No fear SEC fans there is still a long long way to go. I don’t see Oregon losing, but I don’t see K-State and Notre Dame going undefeated. That will set up a show-down between the SECCG winner (Most likely Bama and Georgia) against Oregon for all the marbles.

Boy- wow. Hmmm. This edition could be summed up in a few phrases. Good offense, bad defense, ugly crowd. But, why are these things in these particular categories.

The Good

Holy Offense Batman! Whenever you are breaking Peyton Manning’s records at Tennessee good things are happening on that side of the ball. Tyler Bray continued his mastery of poor defenses. 29-47 530 yards and 0 touchdowns. That’s getting it done. I don’t care who you are.

Justin Hunter had 181 yards and three touchdowns receiving. Cordarrelle Patterson had a touchdown and 219 yards receiving. The best game for a receiving duo in school history.

The Volunteer offense racked up 718 yards of offense on the ground.

Marlin Lane looked like the back I thought he would be coming out of high school. This young man had a career-high 135 yards and two touchdowns on the ground. Lane has shown power between the tackles, and while he is not the blazer that maybe Rajion Neal or Devrin Young are, he is a tough runner. UT needs more tough runners.

Finally on the good. A standing ovation to Juwuan James, Zach Fulton, James Stone, Dallas Thomas, Tiny Richardson, and Sam Pittman. None of the above numbers are possible without the fine contributions of these young men.

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It’s November already. Amazing, seems like yesterday it was August, and I was just getting a handle on this whole blogpoll thing. Not a lot of movement this week.

So obviously last week wasn’t the final Dooleyisms. This week’s Dooleyisms is kinda bi-polar. Offensively, the man was reasonably pleased. Defensively not so much. Just like the rest of Volunteer nation.

On The Defense:

Of course defense, a lot of problems that haven’t gone away. You look at the first half and we gave up nine plays over 20 yards and 28 points. In the second half we played a little better. We gave two plays over 20 yards and gave up 10 points. In in all these games we are seeing about 60 plays of pretty good defense and then you are seeing about 15 plays of really bad defense. Of course, the question is why and what are we doing about it. Those are the obvious ones. When you say what is going on, usually when you have the numbers that we have, it isn’t one thing. Obviously there are times when we don’t make a good call as coaches and put our kids in a bad position. There are times in that 15-play block where we are a little bit of a mess before the ball is even snapped and that can be a function of either we are doing too much and we are thinking too much or we are not executing what we have worked on all week in practice. That is kind of a combination deal. Then the third issue with it is when we have a decent call and we are sound, but we just haven’t mastered how to play it as well and then make a good play. We are a little bit of a jack-of-all trades, master of nothing, and it is so important that we start mastering a few things and get good at [a few things] to hang our hat on so we can try to get those 15 snaps down to about six or seven and at least have a chance…You can always get a little more simple, but I think the bigger thing now is getting good at what you are doing. They hit a couple of seam routes when we were playing Cover Two. Was everybody lined up right, playing ok? Yeah, but we are getting about two yards wider on the seam than we should be, the safety is about two yards deeper so now all the details of execution become paramount. You ask whose fault it is, but they have to rep it and get better. It is a combination of those things. There are still some things that we can try to minimize the thinking on the checks and that is what we have to do…When you talk about the bulk of the game, they play pretty well. You see a lot of good adjustments, guys playing fast, good energy, lined up right, but it is hard because there is no excuse for the way we are playing. There is just no excuse, we should be playing better than we are.

Uh, coach. It cost you you’re job. I wonder what the UT record would be if Justin Wilcox was still around? Have to think we’d be no worse than 5-3.

Oh, how I pine for this guy

The UT defense

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Week 9 already? Time flies when you’re having fun. Hopefully ole Sandy keeps it reasonably fun this week for the East Coast.

Tennessee went to Columbia yesterday. The story is a familiar one. The Vols played well, but not well enough. There were bright spots in Williams-Brice stadium, and I am assuming, that many of the 86,000 Gamecock fans in attendance were nervous that the Volunteers were going to steal a game late. To the objective and unattached football fan, it was worth watching.

The Good:

Tennessee scored 35 points yesterday against a very talented South Carolina defense. Only Florida scored more when they had 44 last week in Gainesville. I would argue though that the Vols had the more impressive offensive performance. Tennessee had 476 yards of offense against the Gamecocks. Florida gained just 191. Florida’s points were the result of some bad turnovers by South Carolina.

Zach Rogers had his best game ever as a Volunteer. 6 grabs for 106 yards and three touchdowns. Oh, and two of his other three catches were for first downs including one late in the game on 4th and 2 during the Vols final drive to attempt to tie or take the lead. The young man has been skewered in the past by yours truly and others. He was the best player on the field yesterday in orange and white.

