When it comes to Alabama, I’m an unabashed glass-half-full guy. So, with all the hand wringing about the passing game, which in reality saw McElroy improve in the contest against the Vols in completion percentage (62% vs. 50%), interceptions (0 vs. 2), and passes to Julio (7 vs. 0) , from his previous performance against the Cocks, I thought I’d take a look at how the oft lamented kickoff coverage unit did.
I’m not exactly sure of the metric you use to guage such things but from my observation there has been improvement in this area. Tennessee did not appear to make any “big” returns (nor have they really all year), but a look at the stats shows that they averaged 28.4 yards on 5 returns with a long return of 33 yards. More importantly their best starting field position after a kickoff return was on their own 37 yard line (in the 3rd quarter) which ironically came on their shortest return (24 yards).
The only time Tennessee began a drive in Alabama territory was on the fumble recovery in the 4th quarter.
Dare I suggest that this is an area that has seen improvement over the course of the season?