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Good Morning, My Friends,

A painful loss to the Gators yesterday.  It was especially painful because we played so well for so much of the game but failed to meet the standards that the General’s Maxims set for the Vols.  Despite the pain of the loss, the sun came up today and the world did not come to an end.   These notes will be short and to the point.

Turnovers, the three Interceptions were costly.  They cost the Vols points and in one case gave the Gators a score that set up their winning margin.   We had penalties that cost the Vols field position and points and set the Gators up for their winning play.   Multiple errors in the kicking game with three missed field goals and a coverage foil-up.  Penalties made kicks longer then they should have been.

The Vols had exceptional play from several players.  John Kelly had a great day except for his penalty after his tying score.  The coaches made some exceptional play calls on offense and some bad ones.  In my opinion, we threw the ball too much in the Orange Zone and it did not work.   That was on a day when John Kelly was running over the Gators all day.  First down on the one, run the ball three times, pound the defense.  Take a FG if they can stop you.  

On the last play, three things caught my eye.  First the CB dropped off the WR at 20 to 30 yards.  He should have stayed with the WR.  He was probably playing a Zone concept and was preparing to cover a run or a pass on a crossing pattern under the secondary.   Secondly, the DE on the QB’s right took a deep rush that took him past the QB and created a lane that allowed the QB to easily escape the pocket and roll out under him.  Secondly, the safety took several steps toward the QB, probably thinking that he was going to run to set up the FG.    That allowed the WR to get behind him and make the catch that won the game for the Gators.  A couple of steps here and a couple of steps there made the difference.

Understand that the Gators have a great kicker and had a timeout.  They could have won the game with a long field goal.  The defense had to prevent a pass or run to set up the FG as well as a Hail Mary Play.  That is not an easy call in either case let alone covering both options.

I saw so much to like on offense and defense for the Vols in this game.  The team has improved on both sides of the ball. but their individual errors on both sides of the ball thru the entire game cost the Vols the win.

The Vols have a couple of weeks to get ready for the Dawgs.  We need to shake off the loss and get on with the rest of the season.  We need to remember that in the SEC the Division winners have a loss more often than not.  I thought when the season started that the Vols had the potential to win every game with some breaks, but that was not the probability for the season’s record.  The possibility is still out there for the Best Vol season since Phil’s years. 

Go Vols!

TnBill

UPDATE: Mid-Week

Good Day, My Friends,

A few Mid-Week Notes about last week and this weekend’s game.   I watched the Florida game again just to see if I was right/wrong in my initial analysis of the Vols’ play.  I also watched UMASS play.

Re-watching the game reminded me again that Football is a “Team Game”.  One player on either side of the ball can make a mistake and the team can fail.

On the OL, we have had several penalties on Jack Jones in the past two games.  Our center cannot see the QB, Jack can.  He watches the QB and when the QB is ready he taps the Center to snap the ball.  That is a common practice at all levels.  This is Jashon’s first year at center.  He is snapping the ball almost immediately after Jack taps him.  Jack has to have been set when the ball is snapped.  Jack’s move to tap him is “Motion” if the center snaps the ball too quickly.   At Neyland it is not much of a problem, but on the road near the End Zone it is a real problem with the crowd noise.  We saw that at Florida.  It is a “timing issue.”

Florida did not have a “Running QB” but in passing situations when the WR’s would pull the secondary downfield, he was able to run successfully on both sides of the DL when both Kongbo and Taylor’s pass rush took them past him and created a gap in the DL’s contain.  Kyle Phillips did the best job of maintaining the edge contain.  This concerns me because every SEC team we play has QB’s that will do that.  Bad things happen when the QB is able to break contain.

A couple of the Gators biggest pass plays were the result of the Vol DB playing the ball but not the WR.  When they did not make the INT or Pass Breakup, the Gator WR made the play.  I like the aggressiveness but question the judgement.

John Kelly is the real deal.  He is not the biggest nor the fastest RB in the SEC but he may be the best.  He is the Vol’s leading receiver.   My one concern is that in every game this year he has had drops on passes when he is open.  He may be thinking about the run too much before he finishes making the catch.  It happens at every level and even with All Pro WR’s and RB’s.

This week the Vols are playing UMASS.  They have not had much success the past few years and this year is no exception.  They are not a “Good” Football team. And I do not think that they are as good as Indiana State.  They throw the ball a lot, and their QB is their best player.

I expect the game to be managed by Butch and the Vol Staff a lot like an NFL Pre-Season Game.  Work on things, give lots of kids playing time, work the starters some but not too much.   If a player is healthy and does not play in this game, we should be able to put “Red Shirt” by their name on the roster.  For the kids that are getting their chance to play, it will be about their timing, fundamentals, and play execution at their position. 

If we had Louisville’s coach, the starters would play 4 QTR’s and pile up points and stats, especially following a loss.  I think that Butch and his staff are concerned about improving both the team and individuals on both sides of the ball.  The coaches see kids make mistakes in practice every day.  This game will allow them to see if those mistakes are either corrected or are continued in a game.  They hope both for good play and for consistency.

Have a great week and support the Vols!   

Go Vols, beat UMASS!!

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