Tennessee Volunteers: Loss to Florida Could Set Vols Back to Square 1

Clint EilandAnalyst ISeptember 19, 2012

KNOXVILLE, TN - SEPTEMBER 15: Jeff Driskel #6  quarterback of the Florida Gators breaks free from A.J. Johnson #45 of the Tennessee Volunteers during the second half of play at Neyland Stadium on September 15, 2012 in Knoxville, Tennessee.    (Photo by John Sommers II/Getty Images)
John Sommers II/Getty Images

These past two years have been horribly disappointing for Tennessee fans. We've had the talent, the momentum and, for this game, the lead at one point.

However, once again, we just could not hold on. While some may be willing to chalk this one up as just another loss to Florida, this game showcased everything we feared about the Volunteers and then some. 

There were the good parts—I'm not saying that there weren't. But everything came into full view late in the game, when we needed to stick together the most.

Tyler Bray had a high-and-low game. This was his first test against a really good defense, and he partly succeeded, partly failed. On some drives, he looked NFL-worthy, throwing perfect passes and moving quickly downfield.

On others, he looked unfit to be playing in the SEC. His throwing motion looked horribly broken, and he overthrew wide-open guys. I don't even think I need to go over his two interceptions—he was practically aiming for the Florida defenders.

Overall, Bray showed us everything good and bad about him. Whether or not he sticks around for next season is still a mystery.

The defense, like everything else, seemed to be getting a grasp on the situation until the third quarter. They let Driskel and the Florida rushing attack run and pass all over them. There were about four separate times where they had their hands on Driskel but let him get away for big gains.

Coaching was probably the worst part of this game. Dooley had everything in place but let everything drop. Frustration with him showed on every player's face, which typically isn't a good sign.

So, what's the difference between now and years past? To be honest, not much.

We do have pretty good players, most notably at linebacker and quarterback. 

But other than that, we are back at square one. So where do we go from here?

To be honest, I don't think anyone could really tell you. But we have two options we could choose from at this point. They are:

  1. Fire Dooley and get a new head coach.
  2. Don't fire anyone and see what this season holds.

Not too dissimilar from last year, huh? I personally would choose A, but I do see a lot of people wanting to go with B. If somehow, someway, Tennessee could pull off an upset of either Georgia, South Carolina or Alabama, the season would not be lost.

But the problem is that upsets don't last forever. While I would certainly adore a win in any of those games, it does not speak to the viability of the future of the Volunteers.

I'm not sure if a lot of Volunteers fans can stand another rebuilding era. I certainly don't think that's going to happen, but it is still a real possibility. 

The trials and tribulations of the Tennessee Volunteers will continue, and they will show who the real fans/players are. We just need to stick around and see.