Adams: Tide can throw its weight around

John Adams

Tennessee's open date might have come two weeks too soon.

Never mind that the Vols will have had two weeks to prepare for No. 1 ranked Alabama. A team also could use an extra week to get over the Tide.

In fact, some teams could use a week off between the third and fourth quarters against Alabama, which has become the most physical team in the SEC under coach Nick Saban. Last October, UT was one of those teams.

Tennessee is 0-2 vs. Alabama when the Tide are ranked No. 1. How will the Vols do Saturday?

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Alabama didn't run away from the Vols. It wore them out one hit at a time in a 29-9 victory.

No wonder most UT fans abandoned Neyland Stadium before the fourth quarter. The outcome was inevitable.

Is it just as inevitable this Saturday at Bryant-Denny Stadium?

The talent gap would suggest so. But you could have said the same for Florida two weeks ago.

UT escaped The Swamp with a 10-point loss last month. And its competitiveness was lauded nationally as well as locally.

Alabama will present another huge challenge, and another opportunity as well.

Further into the season, the Vols already have suffered attrition, the most notable of which is middle linebacker Nick Reveiz. If you are a linebacker light against Alabama, you're kicking off at a disadvantage.

Deeper teams than the Vols have wilted in the fourth quarter against the Tide. For example, take nationally ranked Virginia Tech.

Alabama outgained the Hokies 165-35 in the fourth quarter en route to a 34-24 victory.

For another example, take Alabama's final scoring drive in a 20-6 victory over South Carolina on Saturday night. Running back Mark Ingram carried six consecutive times for 68 yards against a defense that hadn't given up an offensive touchdown to Alabama for three and a half quarters.

The Tide doesn't usually wait until the fourth quarter to exert its will. You saw that against Ole Miss, which managed all of 19 yards in the first half.

Staying close against Alabama will require a different strategy than what worked against Florida. UT's defense did a nice job of containing Florida's speed. Alabama is more about the weight room than the track.

The Tide's front seven on defense averages 272 pounds. By comparison, UT's defensive front averages 245.

Alabama's safeties are bigger than UT's linebackers. Its starting defensive ends weigh more than 290 pounds. And nose tackle Terrence Cody (354) makes both of them look skinny.

Overcoming Alabama's size wasn't UT's only challenge last season. It couldn't match Alabama's toughness, either.

No one has questioned UT's toughness under first-year head coach Lane Kiffin. This team was hardened during the offseason, and that toughness was evident during the first half of the season.

So was its effort. The Vols have lost three games but they haven't given up in any of them.

Their effort was rewarded against the Gators, who were driving for another touchdown when the Vols forced a fourth-quarter fumble. UT responded with a touchdown drive - and just like that a potential 24-point loss became a 10-point defeat.

That signified considerable progress against a rival that had beaten UT by 63 points in their previous two meetings.

The Vols also have plenty of room for improvement against the Tide, which has won the last two games by a combined 44 points.

They don't have to beat Alabama to maintain the momentum they have gained against rivals - first against Florida, then nine days ago in a 45-19 rout of Georgia. They just have to be competitive, then hope they have enough left over to beat South Carolina a week later.

Sports editor John Adams may be reached at 865-342-6284 or adamsj@knoxnews.com.

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Comments » 32

PAROLE_tide writes:

Bama's QB is not that good, but their running game is the best in the country. This will be a close game with the VOLS winning 21-14.

tenuscvol writes:

John: You're not even giving them a chance huh?...

(Gonna stay in good with Finebaum...)

Well, ..here's hopping for the upset...

GoVols!

amstelman writes:

Totally agree ... give bama fits ... then win out.

CHS52VOL writes:

The results this coaching staff has accomplished with what could have a very mediocre team are truly amazing. The offensive and defensive lines have grown in all phases of the game through the 1st 6 games. This group of guys are where I thought we might be at the end of the 2010 seasion. Special teams have not performed well but that is being corrected,

Never have been a "What if?" person, but we should be 5-1 or 4-2 based upon effort. Every opponent we have played knew they were up against a team giving their all for Tennessee. If Alabama takes our team lightly this week they will be in for a major surprise. Bama will probably score first, but this game will be won in the 4th quarter. I am predicting A Vol win, probably 21-17 with a game-winning TD in the 4th quarter. Delusional? I do not think so. GBO!

the10sevol writes:

bama looks to me like they look every other year. big and physical, with a running game. that's the way i've seen them every year for the last 40+ years. some years we won, some years they won. i say let's line it up saturday and play.

