Vols Look to Rebound from Florida Rout

By: Wes Boling Email
By: Wes Boling Email
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KNOXVILLE (WVLT) - If there is one positive stemming from Tennessee's historic loss to Florida last weekend, it is that the Vols were able to pinpoint several areas of weakness.

Now they must embark on the road to improvement.

The Vols' shortcomings in the Swamp were many. The team rushed for only 37 yards. It surrendered a punt return for a touchdown for the second time this year. And the defense often looked lost against Tim Tebow's option antics, missing tackles and blowing coverages en route to the program's worst loss since 1981.

Coach Phillip Fulmer told media members Tuesday that he believes it was Tennessee's mistakes, and not Florida's brilliance, that dictated Saturday's outcome.

"We've just got to quit shooting ourselves in the foot, period -- defensively, offensively, and the kicking game," Fulmer said. "You've got a senior quarterback and a bunch of receivers that really know what they're doing and a veteran offensive front. We shouldn't be having all these problems offensively of turning the ball over."

He also maintained that while the defense was young, it could do a much more effective job of making tackles and covering receivers more closely.

At least one Tennessee offensive lineman says he's taking the Vols' rushing struggles personally.

"They're talking about me, the offensive line, and running backs and basically saying we can't run the ball, so it definitely hits home when they say Tennessee can't run the ball," junior offensive guard Anthony Parker said. "They're talking about me."

Quarterback Erik Ainge was 26-of-41 for 249 yards, a touchdown and an interception in the defeat. He said Tuesday that a healthy rushing game would contribute to the success of the Tennessee passing attack.

"We're not the best rushing team in America right now, but that doesn't mean we can't run the ball efficiently and effectively," Ainge said. "We don't have to hand the ball off 40 times per game to rush for 150 yards. We need to hand it off and throw it as we need to to be efficient and effective on offense."

Tennessee also looks to improve on its punt coverage. Punter Britton Colquitt blamed himself for kicking line drives that put the coverage team in a vulnerable position. Fulmer also attributed the Vols' struggles to "overaggression," contending that players were in position to tackle the returner, but overpursued.

Tune in to VolunteerTV Sports Overtime this week to see footage of practice and hear the latest information and analysis regarding Tennessee's upcoming game against Arkansas State.

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  • by Randy Location: Knoxville on Sep 19, 2007 at 11:02 AM
    As I said in another thread...I have alot of respect for Coach Fulmer, but I think he underestimates where we are as a team. Our issues go deeper than that...we have got to update our schemes. We are running the same stuff we ran 15-20 years ago, and some former players have said as such. Today the game is different. Teams are not able to stockpile loads of talent, and as a result they scheme to create mismatches. Tennessee runs a system that when they have a superior talent advantage it can be successful, as they were in the 90's when, you guessed it, they had more talent than most everyone in the SEC. Now they are running the same system with far less talent, and the other coaches have volumes and volumes of tape and have been able to scheme around it and find the holes. Meanwhile, our coaching staff refuses to give them something different, thinking if they execute it will work. It wont anymore....you have to modify and change with the times to stay one step ahead of the other guys.
  • by Mike Location: Chattanooga on Sep 18, 2007 at 08:36 PM
    Sorry folks the fundamentals of tackling have not been with the Vols for years. You need leadership and you don't have it on defense. I'm talking about coaching leadership on defense. Look at LSU and Florida. How many of their defensive players use just their shoulder pads to tackle? Califonria knew it and jump back so the defender would fall on his face. Defensive coaching and special teams coaching...that is the mistake Fulmer!


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