Another week, another massive shakeup
It’s Mississippi State week, and the best I can figure is that this is the most important game on the schedule. Most Vol fans I have talked to seem to think 8-4 is enough for him to return to Knoxville. Alabama and South Carolina still loom this month. So is this the most important game of Derek Dooley’s Tennessee tenure?
A short but sweet edition of the Dooleyisms. This week we learn that older more mature players are better than immature players, who’s playing well, and who’s not.
On the Bye Week
I feel pretty good about how we handled the open date. I feel like we got a lot accomplished. We worked them pretty hard early in the week and they came back, took advantage of the two days off and had a really energetic practice today…We did a lot of work on preventing big plays and there are some trends that you see. There are some trends schematically and some trends personnel-wise. It is just addressing it, coaching a little bit better. That is where it starts, coaching these guys a little bit better when the ball breaks on what to do and where to fit. It is being conscious of maybe where we get a little stressed schematically and then making sure we don’t do too much so we don’t make mistakes. Most of those plays generally start with a little bit of an alignment error, then it is not playing the blocks very well from a toughness standpoint and then the ball breaks and not being able to get the guy down in space. There were some trends and of all the things I guess we said we had to stop during this open date it is these long runs over 30 yards, really over 15 yards. But we’ve had some really long ones, more than you want in a career…It’s hard to say if it helped until you go see them next week.
I hope the Vols do some good things this week. Historically the Vols have a pretty good record post-bye week. Last year Tennessee lost at home to LSU. 2012 Mississippi State is not 2011 LSU, so I don’t know what, if any trends, we can clean from this information. Also any attempt at negating long runs from Mississippi State would be welcome.
Saturday the Vols traveled to Athens, it started out BAD. Like, I actually considered turning off the tv bad. With five minutes to go in the first half Tennessee was down 27-10, and Cordarrelle Patterson had dropped a sure touchdown, and from that point on Tennessee made a game of it. It wasn’t a win, and I don’t subscribe to moral victories. However, there were a lot of silver linings to be had Saturday.
I normally do “The Good” first, but I wanted to get the bad out of the way, because I took a lot of positives from Saturday’s game. Tackling, tackling tackling, that was bad. Keith Marshall and Todd Gurley ran over the Vols, it was a pitiful and disgusting performance. This team misses Brian Randolph in a big way. If the opponent blocking is good, I don’t feel comfortable that many people in the secondary can bring down a running back. Coaches think freshmen Ladarrell McNeil can do that, and I hope that he can, because teams are going to do that all day to Tennessee. Unfortunately, the only defender I feel good about, (and I feel great about actually) is AJ Johnson. This kid gets it done, he doesn’t have enough help around him yet.
Tyler Bray was not good. The stats aren’t good 24-45 and three interceptions. To be fair, there were also some crucial drops that could’ve kept drives alive, but Bray missed some huge throws too. He is trying to do too much, the kid has a talented arm, but he still needs to let the game come to him, make the throws when he needs to, and not force things. He turned the ball over way too much in the fourth quarter, and that was the difference between a nice comeback and a signature win.
Tennessee and Alabama both had easy games on Saturday. Oh, wait, UT didn’t? They were tied with Akron at the half? Hmmm? They won right? Ok. Well then on to the week 4 reviews to see how bad Steve and I were this week.
Florida Atlantic at Alabama
Four weeks in and the national media is starting to say what Tide fans have been hoping is true since the Spring: TJ Yeldon is the best running back on the team and deserves consideration as one of the top backs in the league. Yeldon does nothing to disappoint in this game, rushing for 175 yards on only 12 carries. Everyone gets in on the act, with Eddie Lacy netting 90 yards on eight carries and Jalston Fowler gaining 110 on eleven carries. Even Blake Sims gets a couple quarterback draws. It’s not entertaining, but it’s over quickly in a game that runs less than three hours. The only thing that can be gleaned from this game is the progress of backup Philip Ely at quarterback, and it’s apparent that Alabama can’t afford to lose AJ just yet.
Alabama 55 – FAU 0
Again, not a lot to see here other than how many true freshmen see the field.
Alabama 49 – FAU 0
Tennessee enters the meat of it’s schedule. I can’t think of another program who consistently has the October slate that the Volunteers get in the SEC. So many teams have their huge games in November, but for UT, October is prime time. So we have a prime time set of Dooleyisms as we wrap up Akron, and prepare for Georgia
I always look at those three big things in turnovers, big plays and fourth quarter. We obviously did a pretty good job on all three. We were plus-12 on big plays, I think we had 16 of them on offense which is pretty explosive. We gave up four that we need to correct. We were plus-one on turnovers. Really good job by the defense getting three, but we were a little too loose with the football and that is something that is going to be a big priority this week. Even though we only lost one, we had a couple other opportunities to lose them. We have to get better. The fourth quarter was obviously a great quarter for us. We outscored them, 17-3, outgained them 167-19 and then were plus-one on takeaways.
Dooley seems more pleased by the Akron performance than most fans. (Including me.) There are ups and downs in any football game. When you look at the deeper stats it appears that Tennessee handled Akron better than the perception. But as Andre Agassi says “image is everything”. So Derek Dooley needs to be aware of that as well. continue reading…
After a shockingly close first half, the Tennessee Volunteers out scored the Akron Zips 24-3 in the second half for a 47-26 victory. There was a lot to like, and a lot to dislike in this game for all parties.
Offensively Tennessee gained 633 yards. 633 yards! That’s the first time since 2004 that the Vols have done that. That’s a heckuva number. I don’t care that it was Akron, that’s getting it done. The Vols averaged 7.1 yards per play. Rajion Neal averaged 6.9 yards per rush, and was the first Tennessee back in a long long time to crack the 150 yard barrier. Marlin Lane averaged 5.2 yards per carry. You might be saying “Yeah, but that was Akron.” And that would be a fair statement, but last year the Vols played and defeated Montana, Buffalo, and MTSU and never even came close to that number. It’s also good to note that eleven different receivers caught a pass. Brendan Downs, and Jacob Carter each made their single catch count as they both got their first career TDs.
Akron has an explosive offense, coming into the UT game averaging over 39 ppg. Take away Tyler Bray’s pick 6, and Neal’s fumble in his own territory, and the Vols held the Zips to just 16. Also Tennessee’s red-zone defense was incredible, keeping Akron out of the endzone on each trip.