GBO

WeAreTheTide writes:

in response to PAROLE_tide:

Bama's QB is not that good, but their running game is the best in the country. This will be a close game with the VOLS winning 21-14.

I just wanted to stop in and say good luck Vol nation. You seem to have it going in your direction. I'm expecting the usual Alabama-Tennessee game; a close, clean, hard fought game with nobody getting seriously hurt. I do know one thing, Bama looks like a 'tired' team. Wish we had an open date like you had, but we'll get ours before LSU. BTW, McElroy is probably better than he exhibited against the 6th ranked pass defense of SC last night though. Take care and good luck everyone...

macman2 writes:

Alabama is the number one team in the country. South Carolina played them tough but could not stop the running of Ingram at the end. they did expose the secondary of the Crimson Tide a bit. Tennessee will play them tough and Lane and Monte will put together a game plan that will have Saban scratching his head. However when you say where's the beef - it will be dressed in red and rolling in the fourth quarter and the best way to stop that is keep your offense on the field and score when you have the ball. McElroy is a better qb than is play against South Carolina. GBO - Hammer the Tide.

caverunner writes:

Makes one wonder why UT would even go to the game and attempt to play, if you listen to ja! Hey Adams, if the Vols keep it close, or from your perspective, God forbid the Vols win, the Vol-nation would LOVE to see your resignation Monday! or aren't you man enough to put your career where your mouth is?

the10sevol writes:

check this out. i remember this game, listened to it on a little am transistor radio. some of you are old enough to know what that is, lol.

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vaul...

GBO

PennVol writes:

Monte will have a nice game plan for Bama's basic offense, just not sure if we have the horses to slow them down in the 2nd half. A couple of turnovers would help even the playing field, as long as Crompton has a decent game. They will be keying on Hardesty so look for Crompton to roll out a lot early on.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to WeAreTheTide:

I just wanted to stop in and say good luck Vol nation. You seem to have it going in your direction. I'm expecting the usual Alabama-Tennessee game; a close, clean, hard fought game with nobody getting seriously hurt. I do know one thing, Bama looks like a 'tired' team. Wish we had an open date like you had, but we'll get ours before LSU. BTW, McElroy is probably better than he exhibited against the 6th ranked pass defense of SC last night though. Take care and good luck everyone...

Thanks for a classy post from a fan of a respected rival, but are you sure you aren't sandbagging us with that talk of a "tired" team? Who is stronger and deeper at the strength positions than Bama? Some posters on here said the same thing about Bama looking tired against SC, but I saw only the same deliberate, persistent, steady, physically-dominating team Bama has fielded for years. I do believe that UT's only real chance is if the Tide really IS a tired team, but if that was a "tired" Bama team I saw on Saturday, all I can say is that, at the end, SC was an EXHAUSTED team and Bama was still standing. Even so, I expect to see a true Southern gridiron classic, more worthy of the series history than our last few efforts. I certainly join you in hoping no one is seriously hurt. Good luck to the Tide, but GO VOLS!!!

johnlg00 writes:

in response to the10sevol:

check this out. i remember this game, listened to it on a little am transistor radio. some of you are old enough to know what that is, lol.

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vaul...

GBO

Thanks for the link! One doesn't often see sports writing like that these days. I was an undergrad in those days and knew most of the guys on that team. I played rec basketball in the old Alumni Gym with many of them. A year or two later, Bubba Wyche even dated my sister, a UT majorette. That game was truly a glorious day in UT football history. A similar result on Saturday would be one of the all-time great UT victories. Oh well! At least a man can still dream!

givehim6 writes:

in response to PAROLE_tide:

Bama's QB is not that good, but their running game is the best in the country. This will be a close game with the VOLS winning 21-14.

Ok I agree with you on Bamas QB. But remember UT has the best running back in the SEC and a few good backs also. And a pretty good D to take care of that running game. All in all I think UT and Bama match up good, this will not be last years blow out. a tight game yes, but I see a win here.GO VOLS!

SouthDakotaBob writes:

in response to the10sevol:

bama looks to me like they look every other year. big and physical, with a running game. that's the way i've seen them every year for the last 40+ years. some years we won, some years they won. i say let's line it up saturday and play.

