Good Day, Folks,
Well, Bama Week has come and gone. It was a great day for College Football. The weather, the crowd, and the game environment were ideal in all ways other than the Vols losing the game. I take that back, there was one thing that was upsetting to me as a Vol Fan. With all the carping that happens each year about contributions and ticket prices from “Long Time Season Ticket Holders” it is at games like this last weekend that you see who will show up for games and really support the team and who is concerned about their profit margin when they scalp their tickets. I would bet that there were well over 12000 Bama Fans that paid $200(+) each for prime tickets. They were good fans and well behaved as a rule but I had rather had some “Semi-Rowdy” Vol Fans in those seats.
On to the game, Dobbs played his best game as a Vol. Made some mistakes, but he made some plays. He also allowed others to make plays. He is quicker and faster than Worley and when the pass was not open he was able to escape Bama’s pressure much better than either Worley or Peterman. That resulted in fewer lost yards and better down and distance on subsequent downs.
The OL played a better game in part because they had more chances to attack on more running plays. Even with the huge Bama lead the Vols had an almost 2:1 run to pass ratio. The past few games were closer to 2:1 pass to run. Credit Dobbs presence for that. When you look at their pass blocking it was not much better but with Dobbs breaking defensive contain the results were not as bad.
The RB’s, TE’s, and WR’s all had good plays against the best defense that we should or will face for the rest of the year. Kicking was solid against one of the best Special Teams Unit in the SEC year in and year out. The ”New Guys” did well.
The fans handled Kiffin as well as could be expected. He was not warmly welcomed but they were more concerned about the game’s progress than him. He was not allowed to be the center of attention. That pleased me.
During the entire game, Bama (Kiffin) tried to disrupt the Vol Defense by sending in players late. I think this was done by design. It disrupted the Vol’s adjustments to the Bama formations. One reason the Vols have done so well on first down and 3rd down defense is their preparation for the games. They make good play calls prior to the snap. A last second entry onto the field changes their sets and ripples into our alignments. Butch was all over the refs about this during the game. I know that it set up their first score. This defense did not quit nor blink. They played the entire game. The offense helped them by holding the ball and staying in the time of possession race for the game.
Both teams took care of the ball, but I will say that Dobbs had the most spectacular Fumble that I have seen. It looked like a basketball game’s center court tossup.
Pig Howard gets an “Atta Boy!!” for his first TD. Wolf gets one for some great contested catches as does North. Wasn’t it great to see the Senior Lane nearly break a really long TD run!!
Bama on offense was running a 2 TE OL line set with 2 WR’s. Their RB’s, running out of an “I”, are not only BIG but FAST. When they get in the open field as a rule they are gone. With the strong line on both sides of the center they force the defense to spread and cover the entire middle of the field BUT it is a THIN LINE of defenders. The DB’s and Safeties are over on the sidelines. Lots of 3 – 4 – 5 yard runs, but one missed tackle and it is off to the races for the RB! TD!! Except for the best play of the game! Cam Sutton came off the sideline to tackle Fowler in the middle of the field after a 20 yard run and knock the ball out of his arms on the one to save a TD!! WOW!!!
This crowd stayed for the game. They roared! Very few left early and while it was quiet at the end of the game the spirit was there. “Rocky Top” was being sung.
As I said last week, I feel that the Vols can win the next four games. The Gamecocks in Columbia will be an early test for the Home Stretch Games. Butch uses “Coach Speak” and drives some Fans and the Press crazy. He will not say what he is going to do nor will he lay out his game plans at press conferences. Coaches like to be flexible but they also do not want to make it easy for the other team to pick up their optional priorities.
How many good and great coaches have we seen that hold a play on offense or defense during a season for just the right moment in a critical game? Coach Cut would spend a game (still does) setting a defense up for a “Big Play coming Out of the Blue.” I think that Butch does that. The thing about that, sometimes they work and sometimes they do not.
Time to go.
Go Vols!! Get those Gamecocks!