Good Day, My Friends,

I took a bit of time on these notes.  I listened to Doug Mathews on Sunday Morning and then watched the Jeremy Pruitt Show.  A TV Guy, Jeremy is not at all, but for his show he is seeing film on some plays for the first time.  It is almost like being in a post-game meeting watching film with him.  I really like that.  It does not take long to learn what he likes and does not like about a play.   He is not as “Blunt” about calling out players as Johnny Majors, but you know when he is not happy about what a player or players did or did not do on a play., The “Devil is in the Details!” and he is very detailed oriented on both sides of the ball.  Based upon his sideline demeanor, I imagine that in the meeting rooms that he is a “spirited” commentator.

An aside on past team the Vols have played.  Both WVU and the Gators are showing that they are better teams then the “Experts” rated them.  I expect WVU to move into the Top 10 and the Big 12 to be between them and Oklahoma.  The Gators may surprise some folks in the SEC East as well.

Looking at the game.  The Vols played much better on both sides of the ball then they did against the Gators.   Two things that watching the game again made clear, first the Vols played a lot of kids that were not starters, and they came into the game in both halves of the game.  At one point the vols had two Soph TE’s in the game, One Soph OL (Trey) and FOUR FRESHMEN OL.  They got a first down!   The Kids are there!  It is getting the details down to make thing work!   Look at Kentucky, they average over 3 years playing.  Almost 4 years playing experience per player on BOTH Sides of the Ball for their starters.

There are things that I saw that I believe will be worked upon in the layoff.  

First items to be addressed on Offense, TE Blocking.  They have problems. The #1 Problem is based upon the play call is blocking the wrong guy. They often help block a player that another OL is blocking and that leaves their guy unblocked to make the play.  They go after a guy to the left or right and as a result they give the defender in the Hole an open shot at the RB or QB.  On several running play to the left the TE went to block a LB on the inside and left the DB/Safety on the outside unblocked to make the play for a loss.   Note: the RB was already past the LB and the DB was the only guy to keep him in the backfield for a loss on the run. That is a major cause of lost yardage plays on running plays to the left.  The #2 Problem is Not blocking anyone, and this happens when they are acting as the FB or Slot Blocker.  They are the lead Blocker. they do not block the defender in the HOLE!   That is really bad news on short yardage plays, when your RB SHOULD BE ABLE TO FOLLOW THEIR BLOCKER TO THE END ZONE OR FIRST DOWN!!  The # 3 Problem is the Center and Guard Blocking assignments.  The LG – C – RG blocking assignments have caused several sacks, a lot of QB pressures, as well as losses on running plays.  It is simple.  When you have three Soph or one Soph and two Freshmen at those three positions, they get their signals mixed up.  BAD NEWS!  A defender comes thru the gap and runs a play down from behind.  On over two plays the last two games, the Vol Center has “helped out’ to the left or right and a defender on a “Delayed Blitz”.   In the last two games defender have ran down RB’s for the back going to both the left and the right, on Offense the #1 Overall Issue to me in blocking on the line and downfield.  The rest of the details on Offense are just getting guys to catch the ball and not fumble.   On Offense, the Vols will go as far as the players go in development.   If they really grow fast, the Vols will get GOOD FAST!   If they have problems as individuals or as a team, it will be “painful” at times.  One thing that I believe, this Vol Team will not quit!!

The items that I believe are to be addressed on defense are bit more complex.  The items to be addressed:  Item #1: The Vols are playing a 3 -4 Front.  The 2 Outside LB’s must be able to rush the passer and handle the run, ours handle those job tasks better each game. HOWEVER, they must also be “Pass Defenders”.  Teams are attacking the Vol Defense by making the two outside LB’s more Pass Defenders.  Kongo is being attacked by crossing WR’s and RB’s from the backfield.   That is also the issue with the other OLB on RB’s crossing in underneath routes.  When we are in the “Nickle” they also attack with the “Crossing Routes” after the WR’s have gone deep.  We are late on attacking the crossing WR/RB and let them ahead of the coverage.   Really none of our 4 best LB’s are good pass coverage guys.  They do not have talent now that for the Zone Scheme that most 3 – 4 teams use to cover “Pass Defense” down.  They may have the “Talent”, but the year will show if these kids can produce the desired results expected in the SEC for this defense. 

Item #2: With the Vols, it is all “Man” and they are being BIT!  Our defensive guys are #1 Pass Rushers.  #2 Run Stoppers, and #3 Pass Defenders.  They need to improve in # 3 first and #2 next.  Even the “Nickle Back” does not provide tight coverage, and he is chasing the WR /RB across the field.   In the good 3 -4 Teams they create turnovers in pass coverage in crossing routes. We are not doing that.  The #2 Item to be addressed on defense is “Tackling”. In the last two games the Vol “Front Three” have regularly made contact and had arms on ball carriers the line of scrimmage and their tackles were broken.  I will give you that in WVU, GA, and the Gators we have faced some talent RB’s / WR’s; HOWEVER, if the Vols are to go to the next level as a defense, they must make those tackles and cover those folks as receivers…

Item #3: Safety Play. We have talented Safeties.  They do not react to the play rapidly enough, if they are in the middle of the field and the play is going to the sideline, they are chasing to the play.  They do not react quickly enough to either intercept not break up the pass on the sideline.  At best, they MAY BE ABLE to tackle the WR/RB.  That is not good enough.  Teams need to be afraid to throw deep on the Vols and at this point that is not the rule.  The talent and speed are there, but the experience is not there.  That will come this year!!

Summing this up for my notes, if the Vols had not made any mistakes in fundamentals and had executed the past two games they could have won those games.  At this point, the next two teams the Vols will face are the most talented that we will face.  Maybe the not the best of teams in Auburn’s case, but they are talented and FAST.   Bama is BAMA!!  That is enough said at this point of the year.     

This is a bit long but there was a lot to be addressed.  I hope that we enjoy the growth of this Viol Team!!  Enjoy the off week, watch some Football! and get ready for Auburn!!

Go Vols!!  Beat Auburn!!



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