Good Morning, My Friends,
It is a beautiful day and the Vols are preparing for Home Coming after a tough loss to the Gamecocks last Saturday in Columbia. What a game. A tough loss for this young team. I took my time looking back at the game and I want to share my observations with you.
First, I think this team is improving every game in the areas that they have the player resources to improve with. Second, the overall cause of the loss was the lack of depth, experience, and strength on the Vol team on both sides of the ball. Third, the SEC REF crew did not have a good day with both missed plays and bad calls on both sides of the ball.
On defense. when the Gamecocks went to two TE’s and the run game they wore the Vols out as the game went on. Look at the tackle chart. The three leading tacklers were Safeties followed by ONE DL K. Phillips. Kyle played a “Hell of a Game!” On the long passes the SC QB had time and their tall WR was going against smaller DB’s with no safety help back because everyone was up to stop the run. Those long pass plays set up scores and flipped the field in the favor of SC. In the 4th QTR our defensive front was gassed and could not generate the pass rush that they had in the first half. The LB’s and the DL (other than Phillips) had too many missed/broken tackles and allowed too many yards after contact for the Gamecock ball carriers RB’s/WR’s/ QB.
On offense, the Vols are getting better and adding new options every week. Fils-Amee did what he did in high school, turn on the speed and head for the hole. The “New OL” has talent but their lack of game experience contributed to many penalties (9 for 75 Yards). Add the offensive players responding to Gamecocks “chippy” behavior after the whistle that resulted in Personal Fouls and the Vols themselves killed some of their drives and kept points off the scoreboard. The Vols did not turn the ball over!!! The RB’s averaged over 4 YPC and made critical runs in the scoring drives picking up first downs.
Overall, the penalties killing drives contributed more to the Vol loss then the defensive problems. First, if those stalled drives resulted in points the Vols outscore the Gamecocks. Second, the longer drives would have kept the Vol defense on the bench longer and given them better legs at the end of the game. Little things that you do wrong over a game quickly add up to a loss.
This is another big week for the Vols. The Home Coming game, if there are no injuries in the game, will be almost another “Off Week” with an opportunity for the young players to get more game experience. They will need it in the next month. Both Vandy and Kentucky are on a roll, improving, and looking “Salty” on defense. Mizzou looks better on defense as well. I am glad we have the Wildcats and Mizzou at home. All three teams have QB’s that can give defenses real problems. We are in for an exciting month of Football. I hope not a painful one.
My last note for the day, Vol basketball opens this week. They are ranked the highest in the national pre-season polls since Pearl’s years. If you have a question about the esteem that the Vols are held in by the media all you must do is look at their schedule and TV coverage. You all should know that I do not miss a Vol Basketball game going to the radio if there is no TV coverage. This is the FIRST YEAR in my memory that EVERY Vol basketball game before the SEC schedule begins is being televised. All SEC basketball games are televised. That is a real boost for the program and helps recruiting. This team looks better than last year with more experience and depth than last year.
Time to go Remember, getting to a Bowl is important for both recruiting and more so for current player development!
Go Vols! Beat Charlotte!