Good Day, Everyone,
It was a beautiful day in Knoxville for the Home Coming Game. There were dry, clear, and chilly game conditions for an early afternoon game. To me, that is ideal Football weather.
This was an unusual game that I know will drive Fans batty. North Texas really ran the clock on every play to shorten the game. Consider this they had the ball for 30:59 BUT they only had 14 first downs and less than 200 yards total offense. The Vols had the ball for 29:01 but we had 24 first downs and over 200 yards rushing. The Vols had over 400 yards of offense. While Josh was in the game the Vols had 8 possessions and scored 3 TD’s, 1 FG, 3 Punts, and one INT at the half. In the second half, the Vols had the ball two times in the 3rd QTR, the first was for two passes and one rush and a punt. The second was just before the 3rd QTR was ending and they carried the ball over into the 4th QTR to score a TD. At that point Dormady came into the game and ran the team. He was 3 for 5 passing.
The game was unusual in several ways. One was that there was only one turnover, the INT thrown at the End Zone by Dobbs at the end of the 1st half. Special teams play for the Vols was really outstanding. It was clear at the Kick Off that North Texas was not going to let Berry touch the ball on Kick Offs. Our punting kept North Texas on their end of the field. Their punting was also excellent. They were intent on keeping the Vols from returning both Kicks and Punts.
Look at this stat, North Texas had 10 possessions and only 14 1st Downs. They had only one possession in which they made three 1stDowns. That was in the 1st Half. They had three 3 & Out possessions and two possessions with two first downs and four possessions with only one 1st Down. Their longest running play was 16 yards, and their longest pass play was 15 yards. This points out that our defense was really tackling well, and when you combine that with their QB not completing 50% of his passes our pass coverage was also good.
While Josh had a good game passing with over 66% completions: however, he was very inconsistent with his delivery of the ball when he missed the receiver. His misses were really “misses”. He did not complete any of his long passes and neither did Dormady. I thought that Josh Smith was hit early on that long pass. We were 7 of 16 on 3rd Down Conversions which is very good and 3 for 3 on 4th Down which is excellent.
In our game and several others that I saw yesterday, it was interesting that replays often showed early hits/holds by defensive players on long sideline passes and in one case a face mask that was not called. It appeared that the officials were too far behind the play to see the penalties and make the needed calls.
The Vol OL play was good and bad. The Vols had an average running play of 4.9 yards per rush, but we gave up 6 tackles for loss including two sacks. The North Texas defense did their best defense on our wide run and pass plays.
At this point in the Vol’s season we need to look at several points. First, we are Bowl eligible and that will really help the Vols in their preparations for next year’s season. Next, we did not have any “new” injuries in this game. Look at our schedule; we have played tough against some very tough teams in BAMA, RAZORBACKS, GATORS, AND OKLAHOMA. They are all winning against tough competition. Bowling Green is rolling and will be in a Bowl as well.
My last note is that we have two really tough defensive teams coming up in the next two weeks with Mizzou and Vandy. Both teams have gotten their wins this year on the backs of their defenses. Both teams are having tough seasons and a win against the Vols would be a bright spot in their year. On that note I think two things, one that Butch and the Vol staff have geared back the offense the past few games to rest some players and allow them to heal a bit. Dobbs and Hurd are the primary benefactors for that plan. That also allows for “fresh legs” for the last two games. Second, I believe that just like Johnny and Phil, Butch and his staff have shown some offensive tendencies to defensive teams. On third and 5 from this set, we run this play. From these formations, the Vols “always” run these pass routes. Those teams will prepare and plan to counter those “tendencies”. They will base their defensive calls upon those plans. I believe that we will see some “surprising” offensive plays against Mizzou and Vandy that do not follow “Our Tendencies.”
Time to go, Keep the Faith, Pray for the Fallen in France and Our Servicemen.
Go Vols!! Beat Mizzou!!