Go for it: UT offense confident on 4th down

Vols have converted 7 consecutive attempts

Lane Kiffin isn't afraid to pull the trigger.

If anything, Tennessee just wants its coach to empty the chamber a bit more often on fourth down.

The Vols have proven they don't mind taking every last chance at a first down no matter where they are on the field, and with seven consecutive conversions heading into Saturday's game with Memphis (TV: ESPNU, 7 p.m.), it's starting to look like it might not even be a gamble.

"That's a good thing, and it's him saying a good thing about us on the field," quarterback Jonathan Crompton said. "It's saying he's got confidence in us to do it, especially if we're on our side of the field or something like that. We've just got to go out there and capitalize for him and the team because he's putting all the confidence in us to do it. It's a good thing because if we get it, it's really a momentum-changer in the game.

"The first time we did it we weren't really surprised. We want to go for it on every fourth down because we feel like we can get it."

It's been a while since the Vols haven't after punching in a fourth-and-goal last week against South Carolina for a touchdown and their ninth conversion in 13 tries this season.

UT (4-4, 2-3 SEC) hasn't attempted or made the most fourth downs in the league, but since getting stopped at Florida, it's been perfect each time Kiffin has kept the offense on the field. And he obviously won't hesitate to try to extend that streak against the Tigers (2-6, 1-4 Conference USA).

"We tend to go for it a lot on fourth down, and we put it back on our players," Kiffin said. "We have a lot of confidence in our players and we want our players to feel that. We don't coach scared, and we want to make sure that if we lose games or lose situations, it's not our fault.

"We put it back on them, and I think they respond to that. We talked before the season even started that there would be situations where we'd go for it, we'll be very aggressive in our style and I think they respond to that."

There also doesn't seem to be any real limit to that aggression.

Depending on any number of variables, Kiffin isn't opposed to going for it on his side of the field, which the Vols have done five times. He'll do it in any quarter, for more than a couple yards, with the lead or without - and his players wouldn't have it any other way.

"We all get pretty excited when we go out there and pick up fourth downs when we go for it," left guard Cory Sullins said. "I guess, we just gesture to him when we're on the field and just tell him that we want to go for it, and I don't know if that has any influence on his decision or not, but I guess we all get pretty fired up for it.

"I think on most fourth-and-shorts, he's going for it. It gives us a lot of confidence and we kind of push him to go for it. We like it, and as offensive linemen, we take a lot of pride in short-yardage plays and it's something that we want to excel in."

They couldn't have been any better over the last five games.

The only problem might have been not going for it in one of them, though the Vols didn't exactly need to roll the dice much to beat Georgia.

"Sure, it's all a gamble," Kiffin said. "It just all depends. What's the score? What's the time? How's the game going? Are you on the road? There's a million things that go into it. Just like when you're down (by the goal-line), how well are you kicking the ball? How long of a fourth down is it? There's a difference between a long fourth-and-1 and fourth-and-inches.

"It will always be different depending on the exact game."

At some point Kiffin figures to be taking a shot though. The only thing in doubt is the number of bullets.

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Comments » 34

Weatherman writes:

Go 4 it:)

volrush17#609372 writes:

atta way Coach!!!!!!!!!!
Ain't Skeered-bring it on!!!

I hear that train coming

CA_vol writes:

I am on the Kiffin and Crompton band wagon. Bring em all on. GO VOLS!

tenuscvol writes:

I recall in years back being nervous on the 4th down but with this team and this staff I enjoy watching them confidently execute the 4th down plays.

Great teams (programs) aren't afraid of anybody or any situation and I see that confidence growing with UT...

UT: 55 Memphis: 10

GoVols!

Vol_in_GA writes:

WWFD. What would Fulmer do?

acolvol#632266 writes:

The next time we play LSU, we won't have to go for it on fourth down. Just get 3rd and long against the "chief" and we will never have a fourth down.

DennisVols writes:

Rebuilding the confidence of a team that was in shambles following last season's 5-7 record was one of the biggest challenges for Kiffin.
The decision to go for it on 4th down is just one of the many things Kiffin has done successfully in restoring that confidence.
Coming into this year everyone believed UT really had no one to play at the SEC level at QB. Kiffin opened the competition between Crompton and Stephens and once the decision was made Kiffin stood by his word and his choice. Even following early struggles with Crompton, Kiffin stood by him, defended him and continued to work with him. During the last 3 games it seems to have come together for Crompton and his receivers. Crompton may not be the best QB in the conference but he is now rated in the top 5 and has a higher completion % than Heismen hopful Tebow.
This offense his performing at a much better level than it did last year. Many would say it could not have gotten much worse the the 115th ranking they finished with. But when you consider Kiffin is a 1st year coach and the new schemes involved the improvements appear even greater.
This team believes it can win. It showed up when it took two #1 teams all the way through the game rather than giving up by 1/2 time.
Keeping it Real
Go Vols!!!

bcdvol#234255 writes:

Finally, a football article about Tennessee.

