Good Day Folks,
This one hurts. The only games I can compare this game to are the Florida Game last year and the game with Georgia years ago in Mark Richts’ early years when we lost on a last minute TD over the middle into the end zone.
A start of the potential problem was in the 2d QTR the use of a Time Out when the Gators had the ball on 4th down. They went for it and made it. No score resulted that time. That was to be repeated in the 3rd QTR again on a 4th down and lead to a Gator TD. The Gators were setting up for a FG when Butch called the TO. That would have worked for us because if the Gators made the FG they would still have needed two scores to tie us.
In the 4th QTR the Vols had a great drive and seemed to have put the game away with a TD by Hurd with 10:19 on the game clock. At this point, I do not know what was in the mind of the VOL coaches on defense or offense. Florida threw to Powell a RB and McGee a TE for repeated 1st Downs, twice on 4th down leading to Gator TD’s. On these plays they were covered by LB’s. One pass breakup on 4th down wins the game. There were none. The Gators just like Oklahoma was better on 4th down than on 3rd down. McGee was open on the defenses left side and Powell was open on crossing routes coming from the defense left side back to the right. McGee 5 rec/ 57 yds; Powell 5 rec/ 64 yds. These were for repeated 1st downs leading to the last Gator TD’s. Powell set up two Gator TD’s on the same play.
Defensive problems in the 4th QTR, not enough pressure on the Gator QB on passing downs and not enough passes defended. No turnovers by the defense.
After the Hurd TD the Gator defense was gassed. Their long scoring drives on their next two drives enabled their defense to get their legs back. Their long TD drive actually took over twenty minutes because of the Time Outs and injury clock stoppages. It was funny to me that the Gators seemed to have some very timely cramps and dings in the 4th QTR that they did not have to use timeouts on. The “rested” Gator defense stuffed the Vols on their next possession after the Gator’s first 4th QTR TD. That put the VOL defense back on the field with very little recovery time.
All in all the team improved, but did not make the plays to finish the game on defense or offense. The piece that is missing are plays by the WR’s. We do not have a WR with either a 100 yards receiving for a game or at this point for season. No long plays down the field by a WR. But you cannot fault their down field blocking for Dobbs or the RB’s. We need to get them the ball MUCH, MUCH more in the rest of the games. I do not think you can sell a young WR on the Vols the way the Wr’s are being used now and we need a bunch this year, All of them are in a wait and see mode.
The coaches did not handle substitutions nor clock management well in the 4th QTR. The last 6 minutes were really terrible. On offense we seemed to run the same plays and formations that we ran ineffectively on the last possessions against Oklahoma. In the first half of both games those plays seemed to work. The defenses of the Sooners and Gators adjusted in the second half. In the 2nd Half they resulted in no gains, minimum gains, and lost yardage. For three QTRs, they dogged Hurd and he gashed them but Dobbs made the really big gains. In the 4th QTR the Gator defensive staff really birddogged Josh as their # 1 priority and stopped him cold.
The sideline ref that ruled Wolf down on the field and ran the clock when he was able to get out of bounds, blew that call, but the coaches blew their response by not recognizing that the clock was running. At that point the wheels were off and rolling all over the field. Play calls and substitutions were a mess. The game was out of their control.
The question in my mind, is would Medley have made the last kick if he had that substitution penalty yardage back. My math says, Yep!
The really bad news? At this point every SEC team we have left is playing well enough on defense and/or offense to beat the Vols. The only “GIMME” left for the Vols is the Home Coming Game. Arkansas whipped A&M everywhere but the score. Vandy gave Ole Miss all they wanted at Oxford and their defense is “salty”. Kentucky handled MIZZOU. We have MIZZOU at home late in the year and that is a rough matchup.
It seems that this is the SEC, no rest for the weary. Don’t give up on the guys!
Go Vols!! Beat the HAWGS!!