Good Day, Everyone,
I have been going to Vol Games for over 30 years. The Crowd at Neyland last Saturday was the best that I have seen. They were early, they were loud, and they stayed to the end of the game. What an experience as a fan. The game left me drained the way that the Ga game did years ago when Richt got his first “Big Win” on a last second TD.
There are several points to consider. Our WR’s did O.K. but we missed Josh and Von. They have more size and speed than their replacements. They also make yards after catching the ball and contact. We had some dropped balls, but a more common problem that hurt the Vols in this game were the catches on 3rd Down that were short of the 1st Down Flag.
The Gators had an extra week to prepare. Their Coach was/is a really good defensive coordinator. Teams have blitzed us successfully and we have handled it in earlier games by passing into screens and quick outs. The Gator DB’s played up on our guys and the safety’s closed. They were all over those plays for little or no gain. This contributed to the sacks when Worley held the ball hoping for a WR to get open and in the second half we did scatter and get behind the press coverage for first down catches.
Their defensive strength was their DL and LB’s. Based upon our tendencies they set their blitz on the strong side to come into Worley’s face to keep him from having a clean pass on a short drop to the side of the play. On short plays they would send a Safety or LB from the back side as well to overload the blockers on both sides of the ball. On the sack that caused Worley to fumble, the TE on that side went out on a delay route into the flat and did not block the Safety.
Folks say that “Worley Never Sees Blitzes”. Seeing the blitz is one thing, the QB being able to handle them depends upon the other players also seeing them and reacting properly with their blocking and route running. If the blockers are outnumbered, the receivers have to carry the moment.
On all of the deep throws there was always a Safety and DB on the receiver. It was clear to me that the Bama WR’s taught them a painful lesson.
Our kicking game was ready and delivered in all phases of the game.
One last point on offensive lines and blocking; I saw OJ and USC play Miami and Ted Hendrics at LA in their National Championship Year. I saw Nebraska play at Mizzou in one of their championship years. I have seen Bama in their championship years and this year Miss State play several times. The Bulldogs are typical of those teams. Their OL and DL bulldoze the other team on and past the line. These Bulldog lines have no players higher rated coming out of High School than the Vols players, but they have been under the same coaches and have been developing/ growing/ learning as a team for the past five years. Those teams may play a freshman in a game, but they did not have Freshman Starters on the line. We not only have only one returning OL starter (5 or 6 games), we have four starters who changed positions to try and make the OL as good as we could play. And two are true Freshman… on that point playing five games educates a player it does not make them a year better/stronger/ etc.
I cannot believe that we have Fans that are calling for the Vols to play 5 new OL starters, all freshmen next year. On that point, the Bulldog QB appears to be a strong contender for All American honors. He had some tough games early in his career and has grown with more experience and practice. Give our guys that are backups a chance.
Our defense continues to improve every week. We have players there and they are improving.
On to UT Chattanooga this weekend. Be there, be loud and be proud.