Pdiddy10 writes:

sweet. im 4 it.
everyone go to facebook and type in jeff luc. join the group that says jeff luc come to tennessee

TobiasVol writes:

I've been watching these threads for some time and now must submit my thoughts. Pay close attention to what's being built here, Gentlemen. What you are seeing is USC East...Yes, CLK is putting together a machine that will have no fear. Remember what he said during the SC game? "We are building a championship program here!" That's what I want to hear from my coach and my program. CLK received the finishing touches to his coaching style from the man on the west coast that has had the most success as anyone in recent memory when it comes to winning games, making a positive impression on recruits and building the most recognized program in the nation.

Yes folks...what we are seeing, I strongly believe, is the making of a dominate football entity that will have the potential of taking the level of pride we have in our University to a level not yet seen. However, I could be wrong!

MidTennVol writes:

"We don't coach scared..." Whoa, daddy. Coach Fulmer, are you listening??

OrangeJuice writes:

Heck Yeah, Go Vols !

milesofsmiles writes:

It would best not to be in a 4th and go. imho.

GreerVol22 writes:

in response to Vol_in_GA:

WWFD. What would Fulmer do?

clap three times and kick the FG...

richvol writes:

in response to MidTennVol:

"We don't coach scared..." Whoa, daddy. Coach Fulmer, are you listening??

Yeah Denmark...that comment struck me like a thunderbolt too. Fulmer always seemed to coach scared. Especially against our biggest rivals. It made the team uptight and mistake prone...and Chavis,that's what the prevent defense is by definition and he cost us some pretty important games with that philosophy.

jman33163 writes:

It is amazing the confidence CLK and the other coaches have instilled in this football team! Go Big Orange!!

CrankE writes:

in response to acolvol#632266:

The next time we play LSU, we won't have to go for it on fourth down. Just get 3rd and long against the "chief" and we will never have a fourth down.

ROFL!!! That's funny right there!!!!

Confidence and capability on 4th down is great. But I've got a less risky proposition, why not convert on any of the previous downs? Just saying...

GO VOLS!!!

Volunteer-Varmint writes:

in response to acolvol#632266:

The next time we play LSU, we won't have to go for it on fourth down. Just get 3rd and long against the "chief" and we will never have a fourth down.

AMen to that. He was and still is way too predictable.

GBO!

CrankE writes:

in response to GreerVol22:

clap three times and kick the FG...

Hey, wasn't that a Tony Orlando and Dawn song once?

...Clap three times means you'll settle for a field goal.
Twice on the side means the answer is no...

navarrebeachvol writes:

in response to CrankE:

Hey, wasn't that a Tony Orlando and Dawn song once?

...Clap three times means you'll settle for a field goal.
Twice on the side means the answer is no...

LOL. that was great. song jumped right into my head...hadnt thought of it in years. Where are they now? :-)

navarrebeachvol writes:

Tony Orlando and Dawn that is, not the former coaches

navarrebeachvol writes:

who knew? or who cared? anyway: Orlando is still a popular appearance performer on tour regularly with the Lefty Brothers and Toni Wine. Hopkins made a very successful acting career for herself in series like Bosom Buddies, Gimme a Break, Family Matters, and Half and Half. Joyce and Pamela Vincent continue a prolific career as session singers. A DVD compilation from the variety series was released in 2005 along with the group's catalog of albums on CD. Tony Orlando & Dawn released A Christmas Reunion that same year. Publicity events for those releases marked the first time Telma, Joyce, and Pamela appeared onstage together. Toni Wine also participated in those shows. The group was inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 2008. Tony Orlando & Dawn occasionally reunites for television and benefit performances.

Oklahoma_Vol_Fan writes:

Can we quit abusing Fulmer!!! I agreed with replacing him, but the man did a hecka of a lot for the University of Tennessee. While the team did go down down hill the last few years, let's honor him for what he did... He played for Tennessee, He took Tennessee to a National Championship, He gave the University $1,000,000.00! He loves The University of Tennessee, can we show a little class to the man that has shown Tennessee a lot of class over the years. Enough about his weight, wife, etc. The Fulmers are much classier than many posters on this site... Let's enjoy our new found riches in winning w/ CLK, not badmouth someone that has done much more for Tennessee than any of the posters that bad mouth him.

tulelakevol writes:

in response to Oklahoma_Vol_Fan:

Can we quit abusing Fulmer!!! I agreed with replacing him, but the man did a hecka of a lot for the University of Tennessee. While the team did go down down hill the last few years, let's honor him for what he did... He played for Tennessee, He took Tennessee to a National Championship, He gave the University $1,000,000.00! He loves The University of Tennessee, can we show a little class to the man that has shown Tennessee a lot of class over the years. Enough about his weight, wife, etc. The Fulmers are much classier than many posters on this site... Let's enjoy our new found riches in winning w/ CLK, not badmouth someone that has done much more for Tennessee than any of the posters that bad mouth him.

