For better or worse

InsideTennessee knows what interests Vol football fans. Check out this illuminating comparison of Tennessee's stats from 2012 and 2013:

The 2013 Tennessee Vols have a 4-6 record heading into the Vanderbilt and Kentucky games, same as the 2012 Vols. This year's team took a dramatically different path to get there, however.

A comparison of 10-game statistics for 2012 and 2013 offers some fascinating revelations. For instance:

The ground game is somewhat improved this fall but the passing attack is barely half as productive as it was last fall. The pass defense is dramatically better but the run defense is significantly worse. Despite an "uptempo" attack, Tennessee is averaging fewer snaps per game this fall (67.3) than it did last fall (75.0).

The X factor, of course, is the schedule: The Vols' first 10 opponents of 2013 included six top-10 teams, whereas Tennessee faced just two top-10 teams last fall.

Regardless, here are some fascinating numbers to crunch:

The 2013 Vols are averaging 24.9 points per game, down from 37.9 through 10 games of 2012. That's a drop-off of nearly two touchdowns per contest.

The 2013 Vols are averaging 172.7 passing yards per game, 161 yards behind their 334.0 per-game output in 2012. Obviously, the departure of three-year starting quarterback Tyler Bray and his top four receivers (Justin Hunter, Cordarrelle Patterson, Mychal Rivera and Zach Rogers) is largely responsible for the slippage.

The 2013 Vols are averaging 10.4 yards per catch, down from 13.6 per catch in 2012. This can be traced to replacing big-play specialists Hunter and Patterson with young and unproven receivers.

The 2013 Vols have 10 touchdown passes through 10 games, down from 30 at this point last fall. Again, the loss of Bray, Hunter and Patterson is the obvious cause.

The 2013 Vols are averaging 185.9 rushing yards per game and 5.0 per carry. That's up from last season's 10-game norms of 161.1 per game and 4.6 per carry.

The 2013 Vols, despite a greater emphasis on the run, have scored just 15 rushing touchdowns. That's actually down from last year's total of 17 through 10 games.

The 2013 Vols are averaging 358.6 total yards per game. That's nearly 140 yards below last season's 10-game average of 495.1 total yards per game.

The 2013 Vols (mostly Justin Worley) have completed 55.1 percent of their passes. The 2012 Vols (mostly Bray) completed 61.2 percent through 10 games.

The 2013 Vols have surrendered 12 sacks, more than doubling last season's 10-game total of 5.

The 2013 Vols have scored 30 touchdowns, down from 49 through 10 games last fall.

The 2013 Vols have converted on 35 percent (46 of 132) of their third-down opportunities. That is down from 40 percent (56 of 140) through 10 games last fall.

Volunteers like Cordarrelle Patterson departing early for the NFL Draft greatly affected the 2013 offense.
(Danny Parker/InsideTennessee.com)
None of these offensive numbers is terribly surprising, considering that Tennessee now has a freshman (Josh Dobbs) replacing Bray, another freshman (Marquez North) replacing Hunter and a sophomore (Alton Howard) replacing Patterson.

Defensively, Big Orange fans figured there was nowhere to go but up after the nightmare that was 2012. The numbers are better in 2013 but not as dramatically as fans hoped. Consider:

The 2013 Vols are allowing 32.0 points per game. That's a modest improvement over last year's average of 37.0 through 10 outings.

The 2013 Vols are allowing 225.9 rushing yards per game. That is 35 yards per game worse than the 2012 average of 190.6 through 10 games.

The 2013 Vols are allowing 208.4 passing yards per game, a dramatic improvement of 81 yards per game compared to last season's 10-game norm of 289.7 per contest.

The 2013 Vols are surrendering 434.3 total yards per game. That's better than last year's 10-game norm of 480.3 per contest but the improvement isn't as dramatic as some fans anticipated.

The 2013 Vols are allowing opponents to average 6.3 yards per play. That's actually up from last year's average of 6.2.

The 2013 Vols have recorded 13 sacks, matching last season's 10-game total.

The 2013 Vols are allowing opponents to convert on 44 percent (62 of 140) of their third-down tries, up from last year's 10-game average of 38 percent (58 of 154).

That brings us to special teams, which have been excellent in some games (Georgia, South Carolina) and absolutely horrendous in others (Auburn).

The 2013 Vols are 13 of 15 on field- goal tries, up from 13 of 17 through 10 games in 2012.

The 2013 Vols are 5 of 7 on field-goal tries of 40 yards or more, thanks to Michael Palardy. He did not try a field goal of 40 yards or more in the first 10 games last fall.

The 2013 Vols are averaging 62.1 yards per kickoff, a slight improvement over last fall's average of 61.9 through 10 games.

The 2013 Vols are averaging 23.3 yards per kickoff return, up from 21.5 through 10 games last fall.

The 2013 Vols are allowing opponents to average 25.2 yards per kickoff return, up from 21.2 in 2012.

The 2013 Vols are averaging 10.0 yards per punt return, up from 7.5 last fall.

The 2013 Vols are allowing opponents to average 10.4 yards per punt return, up from 9.6 in 2012.

The 2013 Vols are averaging 43.8 gross yards per punt and 37.4 net yards per punt. The 2012 Vols averaged 40.0 gross yards and 36.0 net yards through 10 games.

The 2013 Vols don't get in the red zone as often but they are virtually identical to the 2012 Vols in red-zone efficiency. The 2013 team has scored on 84 percent of its forays inside the 20-yard line (31 of 37), compared to last season's 85-percent rate (47 of 55). The 2013 Vols have produced touchdowns on 62 percent of their red-zone opportunities (23 of 37), matching last season's percentage (34 of 55).

Finally, Tennessee is a more disciplined team this season. The 2013 Vols have been penalized 47 times for 359 yards, down from 65 times for 492 yards through 10 games a year ago.

Marquez North

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