A FEW COMMENTS REGARDING THE BIZZARRO GAME OF THE YEAR
Please see Doug Gillett’s take for a sane analysis of this night. I agree with a lot of what he said. I also agree with much of what Kyle had to say. Here is a comment I made over at Dawgsports in response to Kyle’s take…
I see this game the same as you. The Vols are better than us. We could have done a few things better, but, if we played UT ten times in a row, they would win 7 - I think. Our team has holes that are not filled and may not get filled this year. However, this team is good enough (or talented enough) to win 9 or 10 regular season games. That has not changed since August.
I would really like to see Will Muschamp as our DC someday soon. However, you know that we will lose Rodney Garner if/when we replace Willie with anyone other than Garner.
The most frustrating thing to me in the past two games is that CMR does not seem content to let our ground attack take over a ball game. We had two backs averaging over 6 yards per carry. But we had to press out luck with our mediocre QB and it cost us twice in situations where running the ball made more sense. From my seat, it looked like we were gaining 5,6,7 yards per carry even when UT had 9 men in the box. If it is working, go with it. ARRRRGGGGHHHH!
UT is a great team again and I think Cutcliffe deserves most of that credit. Of course, last night, they were running two receivers into simple, short routes that Ainge was delivering rapidly before our rush could be a factor. Simple, simple gameplan. Executed to perfection with no adjustment by our DC. Painful to watch, but I finally assumed the posture proposed by Bobby Knight when he said "you might as well enjoy it."
Oh well. Let's go Dawgs, get ready for Vandy.
And also this comment…
Don't Mail It In Yet
I don't think we must concede 3 or 4 losses this year. We had a real chance to win the game Sat night and we failed to make a few key plays that could have made the difference. In short, with the way UT played, we could afford no mistakes and we made plenty in the second half. Worse yet, we could not force them into any mistakes except the two long returns.
Auburn proved that they are not invincible the past two weeks. Florida, while damn good, is not invincible. And we know Tech is not invincible. So, I don't concede any of these games outright even though I don't expect to win all three. By the way, I DO expect to beat Vandy, MSU and Kentucky.
It is a long season and circumstances change all the time. Last year we had a circumstance hit us the week of the Florida game and it cost us. However, the Sunday after we throttled Tennessee, many in Gatorland figured us to beat them until Shockley went down.
Believe it or not, it is likely that the SEC East representative will have 1 loss and possibly 2. UT still has LSU and Alabama. What happens to them if Ainge misses one of those games - ala Shockley? Or even if he doesn't? Florida still has Auburn (who can't afford to lose this game) and us. I am convinced that Florida has a better team than we do this year, but I have watched enough football to know that this does not always guarantee a win. Right now, this is clearly the most difficult game for us to figure out how to win.
Auburn can be beat. If you think we have no chance of beating Auburn, please explain.
Tech is Tech and they have Reggie Ball. So that one is clearly winnable.
Will win all 3? No. Will we lose all 3? No.
It is time to do some serious coaching, which our staff is capable of or we wouldn't have won 10+ games each year on talent alone.
Preseason, I figured us to go 10-2 at best and 9-3 at worst. Still looks reasonable to me.
Our defense needs to get their GTBB (get the ball back) mantra from last year and leave the KTIFOY (keep them in front of you) mantra in the carnage that was the last 35 minutes of the UT game.
Our offense will improve between now and Florida. The run blocking is much improved and our running backs can win ball games for us if CMR will let them. We should start Joe T because the freshmen don't want to start. Until they demonstrate that they want it more than Joe T, he should be the starter.
Lastly, and probably most importantly, I trust CMR to get as much out of these players and this situation as any other living coach would. So we won't be undefeated this year. OK. We, you and I that is, didn't expect to be anyway. Let's just worry about beating Vandy and then let the rest of it take care of itself.
So those were my initial observations before watching the replay of the game tonight. My thoughts, upon further review, appear in the next post.