GBO

Well said. GBO

SewaneeTiger writes:

Eric Crompton and the receivers will need to play steady ball (not a small matter).
We must not fall down on special teams.
That huge O line that Alabama is fielding will be a problem. It will truly take a team effort to block the holes that the Tide will likely open up for Ingram.
Florida seems like a running team this year, and though they ultimately beat us, our D held its own against a talented FL line and backfield of speedy running backs (see Rainey and Demps). I think the Tebow factor and our limited passing attack were what got us there.
Thus, the hope I always have for a win Bama Week is tempered (much like it was during the 7-year drought of the late 80s/early 90s).
That said, if we can avoid mistakes, take advantage of theirs, and play this game with the spirit this biggest of UT rivalries merits, I believe we can beat them.
Go Big Orange!!

TommyJack writes:

in response to johnlg00:

Thanks for the link! One doesn't often see sports writing like that these days. I was an undergrad in those days and knew most of the guys on that team. I played rec basketball in the old Alumni Gym with many of them. A year or two later, Bubba Wyche even dated my sister, a UT majorette. That game was truly a glorious day in UT football history. A similar result on Saturday would be one of the all-time great UT victories. Oh well! At least a man can still dream!

I was in the student section, in a pouring rain, for the '66 game. I still say Gary Wright's FG was good. We wuz hosed.

JustaStudent writes:

This game will come down to heart. The UT team that played against Georgia played with more heart than I have seen in a while. If they can bring that kind of passion and pride into this game they have a chance. That's something that no stat will ever show.

GreensboroVol writes:

It will be interesting to see if Monte's defense can slow down Mark Ingram. If they can and force Alabama to put the ball in the air a lot, the Tampa two scheme could really rattle Bama's QB and WRs. I noticed as the UGA game wore on, the Georgia players weren't eager to go across the middle knowing Eric Berry might be in the area. I think his presence alone intimidated them a lot. The UT offense that came to play UGA has to come back for Alabama. If old Crompton comes back or wide recievers drop balls it may be a long afternoon. It's college football and it's a big rival on the road. Stranger things have happened. As John Ward would say, "It's Tennesse, it's Alabama and it's football time in Tennessee!" I can't wait for Saturday. Go Vols!

Brillovol writes:

in response to WeAreTheTide:

I just wanted to stop in and say good luck Vol nation. You seem to have it going in your direction. I'm expecting the usual Alabama-Tennessee game; a close, clean, hard fought game with nobody getting seriously hurt. I do know one thing, Bama looks like a 'tired' team. Wish we had an open date like you had, but we'll get ours before LSU. BTW, McElroy is probably better than he exhibited against the 6th ranked pass defense of SC last night though. Take care and good luck everyone...

Now here's an opposing fan I can get along with!

This game could get be one of those 9-6 games with the winning field goal coming in the last quarter. Keep in mind that in most every year, regardless of talent differential, this game is decided by less than 10 points. This will be no different because both coaches use the run to set up the pass the same as it's always been.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

I've got goosebumps just thinking about Saturday!!! Ignore the calender, this IS the 3rd Saturday in October!

GBO!

ermsports#220184 writes:

GiveHim6... UT has the best RB in the SEC? Seriously? Hardesty is good but I'm not sure he's better than Richardson. And he's not in the same league as Ingram.

I think this game will be close. Monte is a great DC but the problem is Bama doesn't try to trick anyone like UF, Ole Miss, etc. Most of the time they just line up and make you stop them which nobody has been able to do. Not much you can do against that.

And I think Saban/Smart will throw some things at Crompton that he hasn't seen before.

OrangePride writes:

No, no, no, JOHN!!! Wrong attitude and wrong approach.......again! The VOLS do NOT "just have to be competitive." They need to go down there to BEAT Alabama and not just "do well." Anything less is an unacceptable approach. SC, if they had had a better offense, would have given Alabama a real run for their money. I think the Tennessee offense will show itself much better. And the Tenn defense, with Monte running the show, will also do better. Now hear this. ALABAMA IS NOT INVINCIBLE! They do not throw well and I don't expect them to run up and down the field. If Crompton can run the team as he did last week, this is NOT an unwinable game. GO VOLS, BEAT BAMA!!

luvorange writes:

in response to WeAreTheTide:

I just wanted to stop in and say good luck Vol nation. You seem to have it going in your direction. I'm expecting the usual Alabama-Tennessee game; a close, clean, hard fought game with nobody getting seriously hurt. I do know one thing, Bama looks like a 'tired' team. Wish we had an open date like you had, but we'll get ours before LSU. BTW, McElroy is probably better than he exhibited against the 6th ranked pass defense of SC last night though. Take care and good luck everyone...

