The Tennessee Vols’ defense is on pace to break all the wrong school records this season. Total yards and points per game are some of those records but another is opponent’s offensive snaps.
Through nine games the Tennessee defense has been on the field for 689 plays. In last year’s 12 games the defense played 752 snaps. That’s nearly 15 less snaps per game than this year. The increase in the amount of snaps can be because of the offense’s record breaking year with the up-tempo, no-huddle style, but that’s a different story.
In the 689 plays the defense has given up 4,348 yards of offense and 39 touchdowns. That comes out to an average of 6.3 yards per play and ranks 112 of 120 Football Bowl Subdivision schools.
The Vols’ defense also leads the SEC in explosive plays (plays of 20 yards or more) allowed with 60. Those 60 plays have accounted for 2,091 yards, 19 touchdowns and average 34.8 yards per play. Quick math tells me that those 60 plays have accounted for 48 percent of total yards and 48 percent of touchdowns the defense has surrendered this season.
On the other 629 plays the defense has played pretty sound football. Aside from the explosive plays the defense has given up 2,257 yards at 3.5 yards per play and 20 touchdowns. But those 60 plays do count, and they are what might cost Derek Dooley and his staff their jobs.
Photo: Sal Sunseri, Tennessee's Defensive Coordinator. Source: Adam Brimer, Knox News Sentinel