The Tennessee-Alabama game always has alumni talking. The chatter was even more evident during and after the game considering the Vols had a chance to upset the No. 8 team in the nation.
Opinions were wide ranging. Some believed the Vols took a step forward, even in a loss. Others still saw a loss against Alabama as significant despite the state of the two programs. Former Tennessee defensive end Will Overstreet saw the positives.
“I think I get more from this and how far this team has come than I do from a Georgia game that you won,” Overstreet said on The Sports Source on WATE.
Coach Butch Jones said there are no moral victories at Tennessee after the 19-14 loss to Alabama. Overstreet opined on that notion.
“Nobody likes a moral victory but in this loss I think it shows how much they’ve improved from last year and since Butch Jones has been a part of the program even though you lost and you lost to a better team…You played a better team,” he said. “You took them to the wire. You lost in one area. You lost in the special teams area. They out kicked you. They out returned you. And they made their field goals. We didn’t make ours.”
Kicker Aaron Medley missed three field goals on Saturday. He is 9-of-17 this season.
“If it’s a 40-yard field goal or 40 plus, am I punting or am I going for it?” Overstreet asked. “Right now, Medley’s not capable of doing that (converting long field goals). Don’t keep putting him in that position and expecting different results. Either find someone else to kick that long field goal or decide something else you’re going to do because right now it’s not helping you.”
Tennessee’s performance at cornerback has been another area of concern following the Alabama loss. Crimson Tide receivers beat Emmanuel Moseley, Justin Martin and even All-SEC defender Cameron Sutton.
“We’re fumbling and stumbling around,” former Tennessee offensive lineman David Ligon said on The Sports Source. “It looked like me playing corner out there.”
Ultimately it is still a loss for the Vols. Ligon didn’t speak of a moral victory.
“It hurts. It stings. It doesn’t matter if you played them close or not,” he said. “That’s okay. You’re supposed to feel bad…I think it boils down to depth. We just don’t have that depth right now to be able to compete.”
Here are some alumni tweets on Tennessee’s heartbreaking 19-14 loss to the Crimson Tide:
Impressed with Tennessee's guts today. Equally impressed by Alabama's grit. Glad to see this game matter again.
— Paul Finebaum (@finebaum) October 24, 2015
Former Tennessee offensive lineman Trey Teague was one of several former players in attendance, along with former Tennessee quarterback Peyton Manning, who was enjoying the Denver Broncos’ bye week.
— Trey Teague (@treyteague70) October 25, 2015
When the game was still in doubt, former Tennessee defensive end/linebacker Leonard Little tried to rally the troops.
#VFL.. Anybody else wit me?
— L. Little (@DBL_L_01) October 24, 2015
Former Tennessee receiver Donte’ Stallworth was even providing schematic breakdowns during the game.
Let's gooooo!!! Great disguise defense. Showed cover 3 and played cover 2. QB must read the coverage pre AND post snap. Result: INT Vols!
— Donté Stallworth (@DonteStallworth) October 24, 2015
Former offensive lineman Jacques McClendon could feel the passion from afar.
Tennessee defense is playing lights out right now. @UTCoachJones pre game speech must have been epic. They definitely believe today.
— Jacques McClendon (@jmcc65) October 24, 2015
Tennessee commitment Desmond Henderson was keeping a close eye on the Vols. The cornerback from Dodge City (Kansas) Community College believes he can be the difference.
I can't wait to make that difference!
— DJ Henderson (@Dee_Jay129) October 24, 2015