Seems like the more "tired" Mark Ingram gets, the better he looks. He is the big difference in this game, I think. HOpe he doesn't go off.
GBO!!

johnlg00 writes:

in response to OrangePride:

No, no, no, JOHN!!! Wrong attitude and wrong approach.......again! The VOLS do NOT "just have to be competitive." They need to go down there to BEAT Alabama and not just "do well." Anything less is an unacceptable approach. SC, if they had had a better offense, would have given Alabama a real run for their money. I think the Tennessee offense will show itself much better. And the Tenn defense, with Monte running the show, will also do better. Now hear this. ALABAMA IS NOT INVINCIBLE! They do not throw well and I don't expect them to run up and down the field. If Crompton can run the team as he did last week, this is NOT an unwinable game. GO VOLS, BEAT BAMA!!

I agree that the TEAM should go down there EXPECTING to win. I think Adams' point is that as LONG as they are competitive, they won't lose their mojo for the REST of the season. No doubt you are one of those who believed that our pre-season goal should have been 13-0. That's fine; as the poet said, "A man's reach should exceed his grasp, or what's a heaven for?" The more down-to-earth of us, looking at all the factors that figured into the long, slow decline of the program, realized that this year would be successful if the team showed signs of better discipline, effort, and competitiveness--check, check, and check.

Almost none of that "realistic" group, myself included, expected that we could beat Bama this year. What we wanted more than anything, and were and are pretty sure we could get, would be a better showing than we have put up since Saban took over at Bama. The LAST thing we want or need is for the TEAM to lose badly, get key people hurt, lose their confidence, and stumble down the stretch of what could still be a decent season even AFTER a loss to Bama. If we win, I will be ecstatic, but I can take a loss as long as none of those other things happen. Of course, opinions may vary.

utnoeler writes:

terrible article. i thought hometown reporters were supposed ot be positive about their own team...not sit there and say a loss is inevitable but it will be ok if its close. what a d-bag...if thee is any team we are designed to hang with its alabama. albeit, a tough task, but they (bama) are very very similar to our own team right now, in terms of strengths and weaknesses. "losing is inevitable?" you are a moron.

WeAreTheTide writes:

in response to johnlg00:

Thanks for a classy post from a fan of a respected rival, but are you sure you aren't sandbagging us with that talk of a "tired" team? Who is stronger and deeper at the strength positions than Bama? Some posters on here said the same thing about Bama looking tired against SC, but I saw only the same deliberate, persistent, steady, physically-dominating team Bama has fielded for years. I do believe that UT's only real chance is if the Tide really IS a tired team, but if that was a "tired" Bama team I saw on Saturday, all I can say is that, at the end, SC was an EXHAUSTED team and Bama was still standing. Even so, I expect to see a true Southern gridiron classic, more worthy of the series history than our last few efforts. I certainly join you in hoping no one is seriously hurt. Good luck to the Tide, but GO VOLS!!!

JohnL, amen for the 'respected rival'. As I mentioned in a thread last week, and as a guy who has had a couple of colleagues/friends who are Vol grads who have been by my side for the last 28 years, I'm a man who'd like to put some of the 'venomous and vitriolic' rhetoric (from a few on both sides) of the past few years behind us. I've always had a lot of respect for the Vol Nation and their program, even as I was hating losing 7-8 in a row a few years back. Anyway, I'm not thinking I'm sandbagging. While our 'D' has stood tall even without Dont'a Hightower (knee, out for the year) & Javier Arenas (ribs, day to day) Saturday (man we missed him on KO/punt returns), the 'D' just kept rising to the occasion. Thankfully we're able to rotate DE's, DBs and LBs with not much drop-off. The offense, however, just didn't seem to stay with the blocks like we were seeing earlier in the season. Ingram IS an absolute terror, but to be honest, when we're able to rotate Trent Richardson in with Mark (when Mark's not on fire), they can really wear a 'D' down. We were lucky to beat SC with 4 turnovers and 10 penalties. Hopefully, we can be a bit more disciplined on both counts come Saturday. I'm thinking it's going to be an extremely low scoring game (13-6, maybe 16-10). If we get our passing game on track and EB doesn't get 2 pick-sixes, it might be a little higher scoring than that (by both teams). Any way you slice it, it's going to be a great game in the true Bama-Vol tradition. Good luck to the Vol Nation (after Saturday, of course). Or as you so eloquently put it, "Good luck to the Vols, but RTR"

WATT

WeAreTheTide writes:

in response to Brillovol:

Now here's an opposing fan I can get along with!

