The Vols are fourth in the SEC in turnover margin, at plus-4, but when you look at their game log, you can see what a wild ride it’s been getting there. Truly feast or famine, they’ve been everywhere from plus-6 against W. Kentucky to minus-3 against the Gators. Which I guess is how you wind up leading the conference in takeaways and being last in giveaways.
Georgia’s story is downright boring by comparison. How all this plays out today, I have no idea.
- I hope Todd Grantham’s as tired of hearing about this as I am.
- Tennessee’s change in defensive schemes may be for the better, but I’m guessing that if Keith Marshall gets in the open, he can still outrun the Vols’ personnel.
- Here’s UGASports.com‘s UT defensive breakdown.
- Josh Harvey-Clemons is coming on.
- A statistical game preview, from Rocky Top Talk.
- Opportunity knocks, but the Vols don’t seem to be able to answer the door lately:
In the last two games against Florida and South Alabama, Tennessee started seven possessions on the opponent’s side of the field, with five of them beginning immediately after a turnover.
The results of those possessions were four interceptions, one fumble, one punt and three measly points.
No matter what else happens tomorrow, if Aaron Murray walks out of Neyland Stadium with a passer rating that’s not higher than 211.99, I’m gonna be a little disappointed.
- Strap yourself to a tree with roots. Butch Jones, on his defensive staff: “You kind of have a coaching tree. Whether it’s coach Martinez or [Jancek], it stems to Brian VanGorder who was also the defensive coordinator at Georgia. I’ve known those individuals forever.”
- SEC speed. On defense, the Vols have introduced a 3-3-5 look on obvious passing downs. Given Georgia’s offensive line’s struggles with speed rushers, this might be something to keep an eye on Saturday.
- Pace. I’d expect Tennessee when it’s on offense to try to exploit Georgia’s problem communicating defensive signals quickly.
- UT offense. You’ll find some information about the players and the Vols’ tendencies on offense here. (One thing to add is that Marlon Lane is banged up.)
Tennessee hasn’t beaten a ranked opponent in its last eighteen tries. October has been especially unfriendly of late.
Under previous coach Derek Dooley, Tennessee won just once in 12 October games, against Buffalo in 2011. The futility includes three consecutive 31-point losses to Alabama, and the average margin of defeat in 11 losses was nearly 16 points. The Vols faced nine ranked teams in 12 October games in the past three seasons.
Only four times in those 11 losses — at LSU in 2010, against Georgia in 2011 and at Mississippi State and South Carolina last season — did Tennessee keep the margin within 10 points.
At least they’ll be trotting out those spiffy new grey jerseys Saturday.
It’s not going to be easy getting to Defcon 5 this week when your opponent is busting plays like this:
And you thought Georgia had special teams problems.
Verne and Gary are going to Knoxville.
Aside from the game, it would be fun if somebody tossed in a snarky comment about Junior during the broadcast.
Matt Hinton nails it: Nathan Peterman’s passer rating against Florida was an almost unheard of 3.8 and he wasn’t made the starter for that game out of necessity. No, somebody actually thought it was a good idea.
So a 3.8 is not even worth snapping the ball for. If Peterman had replaced his dozen pass attempts on Saturday with a dozen kneel-downs, at least the Volunteers would have been able to punt; instead, he committed three turnovers that led to Florida points before halftime. The worst part? Unlike virtually every other quarterback listed here, Peterman was not thrust into the lineup by injury or attrition: Coaches actually thought he gave Tennessee a better chance to win than the starter through the first three games, Justin Worley, and refused to concede otherwise until the damage was done.
The Vols have an easy mark in their next game, but October is a brutal month, with Georgia, South Carolina and Alabama filling the slate. That means Jones will need three wins in November for his team to become bowl eligible. And while it’s a kinder month, it’s still an all-SEC month, with Kentucky looking like the only gimme from here.
UT fans may be left with nothing to hang their hats on when the regular season ends except hoping for a good recruiting class.
Butch Jones, that whole change starting quarterbacks in mid-stream thing may work great in the MAC or Big East, but giving a redshirt freshman his first start against the SEC’s best defense tends to lead to moments of hilarity like this:
The Florida-Tennessee series ain’t what it used to be.
It’s been 3,290 days since Tennessee kicker James Wilhoit’s 50-yard game-winning field goal sailed through the uprights of Neyland Stadium’s north end zone. The Vols last beat rival Florida in 2004, and the Gators have won two SEC titles and two BCS championships in that time frame. Tennessee is on its fourth head coach since that night.
Now that Georgia-Florida has become competitive again, Gator fans may have to replace cries of “3-18″ with “0-8″.