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Game Balls: Alabama

The players that got the game balls for Tennessee against Alabama are some of the players the Vols could build around in the bye week and moving forward.

The 48-17 home loss against the Crimson Tide didn't have much in terms of bright spots for the Tennessee Volunteers. The high-powered Alabama offense carved up the Tennessee defense when the Vols struggled to generate any kind of pressure all game long. On offense, Tennessee was again limited by the play from the quarterback spot and offensive play calling that ranged from conservative to asinine. The Vols limp into a desperately needed bye week on a three-game losing skid. Still, there were some bright spots for Tennessee against the Crimson Tide, and the recipients of this week's game balls could be some of the guys the Vols could feature if they want to turn their season around. 

Offense: Jalin Hyatt

The true freshman speedster has had some flashes for the Vols, but he finally broke through against Alabama. Hyatt reeled in his first career touchdown reception on a 38-yard grab that was still early in the game. He later followed up that catch with a 48-yard grab, giving him the two longest pass plays of the season for the Vols. Hyatt was extremely effective in limited snaps, and certainly made a strong case to see the field on a higher percentage of snaps going forward. The Vols have looked for a consistent number two option opposite Josh Palmer. They have also been looking for a receiver that is able to take the top off of opposing defenses. While Hyatt has looked solid so far this season, he certainly put himself at the top of both discussions with his performance against Alabama. It is also worth noting that if the true freshman is capable of scorching Alabama, he is capable of scorching any defense in the country. Hyatt had a huge game against the Crimson Tide, but he also showed what he can be the rest of the season. After seeing consistent double teams for weeks, Josh Palmer was left one-on-one when Hyatt worked a post route from the slot on his side. After burning Alabama deep, the Tide kept a safety over the top of Hyatt, and Palmer capitalized for a touchdown. The Vols need to make some serious changes in the bye week on offense, and more Jalin Hyatt seems like a smart one to put into place.

Defense: Trevon Flowers

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Look, no one on Tennessee's defense had a particularly good day against the Alabama offense. For that matter, there haven't been many players on any defense to face the Tide this year that have had good days. Still, Flowers did rack up ten tackles in the game while trying to limit the explosive Alabama receivers. Flowers looked to come close on two chances at interceptions, only for Crimson Tide receivers to make incredible catches despite his best efforts. Flowers was also active against the Alabama running game, something that speaks highly of his speed and effort when also dealing with the talented Tide receivers. Flowers played hard and was productive in what will likely be his most difficult assignment of the year. It feels like Flowers is a player Tennessee can count on in the back end as they try to get the defense back on track.

Special Teams: Paxton Brooks

Tennessee had to call on Brooks more than they wanted against Alabama, but he did rise to the occasion. Brooks left the Tide with long fields several times and averaged just under 46 yards per punt on the day. Brooks also had enough hang time on his kicks to allow his coverage team to contain one of the most dangerous return teams in the nation.