da'Rick Rogers guy. Patterson was electric in the first half of this game. He had a 42 yards TD pass where he beat David Amerson and he had a 67 yard run for a TD. Quite simply, he was the difference in the first half and probably the game.
Tennessee put up some respectable running numbers but I'm not convinced they have fixed their running game. If you take away the one long run by Patterson, the Vols had 126 yards rushing on 36 carries. That's 3.4 yards per carry and that's thanks to a 42 yard run by Marlin Lane Jr. The Vols starter, Rajon Neal, ran the ball 22 times for just 52 yards, 2.4 ypc. Lane should replace him as the primary ball-carrier sometime in the near future as he's a much more dynamic runner.
Tyler Bray had a very good statistical game as he went 27 of 41 for 332 yards and 2 long TD tosses. What you have to like the most is the 0 INTs (even though he did have a fumble on the goaline). What scares you a bit is when Tyler Bray misses on a pass, he misses by about ten yards. With Patterson and Justin Hunter (and also Zach Rogers), the Vols have a lot of weapons on offense and they will give teams trouble if their pass protection can hold up.
The defense played well when it needed to play well. It's tough to make a snap judgement on a defense in the first game for a new defensive coordinator where the team is also changing schemes. What I will say is that there were a lot of wide open NC State players throughout this game and the Vols are a bit lucky that the Pack didn't capitalize more. The good news is that the stat sheet shows four INTs for the Vols defense and that's something to build on for Sal Sunseri and the crew.
Last year, in their second game of the year the Vols rolled over Cincinnati. This year they beat NC State by two touchdowns. Can they build on the win this year?