Good Day, My Friends,
What a game and despite the Vol’s loss the Sun came up this morning. I was worn out when the game ended, and I know the players were also drained both physically and emotionally. I was really impressed with the players that represented the team in the postgame press conference. They were beat up and at times it seemed that we would need a Medivac to carry the team back to Knoxville. We hope that O’Brian’s injury is not long term serious.
The Vol Defense gave up a bunch of yards but forced the Aggies to punt 10 times. Looking at the stat line after the game. The keys to the Aggies offense were a short field due to Vol turnovers and big plays. The Aggies had 3 runs over 22 yards and 4 pass receptions over 24 yards. Their speed really was apparent when they were able to get into the open. Most of their long plays were a result of missed tackles rather than great execution by the Aggies. We need to create more turnovers. We had 18 players make tackles on defense and I think every DL player for the Vols had a tackle.
It seems that our DB’s have a pattern of getting behind WR’s and getting Pass Interference penalties. As I re-watched the game, I was more than a bit disturbed to see during the entire game the amount of contact the Aggie DB’s were allowed to make with the Vol WR/TE’s on short routes with no penalties called. To my eyes they were regularly making contact before the ball arrived and pulling on arms, etc. Less contact by Vol DB’s resulted in penalty. A positive for the DB’s was that the 2 Aggies passing TD’s were for 13 and 2 yards. Giving up no long TD passes was nice.
The Vol Offense had a huge day in every way against one of the top defenses in the SEC. The only negative in the list of “HUGES” was that the Vols had 7 Turnovers. Over half of the Aggies points were the results of those turnovers. Several of the Aggies takeaways were the result of really good defensive plays by the Aggie Defenders. Some turnovers were caused by Vols trying to make a play and not securing the ball. Some turnovers were just poor execution by the Vol Offense and players. Josh did not have a good game for ball security He had a role in four of the seven turnovers and took potential game winning points off the board.
The guys that came off the bench for the Vols played well on both offense and defense. Byrd and Kelly really stepped up on offense with their best games.
Special Teams played well except for Berry’s fumble and unnecessary penalties. One point on that, that fumble was caused in part by helmet to helmet contact by the Aggie tackler. Later in the game Warrior was ejected from the game for a block that had much less contact and no helmet to helmet contact. It is a concern that this was the second game that Warrior had a blocking penalty that negated a long return.
The Vols have been one of the least penalized teams in the NCAA since Butch’s arrival. The past three games they have destroyed that trend. The penalties on players that have been around for a while are especially disturbing. Many of the Aggies first down were set up by penalties that gave them short yardage situations.
Last week the Vols were able to control the field position. This week the Aggie Offense was aided by penalties and was able to flip the field time after time and put Vols deep in the field position hole. The Aggies only had two drives for TD’s that were not aided by Vol Turnovers or by penalties. One was the long TD run by the Aggie QB.
Despite the negatives for the Vols, we nearly won the game on the road in front of over 106000 Aggie Fans.
Now it is the Third Saturday in October and the #1 Ranked Crimson Tide is coming to Knoxville next Saturday. That will be a tall order for the Vols. The Tide appears to be more talented than the Aggies. We will have to play our best game of the year to be competitive in this game.
On a related note, the weather is beautiful in Gainesville, Florida today, but the Gators are still worried that a Hurricane might come in from Louisiana and disturb their weekend so they cannot play today. They are really concerned about the safety of their players and fans.
Go Vols! Beat the Tide!