Photo via Bill Carter.
The first game is in the books! And based on my quick perusal of the Sunday beat writers, no major injuries. So that's all to the good. Any game, regardless of opponent, provides some diagnostic (though not necessarily predictive) information. So, what did we learn last night?
1. The win was sufficiently dominant not to concern, but there is much to do. During the first half broadcast the play-by-play guy mentioned that the SELA coaching staff was unable to really even put in any game planning specific to Mizzou because of the logistical clusterf**k brought on by the storm. So, not surprisingly, as a competitive endeavor this game was over quickly. The game was mostly about getting reps, getting timing, and working on things before the end of the first quarter. Keep that in mind.
- "I got this." -- Kendial Lawrence
- This offensive line should be good. Remember, every season even veteran o-lines take a bit of time to gel. Quick penetration and blitz pick up tend to be the bane of line play early in the season. But, I saw enough big plays, raw physicality, and enough good looking pockets for Franklin not to sweat the long-term prospects for this group.
- Our LBs can cover, and that's gonna come in really handy.
- Tennessee may have the most dynamic WR corps in the league (country?), but Mizzou's may be deeper in ways that matter.
2. Every SEC East team has holes to patch. For Mizzou, the offensive line jumps out. For South Carolina, the passing game looks like a problem. For Vandy, it's avoiding dumb plays (i.e., learning to win). For Georgia, if you can get Jarvis Jones blocked -- I said "if" -- people just run unencumbered through their secondary. For Florida, they don't know if/when they're going to get competent QB play. (Frankly, Bowling Green mostly crapped the bed in the 4th quarter.) Tennessee had hands down the best (i.e., most complete) game. But, if you paid any attention to the Vols last season (I did, because a friend is a HUGE UT fan), they could put together dominant quarters. Their issue was quarter-to-quarter (and now game-to-game) consistency. Much of that owed to their depth issues. It'll be interesting to see how well those are resolved.