Good Day, My Friends,
Today it is a beautiful Fall day in Tennessee. It is a cold, crisp day with clear blue skies. Not at all like the day that the Vol football team faced yesterday in Columbia, Missouri. It was very cold and windy, with no sun to brighten the game scene. In part last night’s game was more than a bit “Old School”, if Butch had “Quick Kicked” on 3rd Down once you could truly say, “The General coached this one…”
Given the weather, field position was really important. The General’s maxims and game concepts started with the kicking game and field position. The Vols won that part of the game hands down in all aspects of the kicking game. Mizzou had terrible field position after every punt and kickoff due to great coverage team play as well as really great kicking. Our return game put the offense in good position to start each possession. Why is this so important? Because the further the other team has to go to score the greater your opportunity is to create/exploit mistakes by their offense. Our defense really took advantage of that last night. Look at Mizzou’s 3rd Down conversions and turnovers.
A look at the Stats shows how the game went. Mizzou Total Offense: 223 Total Yards; 88 Yards Rushing, 135 Yards Passing (44 in one play); 2 of 15 on 3rd Down. 3.8 Yards per play. Only 10 First Downs. The Vol defense controlled the game. A long scoring drive can take 6 or more first downs… that is one reason Mizzou only had one score.
On the Vol Offense: 19 First Downs, 4.4 Yards per play; 248 yards rushing (4.9 per rush). This was against a National Top 5 Defense at their place, on Senior Day, and on their Coach’s last game. Our time of possession was 36.18 to 23.42. We should note that last week, one of the reasons that the Vols Offense did not have “great numbers” was that the North Texas team ran the clock and slowed the game down to shorten the game. Mizzou did not do that to the Vols.
Some fans are complaining about this game because we did not pass the ball enough, especially in the second half. We won the game. I complained in several games we lost that we did run the ball enough in the second half and gave the other team time to score the winning points. I believe that you should pick based upon your desired results rather than your desired stats.
The Vols had 51 rushes for an average of 4.9 yards per rush. That led to 248 yards rushing. A lot and in my mind MOST Fans forget that with good players Rushing is like Passing, your success is based upon repetition. Teams do not abandon a Passing Game with one incompletion, you throw the ball again. Success in the rushing game is even more dependent upon repetition. Great Running Teams win Championships and they tell you that they are going to run the ball…saying, “STOP US!”. In their games the RB’s cannot be stopped and they mash the defenses. Down and distance do not matter to them. They will run the ball. Defenses wilt in those games.
At this point, let me say that the Vols are not there …YET. I believe that they are putting those pieces in place and are moving in that direction. When you run the ball 51 times for 4.9 per rush you are in high cotton. You can run the ball twice for small gains and bust one for the 1st Down. Think about two incompletions and a completion for 10 yards for a First Down. Running is like Passing, you do not abandon that part of your game because it does not work once or twice.
When the Vols “get there” we will see the Vols with a lead in the 4th QTR drive the ball down the field by only running the ball and run the clock out inside the 5 yard line…
One Point that we have not addressed; TURNOVERS. Look at runs versus receptions. A run is a run. A pass is a reception and a run. If the receiver catches the ball they still have to hold it. Very few running plays are broken up on the handoff, most passes are completed at lower than 66 %. Play for play fewer turnovers on running plays… balance that with the “POTENTIAL” of more yards per “Successful “plays. When you look at 33% of passes for NO Yards a solid running game offers a lot to an offense...look at Bama.
Given the whole picture, great game plan by the both the Vol Staff and Butch. A lot of the “Talking Heads” had Mizzou as the winner of the game last night. HA!!
On to next week…..VANDY!! This is short of short and (IN My Mind) Sweet. Vandy is a lot like Mizzou, but not as good on offense. One, this game is at “OUR PLACE” and on “SENIOR DAY” and that will mean a lot to the members of this team. Two, the Vols are a lot like Texas A&M when you look at Offensive talent. Three, I watched Vandy against Texas A&M. It was clear to me that John Chavis has not forgotten his “ROOTS”. He is still a “VOL” at heart. Yesterday his A&M Defense should have been dressed in Orange. They played like they were VOLS in Knoxville. He gave the Vol Defense a map to bottle the Vandy Offense. A&M’s defense hung Vandy’s Offense out to dry at their place on their Senior Day. Based upon this year’s games, I think that the Vol’s have a better defense than John Chavis ’ defense at Texas A&M and that the Vols can have some “Fun” next week … unless they read their press clippings. I do not think that butch and his staff will let the Vols take Vandy “forgranted”. Why?? Because I really believe that Butch and his staff have embraced the “Vol Traditions” and letting Vandy beat UT is not ACCEPTABLE!!
HAPPY THANKSGIVING!! Let’s take a brief look at Vol Men’s Basket ball. I like this team. They lost to Ga Tech because they missed critical Free Throws late in the game to lose to GA Tech in Atlanta. They are team of “RUNS”. Because of this they are a “BIT” streaky in their shooting and maybe in their defense… BUT this team does not quit and is tough at the end of a game both on Offense and on Defense. I have loved the way that they closed out their last two games. I really like that Barnes has told them to “SHOOT THE BALL”. He does not pull kids for misses and these kids can shoot. When one of them is Hot… WOW they are “HOT”. The last two games are really examples of this. They are playing to their strong points and to minimize their lack of size. I think that they can beat ANYONE they play if they are shooting well.
Related to the above, when the Offense is “HOT” the defense tends to be “HOT” as well. This is a very “Streaky” team. Really good or really bad for several periods during a game.
The Lady Vols are playing a really tough opening agenda. It is clear that Holly is working to the end of the year. Defense, Teamwork, and Execution are the goals of their games. Wins at the end of the season come from these things. The talent is there. They are working on rotation
and team work. When they are “ON” they are as good as any team I have seen in orange.