When you get 6 million bucks to pack your bags and leave, and you lose to Wyoming, you get abused. I don't dispute Fulmer was a good coach in the past, but his last few years, he killed the program, and the fans.

Fla_Vol writes:

in response to navarrebeachvol:

who knew? or who cared? anyway: Orlando is still a popular appearance performer on tour regularly with the Lefty Brothers and Toni Wine. Hopkins made a very successful acting career for herself in series like Bosom Buddies, Gimme a Break, Family Matters, and Half and Half. Joyce and Pamela Vincent continue a prolific career as session singers. A DVD compilation from the variety series was released in 2005 along with the group's catalog of albums on CD. Tony Orlando & Dawn released A Christmas Reunion that same year. Publicity events for those releases marked the first time Telma, Joyce, and Pamela appeared onstage together. Toni Wine also participated in those shows. The group was inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 2008. Tony Orlando & Dawn occasionally reunites for television and benefit performances.

You lost me here.....We are talking football....4th & short....where is this review connected to 4th down.LOL

MoralVictory writes:

"Lane Kiffin isn't afraid to pull the trigger"? Whoa that is good news, excellent in fact. I was afraid that with Victory within reach against say Alabama we might 1) waste 45 seconds 2)settle for a field goal. 3) suffer a blocked FG 4) blame our "turtle" play calling on refs and their "magical flags" 5) suffer a new SEC rule called the "Lane Kiffin Rule" 6) expose our head coach as a poor loser.
Thank goodness Lane has it all figured out. My scenario would be terrible for the program

UltraVolDavid writes:

Lane Kiffin...College Football Coach Of The Year! He would have my vote if I had one. GBO!

navyvolinva writes:

I heard jackson was suspended for Memphis game.

VolunteerLifer writes:

in response to MoralVictory:

"Lane Kiffin isn't afraid to pull the trigger"? Whoa that is good news, excellent in fact. I was afraid that with Victory within reach against say Alabama we might 1) waste 45 seconds 2)settle for a field goal. 3) suffer a blocked FG 4) blame our "turtle" play calling on refs and their "magical flags" 5) suffer a new SEC rule called the "Lane Kiffin Rule" 6) expose our head coach as a poor loser.
Thank goodness Lane has it all figured out. My scenario would be terrible for the program

Don't look back now, gator, but something's gaining on you. And fast.

carolinasmokey writes:

in response to MoralVictory:

"Lane Kiffin isn't afraid to pull the trigger"? Whoa that is good news, excellent in fact. I was afraid that with Victory within reach against say Alabama we might 1) waste 45 seconds 2)settle for a field goal. 3) suffer a blocked FG 4) blame our "turtle" play calling on refs and their "magical flags" 5) suffer a new SEC rule called the "Lane Kiffin Rule" 6) expose our head coach as a poor loser.
Thank goodness Lane has it all figured out. My scenario would be terrible for the program

Thanks, Phillip.

volonthehill writes:

MoralVictory - calling you a troll is an insult to trolls. Just go away.

royrog#221514 writes:

in response to Oklahoma_Vol_Fan:

Can we quit abusing Fulmer!!! I agreed with replacing him, but the man did a hecka of a lot for the University of Tennessee. While the team did go down down hill the last few years, let's honor him for what he did... He played for Tennessee, He took Tennessee to a National Championship, He gave the University $1,000,000.00! He loves The University of Tennessee, can we show a little class to the man that has shown Tennessee a lot of class over the years. Enough about his weight, wife, etc. The Fulmers are much classier than many posters on this site... Let's enjoy our new found riches in winning w/ CLK, not badmouth someone that has done much more for Tennessee than any of the posters that bad mouth him.

I second that motion.

I'm firmly on the CLK bandwagon, but let's let the past be the past.

69grad writes:

in response to TobiasVol:

I've been watching these threads for some time and now must submit my thoughts. Pay close attention to what's being built here, Gentlemen. What you are seeing is USC East...Yes, CLK is putting together a machine that will have no fear. Remember what he said during the SC game? "We are building a championship program here!" That's what I want to hear from my coach and my program. CLK received the finishing touches to his coaching style from the man on the west coast that has had the most success as anyone in recent memory when it comes to winning games, making a positive impression on recruits and building the most recognized program in the nation.

Yes folks...what we are seeing, I strongly believe, is the making of a dominate football entity that will have the potential of taking the level of pride we have in our University to a level not yet seen. However, I could be wrong!

I have been a VOL fan since 1956 when I saw UT kill Chattanoga. Johnny Majors could punt the ball so high, it would come down with ice on it. Also, UT is my Alma Mater (class of '69), and I think we are on a 1 million ton freight train headed for the promise land. You, sir, are so right.

woodwr#217203 writes:

Going for it on fourth down should depend on three factors:

1) Will our defense hold if we fail?

2) Will we get possession again, this close?

3) How BAD is our Field Goal kicker or Punter?

UT has good defense.
UT has NOT had long scoring drives.
UT has a wounded FG kicker & just OK punter.

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