Good Morning, Everyone,
I was a sad Vol Fan on Saturday night. Young guys stepped up and played some of their best football, but they made too many mistakes and a more experienced Kentucky team got a huge monkey off their back by beating the Vols in the final minute of the game.
In many ways the team did play better on both sides of the ball.
On defense, the Def Ends did not generate a pass rush nor play contain on runs. LB’s had real problems on the running plays.
On offense, the OT’s did not handle the KY edge rush at all. I think our QB play was better. He is a tough kid with some talent. He is still learning and taking sacks by holding the ball too long.
I liked our running game it seemed that every back we played contributed some tough runs and showed some talent and potential to get even better as their time as a Vol grows. That is one area that is extremely well coached. The OL blocks much better on running plays. It was really nice to see Jeff George make some big plays as a receiver. I liked the QB under center inside the 5-yard line and some other times. The Secondary played well in pass defense and in run support. That is another area where the Vols are extremely well coached. The defense forced turnovers to stop Kentucky drives.
I would like to see a lineman used as a TE/Slotback for Orange Zone running plays rather than the smaller TE’s. In those situations, I feel that we need some beef for blocking and power to improve that Orange Zone offensive production.
I still have not figured out how the refs decided to call two entire teams for unsportsmanlike conduct penalties. As the game progressed it hurt the Vols much more than the Wildcats when they lost Bituli and in the second half Gaulden. That rests on them for their lack of discipline in responding to the Kentucky players provocation. We could have used them in the 4th QTR. I feel that both could have been factors in the last Kentucky drive.
The kid I feel for the most is the Kicker with those two close misses during the game. He has the leg.
With all the pressure that Butch is under this year, it must have been tempting to call his coaches and individual players out for mistakes in these close losses. The “Media” has repeatedly tried to get him to do that in both postgame interviews and in his weekly press conferences. It must really frustrate them that he does not do that in response to their “loaded / no win” questions. If he did give them the responses they want, they would attack him for throwing his players/coaches under the bus.
This weekend, the Vols are favored for the first time since the UMASS game. This is not one of the Southern Miss teams from years back. They do not have the numbers of great players of some of their storied teams, but they will be tough. The Wildcats used the things that GA – Florida – Bama used to beat the Vols on offense and defense. There were repeated holes/weaknesses in execution on both sides of the ball in all those games. The goal for the Vols this week must be to repair those holes and flaws in execution to prepare for Mizzou/ LSU/ Vandy.
Go Vols! Beat Southern Miss!!