Good Day, My Friends,
Well, it is “Florida Week” and the Gators are coming to town. A new coach but they are the same old Gators, they are still the same team that all Vol Fans love to hate.
These notes are a little later than normal due to several factors that revolved around my chores at home, but mostly around re-looking at the Vol’s last two games and the Gators last two games.
On the Vols win over UTEP, in my opinion, the Vols made progress in all areas of the game as a team. The only downside was that there were a multitude of individual errors that set the team back. If there was a game that proved the Old Coaches Maxim “It only takes one player not doing his job to mess up a play!” the UTEP game was that game. It was especially true on the offensive side of the ball. On defense each of the UTEP big gain plays came because a Vol defender did not maintain contain on the QB or RB. But the Secondary made the stops downfield. On Offense, the Vols showed that they could move the ball passing and running when the OL was in step. A sign of the team’s progress was that the DL and LB’s with the Nickle Back were the leading tacklers even without Gooden and Tuttle having big days for stats.
The upside of the multitude of errors against UTEP was that they were in a game that the Vols won and that the coaches had a week on practice to address and hopefully correct these problems. How many times have we seen a young team win a blowout over a bad team and follow that with a sloppy loss to a team they should have beaten because they did not focus on improving and getting better as individuals and as a team? Too many times, too many times!\
Looking at the Gators, they have talented players and speed at the skill positions. Their Special Teams returners are “Special”. They have many of the same problems the Vols have. They are inconsistent. They have scored in every phase of the game. In fact, their defensive and special teams scores have been keys to their wins in each of their games. They were manhandled at home in their first two games on the line of scrimmage. They gave up over two hundred yards rushing while winning in game one, and they gave up over three hundred yards rushing to Kentucky in their loss. In both games they turned turnovers and special teams plays into points. On offense, despite have several good RB’s they throw the ball a bunch with a strong armed but inconsistent QB. Their “Big Plays” seem to happen just as they did last year to the Vols, when the QB breaks contain and is running around and the DB’s start looking at him and lose coverage on the WR’s.
To me the key to a Vol Win is relatively simple but the devil is in the details of execution. Make Special Teams plays. Run the ball. Win the turnover battle, and better yet have NO TURNOVERS. Make tackles. Especially on the sideline on those swing passes and bubble screens. The DB’s must maintain cover on the WR’s when they go deep. The Safeties will have opportunities to make plays on long balls if they play the ball. Score TD’s in the Orange Zone! No Penalties!
The DL and the OL will drive the victory. The DL must contain the RB/QB runs and tackle the QB when he is passing. The OL must not miss blocks and give the Gators easy sacks and TFL on running plays. The Gators gave up long runs to QB’s in all three games.
I guess in summary, if the Vols have had a good week of practice and do not beat their self, I expect a Vol win in a Dog Fight before a wild crowd. One last note, this QB has not had a good day on the road, we need to give him another bad experience in Knoxville.
Go Vols! Beat those Gators!!