Herman Lathers and Curt Maggitt will sit this weekend against Georgia St. Lathers still has a dinged shoulder, no surprise since he missed much of the second half last week. Maggitt, oh Maggitt. He has turf toe. That lingering jerk of an injury has snuck up on UT’s most dynamic defender.

The good news is, that if it was Florida week, they’d both be playing.

Alabama has earned 81 of the 93 first place votes and Tennessee has snuck into the top 25 at #24

 

Huge thanks to Bama Hammer for finding and posting this clip of all twelve of TJ Yeldon’s touches against Michigan. Those folks over there are doing some great work (the Weekly Auburn Moment of Zen is appointment reading). First the video, and then a little breakdown after the jump:

The video cannot be shown at the moment. Please try again later.

(if the embed doesn’t work as it is wont to do of late, you can view the video at Bama Hammer as linked above and here).

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Well week 1 is in the books, and it’s my year to be this sites representative to the blog poll.
You may notice TCU isn’t in the poll. Not their fault, until they play I am not putting them on here.

 

It’s back! Regular season Dooleyisms. They’ve been gone too long. This week’s agenda includes, Herman Lathers, Zach Fulton, Zach Rogers, the Mollygrubs and First Down Production.

On Keys to the Game:

When you look at the three big factors of winning and losing that I always emphasize are big plays, turnovers and fourth quarter. On the big play front, the appearance is that we won it, but we really netted out zero because we gave up some big plays, too – more than we needed to, and ours were really huge plays. It was a net zero on the big plays, turnovers were the huge difference. We had four, but we also had that safety, so we were kind of plus four in the turnover ratio. Fourth quarter I was very proud of the team. We had a fourth down stop, we had two turnovers, the offense took the ball with five minutes left and grinded it down to a minute and kicked a field goal, so when you look at those critical factors, we got it done in those areas, so that was a good step for the team.

I always find it interesting to see how coaches process things. It seems like big plays, turnovers and the fourth quarter are obvious, but I really enjoy hearing how coaches look at those kind of things.

On Improvement:

This week, looking at Georgia State, there are two real focuses for our football team. One is how much improvement we can make from week 1 to week 2, because this is always a big week of improvement for a team, cleaning up a ton of mistakes from the game and seeing if we can make a big jump. The second thing is trying to define a standard of how we compete every week regardless of the opponent, regardless of the environment, the venue. We need to learn to come out there and perform with the same intangibles, the same level of execution and intensity every week, and that’s what good teams do. 

This is the biggest thing for Georgia State. Also I am pretty sure Nick Saban said the exact same things about Western Kentucky and The Process.

Derek Dooley has taken a lot from Nick Saban, hopefully crystal footballs are also in our future

 

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We made the predictions, now we have to face them. How did Mike and I do in week one?

Tennessee vs. NC State in Atlanta

What Mike Said:

The season kicks off, where so many Tennessee seasons have died: The Georgia Dome. Two offenses come out firing, and two defenses really don’t know what they’re doing. UT’s new 3-4 takes an entire half to look a little bit normal. The halftime score is 24-20 UT. The defense comes around a little in the second half, and the offense keeps rolling. Tyler Bray has a HUGE game.

Tennessee 45- NC State 34

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What Steve Said:

What do you get when you combine a defense that’s still trying to get comfortable in their new roles with an offense returning a good quarterback behind a veteran offensive line? If you’re the Wolfpack, the answer is “not enough.” David Amerson can cover most receivers in the country, but the Vols have two receivers who are tall enough that Tyler Bray will just have to throw the ball up toward the one he isn’t covering. Mix in Mychal Rivera and the passing game will be fine. Neither team impresses on the ground, but it won’t matter for Coach Derek Dooley, who will find that the “we’ve got things to work on” speech is a lot easier to give coming off a win.

Tennessee 30 – NC State – 27

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I am grateful for all the talking heads who want to extrapolate out a season’s worth of results from the outcome of Saturday’s games. It gives us something to discuss and argue about and generally occupy ourselves with until we can spend a few hours watching real football again next weekend. But conjecture is not the same as fact. To that end, let’s discuss a couple talking points that have been making the rounds and consider their merits.

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Mike does this for Tennessee, and in an odd reversal of real life, the Bama guy is going to try to emulate the Tennessee guy and point out the good, the bad and the ugly aspects of the Tide’s season opener in Dallas.

I want these to be balanced, but from this Bama fan’s perspective, there’s so much more good than bad (and ugly is a stretch at best).  So, with that said …

The Good

TJ Yeldon. The true freshman immediately lived up to his hype, ripping off a fourteen yard carry on his very first career touch. None of his subsequent carries failed to impress. In fact his shortest carry — a single yard — ended in six points.

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I usually wait for the full stats to come out to do these, but I am super pumped right now! The Vols went to Atlanta, and took care of busines.   Yo Georgia Dome! Suck it! Honestly I never even felt like that game was in Atlanta, what a glorious start to the season.  Was it perfect? No of course not, first games never are, but against a quality opponent, on a neutral field, that’s the best opening game for UT since Cal in 2006.

Oh and the last 1:18 of the first quarter? Best short stretch I’ve seen in a LONG time. That was incredible. Now the Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.

Mr. Bray looked like he did early last year, and that’s a good thing.

The Good:

Lots of things to like here: Cordarrelle Patterson, Tyler Bray, Justin Hunter, the front seven. Take your pick. Personally, I am going to go with the front 7. I expected the Vols to be able to move it through the air, and they did. Would it have been nice to see Da’Rick Rogers out there? Sure, three athletic freaks is better than two, but the Vols showed they’ll be ok in that department.

I loved what the front seven did. Mike Glennon was rattled a lot tonight, and even though the Vols didn’t get a lot of sacks, they put tons of pressure on Glennon. Daniel McCullers filled up the middle and allowed Jacques Smith, Curt Maggitt, and AJ Johnson to do there thing. Corey Miller got quality time. Dan Hood and Mo Couch were also disruptive. A shout-out to Couch in particular. He seemed to be everywhere tonight. I don’t know who the NC State center is, but I bet he is glad to be done with big Mo. It was truly a good performance by the Volunteer front seven, and with a new defensive scheme to boot! Yeah Glennon threw four picks and turned the ball over a fifth time, but the Prentiss Waggner pick was caused by serious pressure in Glennon’s face.

This young man put his time in this summer. I would give him a defensive game ball

 

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Former 3SiB contributor Patrick Bobo has a piece of short fiction he wrote on a lark earlier. Go to Rocky Top Talk to read it in it’s entirety but here’s a little teaser:

He continued, “Last night I received a vision! Hear me now! In my vision, there were packs of red wolves in the land. They were dark men — dark men with wolves emblazoned on their mail and wolves painted on their shields. They cared for nothing but havoc. Fangs bared, they sought and devoured all that they found. These red wolves were coming for what was mine and what was yours. Our families, our fortunes, our very birthright! They were a pestilence upon the land! The feeling overwhelmed me as I was in the throes of my vision: If we were to have any hope, these wolves must be eradicated, they must be destroyed!!!”