This game could get be one of those 9-6 games with the winning field goal coming in the last quarter. Keep in mind that in most every year, regardless of talent differential, this game is decided by less than 10 points. This will be no different because both coaches use the run to set up the pass the same as it's always been.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

I've got goosebumps just thinking about Saturday!!! Ignore the calender, this IS the 3rd Saturday in October!

GBO!

Brillovol , that's the absolute truth. From a 'Bama man's perspective, rarely does a 41-17 or 29-9 game come along these days. The last two years have been the exception to the rule, rather than the norm. I still remember sitting on the edge of the seat of that 9-6 game back in '90 or the 6-3 game 4 years ago. Hey, I'll take another one of those if it comes down to it. ;-) I too see this game as one that is much, much closer. Hopefully, our depth will be the difference. (God, will Saturday ever get here?) ;-)

Good luck Big Orange, but here's hoping 'Bama takes it.

WATT

WeAreTheTide writes:

in response to luvorange:

Seems like the more "tired" Mark Ingram gets, the better he looks. He is the big difference in this game, I think. HOpe he doesn't go off.
GBO!!

luvorange, he'll be a factor, but just how big of one is up to what the Big Orange's D does. He's got a ton of heart and just as much talent, but if you put 8 in the box, that will slow him down. Problem with that is, you have to man-up with our receivers and Holla McGhee. At times, we've been able to hit that, other times (Saturday comes to mind), well...notsomuch. At that point, Bama will have to put our trust and faith in GMac and our stable of receivers and see what happens. Whatever happens, it's going to be a classic game.
Roll Tide, and for my TN friends...Go Vols

WATT

REVOL writes:

in response to WeAreTheTide:

luvorange, he'll be a factor, but just how big of one is up to what the Big Orange's D does. He's got a ton of heart and just as much talent, but if you put 8 in the box, that will slow him down. Problem with that is, you have to man-up with our receivers and Holla McGhee. At times, we've been able to hit that, other times (Saturday comes to mind), well...notsomuch. At that point, Bama will have to put our trust and faith in GMac and our stable of receivers and see what happens. Whatever happens, it's going to be a classic game.
Roll Tide, and for my TN friends...Go Vols

WATT

I'm old enough to remember when this was "the game". There were no message boards, and the fans of both schools didn't hate. It did hurt to lose, it still does. I've seen the Vols have the best team and lose, I've seen the Tide have the best team and lose. It does my heart good to see a fan of another team with respect. I certainly have that for Bama and for you WATT. I think it will be a hard fought game. The difference will probably be depth and we're not there yet. But, we will be. Understand, I'm not ready to concede, after all, these are 18-22 year olds, anything can happen. God Speed, let's tee it up! It's Bama Week!

Go Vols! Beat Bama!

WeAreTheTide writes:

in response to REVOL:

I'm old enough to remember when this was "the game". There were no message boards, and the fans of both schools didn't hate. It did hurt to lose, it still does. I've seen the Vols have the best team and lose, I've seen the Tide have the best team and lose. It does my heart good to see a fan of another team with respect. I certainly have that for Bama and for you WATT. I think it will be a hard fought game. The difference will probably be depth and we're not there yet. But, we will be. Understand, I'm not ready to concede, after all, these are 18-22 year olds, anything can happen. God Speed, let's tee it up! It's Bama Week!

Go Vols! Beat Bama!

