Tag Archives: Tennessee Volunteers

Tennessee Volunteers vs. Memphis Tigers, 12-15-18: In-game report

An old college basketball rivalry has been rekindled thanks to one team being led by a former NBA all-star turned head coach and another team ranked in the Top Five.  The third-ranked Tennessee Volunteers defeated Memphis, 102-92, on Saturday afternoon.  DraftNasty’s Troy Jefferson gives his impressions in this in-game report:

5 Admiral Schofield (6’6 241) Tennessee guard- Senior

Schofield is the big shot taker and the big shot maker for the Volunteers.  The senior guard can catch and shoot off picks and create his own shot with a left-to-right crossover. Against Memphis, Schofield had a team-high 29 points on 8-of-12 shooting.  He also led his team with 11 rebounds.  The Tigers made a few runs in the game to keep things close but every time they tried to leapfrog the Volunteers, Schofield was there to make a big basket. 

“We wanted to come in and make a statement for our university here on their floor,” Schofield said after the game.  “And I think we did that, so you know the crowd was chirping a little bit. So I just had to let them know. UT. UT still on top.”

At the next level, is where things will get tricky for Schofield.  He is 6-foot-6 and not extremely long.  His body type resembles that of Houston Rockets forward PJ Tucker, and  in order to adjust to the NBA, Schofield might have to adopt Tucker’s three-and-D game.  

2 Grant Williams (6’7 236) Tennessee forward- Junior

Grant Williams brings the grit and low post presence for the Volunteers.  The Tennessee junior likes to start the game by getting his rhythm in the post, using a turnaround shot over his left shoulder.  Williams can also occasionally pull out to the perimeter and make open long twos and threes (46-percent 3-point shooter). However, Williams knows where his bread is buttered and can mostly be found around the rim. Last season, Williams was named the SEC Player of the Year.  He might not have a natural position at the next level but at the very least, Williams will garner attention as a G-League/ NBA two-way contract prospect. 

0 Kyvon Davenport (6’8 215) Memphis forward- Senior

Davenport fits the mold of the new NBA forward, he can run to the rim end-to-end but also can float to the three-point line.  Despite coming off the bench against the Volunteers, Davenport played starter minutes and with a 56-percent field goal percentage and 44- percent three-point percentage, he is efficient in the time he does play.  For the season, Davenport is averaging 15 points per game and seven rebounds.  Against Tennessee, he had 31 points and 11 rebounds. 

“We know he’s a double-double machine,” said head coach Penny Hardaway after an earlier game this season against Tennessee Tech. “And we’re going to need that from him all year.”

Hardaway benched Davenport four games into the season but since then the senior has responded. 

“That’s a question I’ll have to pose to myself later: Is it time for Kyvon to go back in (the starting lineup)? Because he’s playing well coming off the bench, he’s playing minutes,” Hardaway said after the Tennessee game.

No matter what happens, Davenport is highly productive and talented and will catch the eyes of NBA scouts as the season goes on. 

West Virginia vs. Tennessee, 9-1-18: In-game report

In a heavily anticipated non-conference battle in Charlotte, North Carolina, West Virginia strong-armed Tennessee in the trenches, en route to a 40-14 victory.  DraftNasty’s Troy Jefferson gives his impressions in this in-game report:

7 Will Grier (6’2, 223) West Virginia QB-Senior

Grier, pictured, went over the 300-yard passing mark for the 10th time as a Mountaineer.

Will Grier, West Virginia’s Heisman candidate, didn’t disappoint. The senior completed 25-of-34 passes for 429 yards and five touchdowns.  Grier (6’2, 223) showed a natural feel in the pocket and looked like a quarterback who knew what he wanted to do snap-to-snap.  His patience shined throughout the game.  Perhaps his best throw of the afternoon came on a fade to senior wide receiver Gary Jennings Jr. (6’2, 215), pictured left, where he placed the ball perfectly to the receiver’s outside shoulder for a touchdown.  The senior enjoyed strong pass protection and only helped himself by being able to avoid the rush with his quick feet.  However, Grier would be better served at the next level if he’s able to develop the ability “to climb” in the pocket rather than shuffle from side-to-side, like he did on too many occasions against the Volunteers.  All things considered, he put together a performance worthy of a player who many pundits believe will be one of the better quarterbacks in the upcoming 2019 NFL Draft.

