Feeding fuel to the fire

So the defense is unhappy about the job they did against the run in the Missouri game.  This isn’t exactly happy talk, but it’s still talk until they do something about it.

“I take that very personally and this defense takes that very personally, Patrick said. “That’s something we pride ourselves on, stopping the run in this defense. Stopping the run is the number one priority. Obviously, those guys had more yards than we would like and that’s definitely something we’re going to put an emphasis on.”

There were some issues that were related to fundamentals, no question.  But I still think some of what we saw resulted from an emphasis on denying Lock the deep passing game.  Patrick also thinks Monty Rice’s absence played a part.

Rice was back at practice this week and Smart noted that he is moving around quite well. The difference between last week and this one week is noticeable. With him out against Mizzou, Patrick said it forced him to play 50 or 60 staps and he can’t really remember the last time that happened.

With him back in the mix, things should get back to business as usual with that core group of inside linebackers.

“That rotation helps,” Patrick said. “It helps a lot and I’m glad he’s back.”

If Patrick felt a little worn down, it’s understandable.  Missouri leads the conference in number of offensive plays run and had 85 snaps against Georgia.  The good news for Patrick, aside from Rice’s return, is that the Vols are middle of the pack in that regard.  UT did run 79 plays against Florida, but much of that was out of desperation as the game went south.  In its three other games, Tennessee never exceeded 70 plays.

The Vols don’t throw the ball a lot.  In fact, they have fewer passing attempts this season than does Georgia.  You would think that would give Smart and Tucker an opportunity to deploy the safeties in run support more than was the case against Missouri.  Between that and the return of a regular rotation at inside linebacker, maybe we’ll get a clearer picture of what Georgia’s run defense is capable of on Saturday.

14 Comments

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14 responses to “Feeding fuel to the fire

  1. Uglydawg.

    I’m betting Tennessee comes out slinging it.

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    • Dolly Llama

      With their O-line, I hope they do. Makes me feel bad for Guarantano or Chryst or Shrout or McBride or whoever, though. Nobody deserves what we will do to them. If they try to “sling it” long enough, you might see all those players in the game before the afternoon’s out — and not by choice, either.

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    • I really don’t see ANY gameplan that can save UT. If they indeed go to the air on unconventional downs then they may produce another 6 TO performance.

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  2. dawgtired

    Interesting read from Patrick. I’ve wondered about the players thoughts on the rotations. It’s good to hear they’ve bought in to it. Also, I was curious on the impact of Rice’s absence. Not just in run defense but underneath passing routs as well. Let’s hope there is visual improvement in the run defense and short pass defense this week.
    UT may very well come out slinging it but I think will be costly for them.

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  3. TMC DAWG

    We’re gonna open up a large can on nasty orange!,

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  4. Salty Dawg

    Tn can start out slinging it, but it won’t last long. They will be dead meat when the Dawgs GATA! GO DAWGS!!!

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  5. TomReagan

    I don’t think we can get a good read on anything from this game. They’re too much of a mess to be a measuring stick in any capacity.

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  6. kfoge

    Can’t wait for someone like Channing Tindall to get knowledge of the D

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  7. Austin

    Tennessee will pound the rock hoping that the defense will bend and quicken the game and hope to pull the crowd out of it. The run game is going to be the key to them trying to not get blown out, which i believe is all they are hoping for. A close game that they can hang their hat on and say, “Look we are building here, yeah we lost, but not by 30 points to the number 2 team in the country.” They will stick with the ground and pound all day. Their o line is not good at the pass protection, so looking for deep shots will be few and far between. TE dumps, swing passes, and screens will be the big things to watch for on second down to keep the defense off balance and just run blitzing most of the game.

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    • Bulldog Joe

      This. Tennessee has more rushing TDs and is deeper in the backfield than we are. They have Trey Smith back on the line and he is a beast. Tennessee’s line does a much better job in run blocking than pass blocking and no doubt ball security will be job #1 this week. Seeing what Missouri did to us will give them encouragement.

      I see Fulmer following the same formula as his win in 2004 if it stays close in the first half.

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    • Uglydawg.

      That does make a lot of sense. Good post, Austin.

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  8. Macallanlover

    No question we sacrificed some running graound to protect against the deep threat on a pass with Mizzou. But that doesn’t explain the issues we had against the run in the RZ against Mizzou, or the similar issues we saw against AP and MTSU. And is isn’t comforting knowing that Bama is a “dual threat offense” and looms ominously. Just hoping the D takes this personal and improves this area of weakness as the season progresses. We should be fine until LSU and Kentucky.

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  9. W Cobb Dawg

    I think Monty Rice being out against mizzou was a much bigger factor than we’re giving credit for. After Walker, I consider Rice our 2nd best LB.

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