REVOL, those were the 'good old days', weren't they? Many thanks for the kind words. The feelings are mutual when it comes to respect for you, your fans and your program. It does my mind good to get out and 'see the world', thus the reason for my visiting your boards. I have many friends on our boards who like to look at 'Bama through 'crimson tinted glasses', and while I enjoy getting right in there with them, I do try to look at our team a bit more realistically, and I hope our players do too. With two close games against two quality opponents these past two weeks (OM and SC), I think 'Bama is adequately grounded, and I don't think we'll be caught looking at anything other than Tennessee. To be sure, this game could go any way and I wouldn't be too surprised, unless the Vols win big. Having said that, the Vols could win a close one or Bama could win a close one (my best guess) or possibly Bama covers the spread. While 'Bama does have the deeper team this time around, it's hard for me to believe the line is as wide as it is (Bama minus 15-16). (If were a betting man, I'd take the Vols and the points). It will be a dogfight (no offense to Smokey), and I don't think I can be convinced otherwise. I mentioned in a thread last week that UT will be getting the players it covets in the next few years, and I expect to see your program back in the upper echelon of the collegiate ranks. Man, I'm ready to get this game underway myself. I don't know how I'm going to make it to Saturday!

Roll Tide and good luck to the Big Orange (after Saturday.)

WATT

OrangePride writes:

in response to johnlg00:

I agree that the TEAM should go down there EXPECTING to win. I think Adams' point is that as LONG as they are competitive, they won't lose their mojo for the REST of the season. No doubt you are one of those who believed that our pre-season goal should have been 13-0. That's fine; as the poet said, "A man's reach should exceed his grasp, or what's a heaven for?" The more down-to-earth of us, looking at all the factors that figured into the long, slow decline of the program, realized that this year would be successful if the team showed signs of better discipline, effort, and competitiveness--check, check, and check.

Almost none of that "realistic" group, myself included, expected that we could beat Bama this year. What we wanted more than anything, and were and are pretty sure we could get, would be a better showing than we have put up since Saban took over at Bama. The LAST thing we want or need is for the TEAM to lose badly, get key people hurt, lose their confidence, and stumble down the stretch of what could still be a decent season even AFTER a loss to Bama. If we win, I will be ecstatic, but I can take a loss as long as none of those other things happen. Of course, opinions may vary.

You're missing my point Johnlg. I have said in numerous blogs that even a 7-5 season this year would be outstanding for this team.....given all that has gone on. My point is that you NEVER go into a game trying to "just be competitive." Even when you are a consensus underdog, you need to walk on that field believing that if you execute your gameplan, you have a chance to win. I understand JA's point, and yours as well, that IF the Vols go on that field and show a competitive, high intensity game, they will have served themselves well and maintain momentum. Do I expect the VOLS to win this game, no. "Expect" is too strong. But do I think they have NO chance or are only living a fantasy to believe they can win? No. As I said, Alabama is NOT invincible, no one is. SO, go with the right mindset, the right gameplan, execute, and know you have our support. GO VOLS. BTW.....your "preseason" team goal is ALWAYS 13-0........unless the coaches and team have few "throwaway" games.

volcap2 writes:

Tacklers seem to bounce off Ingram---Vols gotta wrap him up.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to OrangePride:

You're missing my point Johnlg. I have said in numerous blogs that even a 7-5 season this year would be outstanding for this team.....given all that has gone on. My point is that you NEVER go into a game trying to "just be competitive." Even when you are a consensus underdog, you need to walk on that field believing that if you execute your gameplan, you have a chance to win. I understand JA's point, and yours as well, that IF the Vols go on that field and show a competitive, high intensity game, they will have served themselves well and maintain momentum. Do I expect the VOLS to win this game, no. "Expect" is too strong. But do I think they have NO chance or are only living a fantasy to believe they can win? No. As I said, Alabama is NOT invincible, no one is. SO, go with the right mindset, the right gameplan, execute, and know you have our support. GO VOLS. BTW.....your "preseason" team goal is ALWAYS 13-0........unless the coaches and team have few "throwaway" games.

I've got no problem with anything you say here. It's just that some fans on here are so schizo that they predict blow-out wins in their pre-game posts and then turn around and slam the team afterwards if it somehow fails to back up their bluster. If I erroneously put you in that group, I apologize.

It is sometimes too easy for fans to forget that winning and losing is not always within the power of a team to control. Look at Arkansas v. Florida last Saturday! What the team CAN control is playing well enough and hard enough to DESERVE victory. If they do that, then whether or not they ACTUALLY get the win is less important than the fact that they played in a way that will give them the victory more often than not.

CLK has said all along that while he hopes and expects to win, he is MORE concerned with establishing the habits, mindset, and talent base that will lay the foundation for consistent victory in the future. For now, that is good enough for me.

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