2021 Season Recap: The 2021 season for Monty is really just a frustrating tale of “what could have been” after seeing him come out locked in the first few games, and then suffer a season ending ACL tear in just the third contest. While the final 10 games of the season had Monty relegated to the sideline I continued to see him out there each week cheering and keeping the guys energized. That attitude, and his overall charisma as “the best in the game” has really help put Monty in a position of leadership this year. Even in limited action Monty still racked up 17 tackles and a QB hurry to add to his career totals.
2022 Season Outlook: While any speculation about how Monty being fully healthy in 2021 would have altered the season is nice to discuss, it is just that, speculation. Would his presence have translated to another win, two more wins? I’m not sure, but what statistics tell me is that Monty would have absolutely created more disruption in the backfield than his counterparts. Monty has always had rocket fuel in his jumpoff and looking at seasons past we can see 5 sacks, a QB hurry, and 3 forced fumbles in 2019, and 4 sacks, 7.5TFL, a QB hurry, and an interception in 2020. One would assume even if that number remained similar an extra fumble, interception, couple sacks, etc could have altered games, and certainly would have helped free up other rushers off the edge in Yasir, Yaya, Gillotte, etc. The return of Monty can’t be understated as I think his presence alone creates matchup concerns across the line, especially on 3rd downs. Glad to see him back in the fold and hopefully he can go out with an impressive All-ACC caliber season.
My guy does not lack confidence but the mental growth he discussed in interviews this offseason is a big reason I think he takes that next step. Being forced to watch every game from the sidelines is tough, but there is lots you can takeaway from it as well.
I’ll mention one other thing, in the world of NIL lots of guys have come out with personal merch and most of it if “meh” if I’m honest. BUT, Monty and the group he aligned with is killing it. Go to his twitter bio to check out the link but the ‘Montyville’ shirt and the “MM” logo are both very nice. If you feel so inclined, go support the young man.
2021 Season Recap: If you’ve been keeping up with Cards this offseason (my assumption is if you are reading this, you have) then the Tennessee transfer Tiyon Evans may be the most well known “unknown” on the whole team. Used as part of a group of backs early in the year Tiyon got some opportunities and went for over 100yds three times in the first six games of the Vols season. After suffering an ankle injury during the South Carolina game Tiyon only got 8 carries the rest of the season and did not play in 5 of the last 7 games. When we picked him up I immediately jump into digging up what I could about him. He seemed like a really well balanced back that could create problems at multiple level. One of the things I kept hearing about Evans was his ability to complete the homerun play with his speed. We’ve got some good backs in the room that just don’t have the burners to take it to the house. Can Evans really do that? Confirmed.
Of course, all speed no brakes or all speed no push limits your opportunities and your situational play calling with Evans in the game. So does he have the legs to drive, fall forward, and move guys up field? Confirmed.
2022 Season Outlook: While the play of Evans here at UofL is still TBD for 2022 I’m really excited from what I’ve seen/read/heard in the last eight months. While I think on paper the leadership of Mitchell will translate to him being the go-to early in the season I would not be shocked at all to see Tiyon end up with more opportunities as the year progresses. Much like the backup quarterback when the starter struggles, Tiyon will quickly become the most popular player in the fanbase if Mitchell or Cooley come out of the gate slow. We’ve heard nothing but good things about the transfer so I’m hoping when any weaknesses emerge (they will) they are easily correctable. Evans is saying all the right things (team player, building each other up, loves to block in the pass game, etc) so I look forward to seeing that mature attitude and mindset come to life between the hashes. Excited to see what he brings to the squad. The level of hype coming into the year does concern me some, but I’ll gladly be wrong if he wants to put up 1,000yds and 20TDs.
Tiyon touched on a lot of the things I noted above, but one of those I did not mention yet was his “why” focused around the birth of his son. Some of the chatter from the UT fanbase was about focus and being bought in to the life of a student athlete. It may be sour grapes but worth noting any reoccurring comments as a result of his departure. Speaking from my own personal experience, having children will absolutely shift your focus on things and I hope having that in the back of his mind will keep him motivated in this fresh start.