I’m going to just cut to the chase when it comes to Western Kentucky left tackle Forrest Lamp. We all know that he didn’t play against a lot of top-notch edge rushers in college. Out of the five games I watched, the only team that had players who actually challenged Lamp was Alabama.
The other four games, for the most part, he looked like a man against boys.
Half the time those guys looked like they weren’t supposed to be on the same field as Lamp. He was like the big-for-his-age kid in Pop Warner football who the league officials say can’t play because it would be unfair.
And after a midseason slump that involved injuries, Bama, injuries against Bama, and post-Bama injuries, the Vols closed strong.
Out of necessity, Tennessee unleashed the offense it should have had all along, and Dobbs posted a sampling of Heisman-level numbers: 92-of-124 (74 percent) for 1,260 yards, 12 touchdowns, and one interception (passer rating: 189.9), plus 49 carries for 511 yards and seven more scores.
Tennessee averaged 29.3 points per game in its first eight contests, then averaged 47.8 in its last five. No, there weren’t elite defenses on the slate in that stretch, but Dobbs was damn-near perfect.
He’s had to play Alabama four times (this is awkward half-praise, but UT’s only kept it within two scores against Bama three times since 2006; two of those were under Dobbs), Florida’s remained elite on defense, the SEC East has raw talent (and little else, sure), and the Vols have played tough overall non-cons the last two years.