The UT offensive line continues to impress. You have to give the big boys up front lots of credit for the 476 yards of offense. The South Carolina defense had 29 sacks entering Saturday’s clash. That’s more than 4 per game. The Vols allowed one sack, and it was late. Jadaveon Clowney did have the biggest play at the end of the game with the strip of Tyler Bray. But there were long stretches where the announcers had to remind the audience that Clowney was in fact still in the game. The O-line just kept him quiet. Tiny Richardson handled Clowney one on one for several plays. He only had one mistake.  Sam Pittman may have been the best hire ever by Derek Dooley.

The Bad:

The defense was terrible again. Two weeks in a row, the Vols gave up career days to opposing quarterbacks. Last week it was Alabama’s AJ McCarron. This week it was Connor Shaw.  Those are the kinds of things these guys should have against East Carolina, or Western Michigan, or some other directional school. Those things shouldn’t happen in a conference game. If it did it should happen against Kentucky or Vandy. Not against Tennessee. The entire defense gets this nod this week. If Sam Pittman is the best hire ever by Dooley. Then Sal Sunseri is the leader in the clubhouse for the worst.

The Ugly:

Thoughts and prayers for Marcus Lattimore. If anything ever qualifies as ugly it was the nasty leg injury he sustained yesterday after being hit by Herman Lathers and Eric Gordon. My first inclination after seeing the hit was “My Lord, I hope he doesn’t lose that thing”If you haven’t seen it yet, it was that ugly. Nothing official on the exact injury yet has been announced. Message board rumors indicate that it is a ACL, MCL, LCL, and a broken femur. The young man has immense talent, I hope he can walk first. I hope he can play football second, and I hope he can make it to the NFL third.

Johnny Majors met his end after the South Carolina game in 1992. Phil Fulmer met his end after the South Carolina game in 2008. Is Derek Dooley next? Can he survive a drop to 3-5. I guess that will remain to be seen.  Dooley himself said they have one more shot against a top 10 team. Is he Nostradooley? Does he know something? What doesn’t remain to be seen is one of Dooley’s finest Monday press conferences ever.

On Trends in UT’s Losses:

You’ve heard me talk a lot about what I believe are the two biggest indicators of winning and losing: turnovers and big plays. When you look at those four games that we have lost, we are negative-six in turnover ratio. I think the disturbing part of it is that we have spit the ball up 10 times. We are averaging 2.5 turnovers in each of those SEC games, eight of them are interceptions, so we have no chance of winning those games when you are down 2.5 every game…”Then you look at big plays and it is, on average, 8-4. When I say big play, I am talking a play over 20 yards. I think teams have hit 31 on us to our 15. We are obviously giving up way too many and we are not getting as many as we are capable of with the kind of players that we have on offense in those games. Until we correct those two things, we are never going to get over the hump in beating some of these quality football teams.

Of course Dooley is right here. One thing I am curious about is why he didn’t reduce his ration even further. Our opponents have two big plays to our one. I guess it doesn’t really matter, but that seems like a point that would drive Derek mad.

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Saturday was the Third Saturday in October, and unfortunately, like it has been since 2006, the Tennessee Volunteers ended up on the wrong side of a 44-13 beat down. So on to the the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.

 

The Good:

Alabama sports one of the bet defenses in the nation, and in my honest opinion, Sam Pittman deserves a raise.  The Volunteer O-line held it’s own all night. Tyler Bray wasn’t sacked all night, he was pressured, but not sacked. Marlin Lane scraped together 55 yards on 15 carries, certainly not overwhelming, but against the competition not terrible.

Corrdarrelle Patterson continues to shine when he has the ball in his hands. He made a great catch in traffic,and  he averaged almost 27 yards a kick return.  He is a talented kid.

The Bad:

Tyler Bray to Justin Hunter. It wasn’t even there until it was too late in the game to matter. Big time games need big time players, and the two biggest Vols disappeared.

The Tennessee secondary was dreadful. Amari Cooper is talented, and AJ McCarron is probably underrated. But sheesh. I didn’t think David Palmer and Joe Namath were gonna make appearances in Neyland Stadium. The Vols sold out to stop the Bama ground game. They paid dearly.

The Ugly

Seven straight losses to Alabama, three straight by exactly 31 points. (Not coincidentally all three games that Derek Dooley has coached against the Tide). Nobody could pick Tennessee in this game without bringing up junk stats and/or crazy what ifs. So disappointing, so ugly.

October is a busy month in life, and in College Football, with that said. Here is this week’s version of 3SiB’s blogpoll

The Vols had a late kickoff Saturday in Starkville, MS. I didn’t fall asleep until well after 2am after the 41-31 loss. So many thoughts were swirling through my head. I am trying to figure out what part of UT’s recent past is because of Derek Dooley, or in spite of him. I am still not sure even today. I do know that the rest of this month becomes increasingly important for the Dooley tenure in Knoxville. To say he has a football mountain climb would be an understatement. Now for Saturday’s Good, Bad and Ugly.

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