18 David Sills V (6’4, 210) West Virginia WR-Senior

For the eighth time over the course of the last two seasons, Sills V registered at least two receiving touchdowns in a game.

All good quarterbacks need a receiver who can make plays. For Grier, that receiver is Sills V.  Sills V used his size “to box out corners”, making it hard for the Volunteers secondary to work against him. The senior wide receiver also showed he can run the complete route tree and bend his knees/ upper body to get in-and-out of his breaks. The former Mountaineers signal-caller finished the afternoon with seven catches for 140 yards and two touchdowns.

9 Tim Jordan (5’11, 230) Tennessee RB-Sophomore

Jordan was one of the lone bright spots for the Volunteers, who looked inept on offense.  Jordan, only a sophomore, was able to use outside carries off tackle to rack up 118 rushing yards on 20 carries. He broke a run outside to score a touchdown in the third quarter. Jordan had a good game but the Tennessee offensive line will have to improve in both the pass and run blocking departments to compete in the SEC.

Mountaineers defense

West Virginia’s defense was aggressive from the jump.  Senior defensive tackle Kenny Bigelow (6’4 307), a former USC Trojan, started off the game with a quick rip move to derail a run up the middle on the first play of the contest.  On the next drive, Bigelow once again beat a Volunteers interior lineman off the snap to record a tackle for loss. He finished the contest with two tackles for loss and one forced fumble.  The Mountaineers defense went about 20 players deep and used various defensive packages to stifle the Volunteers, especially on third downs.  On the outside, West Virginia used a lot of man coverage and did it quite effectively.  The Mountaineers allowed Tennessee to convert on just 35-percent of its third down attempts (5-of-14), while allowing a paltry 301 yards of total offense (172 passing yards, 129 rushing yards). 

2018 Season Preview: West Virginia Mountaineers

Season outlook

Dana Holgorsen’s eighth year at the helm in Morgantown has a chance to be his best. The Mountaineers will return a high-flying offense that averaged 34.5 points per game last season, which was 22nd-best in the NCAA.  Senior quarterback Will Grier and senior wide receiver David Sills (6’4, 210 ) are a dangerous combo.  Grier passed for 3,490 yards and 34 touchdowns in 2017 while Sills caught 18 of those touchdowns while posting 980 receiving yards. The Grier-Sills connection gets a lot of talk, and rightfully so, but junior wide receiver Marcus Simms (6’0, 194) is a speedy threat who can also help out in the return game.  Last season, Simms caught 35 passes for 663 yards and averaged 26 yards per kick return.  On defense, senior safety Dravon Askew-Henry (6’0, 203) returned from a season-ending knee injury in 2016 to rack up four pass deflections and 57 tackles in 2017.

Troy’s player to watch

7 Will Grier 6’2 223 QB-Senior
Grier made a strong impression during his first season in Morgantown.  The Florida transfer completed 64-percent of his passes and will enter this season as a front runner for the Heisman trophy.  He has good feet in the pocket and a quick release, which makes him a perfect fit in West Virginia’s offense.  The Mountaineers signal caller did throw seven interceptions during a four-game stretch to end the season.  If Grier can cut down on the turnovers and continue to move the ball efficiently, then he will have a chance at being a first round pick in next April’s NFL Draft.

Game of the season

November 23rd against Oklahoma
West Virginia has never appeared in a Big 12 Championship game and the team usually standing in their way is the Oklahoma Sooners.  This year is no different. The Mountaineers will play Oklahoma at home the last week of the season. Last season, the Sooners defeated West Virginia 59-31.  With major turnover at Oklahoma and West Virginia returning a number of seniors, this year’s matchup could be a little tighter.

DraftNasty’s Prospect Watch

6 Dravon Askew-Henry 6’0 200 SPUR-Senior

Askew-Henry (No. 6 pictured) posted 45 tackles, two interceptions and a touchdown during a Freshman All-American campaign in 2014.

Askew-Henry has displayed adequate range in the middle of the field to get all the way to the sidelines (ECU ’17).  He takes above average cross-field angles.  As the team’s spur (OLB-Nickel), he’s heavily involved in the running game but also has covered slot receivers.  His injury history -as was referenced earlier- is a bit of a concern.   In addition, he has not always kept his feet in some open field tackling situations.  The former Freshman All-American can take a big leap this season with a healthy, productive senior campaign.

Prediction: 11-1

Draftnasty’s Troy Jefferson is predicting the Mountaineers will lose their first game of the season against Tennessee in Charlotte and go undefeated from then on out. The 11 wins would set a school-record for Dana Holgorsen at West Virginia and put the Mountaineers in the College Football Playoff discussion. A win in the Big 12 Championship game could be the final piece of the resume’.

2018 Season Preview: Florida Gators

Season outlook

The Florida Gators poached new head coach, Dan Mullen, from conference foe, Mississippi State, during the offseason. The Gators hope Mullen, who amassed a 69-46 overall record and 33-39 conference record, can bring a level of consistently to Gainesville. Mullen previously served as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coached during Florida’s heyday between 2005-2008. The Gators head coach will have to choose between three underclassmen to take  the command at quarterback.  Sophomores Feleipe Franks (6’5, 227) and Kyle Trask (6’5, 239) will battle freshman Emory Jones (6’2, 192) for the starting role. Whoever is under center, will have junior wide receiver Tyrie Cleveland (6’2, 205)to depend on. Cleveland finished last season with 410 receiving yards and two touchdowns.  Cleveland should be able to stretch defenses with the deep ball.  Defensively, the Gators project to be further ahead of the curve than the offense.  The Gators have playmakers at each level on defense.  Senior defensive end Cece Jefferson (6’1, 242) has totaled 28.5 tackles for loss and 9.5 sacks over his three years in Gainesville. Jefferson, pictured left,  plays with strong leverage and can set the edge.  In the middle, junior inside linebacker David Reese leads the defensive huddle and junior defensive back Chauncey Gardner-Johnson (6’0, 207) patrols the back end, playing on the outside and in the nickel. Gardner-Johnson has five career interceptions. The Gators aren’t expected to contend for a national championship like they were during Mullen’s first stint at Florida, but defensively look for marked improvement.

Troy’s player to watch

33 David Reese 6’1 248 LB- Junior
After missing the entire 2017 offseason recovering from wrist surgery, Reese came back with a vengeance, leading the Gators in tackles with 102 and finishing second on the team with 10 tackles for loss. The junior linebacker also totaled 1.5 sacks and an interception. The Farmington, Michigan native will be tasked with leading the defense from his middle linebacker position. Reese, a solid tackler, is as dependable as they come in the middle of a defense.

Game of the season

September 29th against Mississippi State
Head coach Dan Mullen will return to Starkville to face his former team during the fifth week of the season. The Bulldogs finished 9-4 last season in Mullen’s ninth and final season as Mississippi State’s head coach. The storylines will be plentiful and the two teams should be evenly matched. The Gators are looking to get back to a bowl game and beating a conference foe will be crucial.

 

Prediction: 7-5

Draftnasty’s Troy Jefferson is predicting a 7-5 record and a bowl game appearance for the Florida Gators. Mullen’s crew will fall to some of the upper echeloncompetition in the SEC including LSU, Tennessee, Georgia and South Carolina. The Gators will also fall to in-state rival Florida State but will win enough games to inspire confidence in the new head coach.