Tennessee Stat Book
The sun came back up for Tennessee.
"It's a little cloudy, but it was up there," Derek Dooley said.
As usual, the game film was popped back in, as well.
"I looked at it about 150 times," the Vols coach said. "It's hard not to look at it over and over, and I looked at the last plays a lot."
Painful as it may have been to see the snaps that cost them an enormous upset at No. 12 LSU, it was business as usual for the Vols on Sunday. The season won't slow down to let UT get over its brutal 16-14 loss on the final snap at Tiger Stadium and another conference road trip is looming this weekend at Georgia (TV: WVLT, 12:21 p.m.), so Dooley and his team took the standard 24 hours to get over some heartache.
Now they have to get back to work and move on.
"We've got to keep things in perspective, that's the most important thing," Dooley said. "When you say anything to remotely compare (that) to, in football, probably not. That's as hard as it gets in football.
"But in life, there's a lot of things that you could make a case where it would be a lot tougher to move on if that happened to me. If we keep it in perspective, then we need to move on. . . . There's nothing you can do but grow and get better."
For nearly 60 minutes, the Vols (2-3, 0-2 SEC) looked like the learning process with such a young roster had sped up as they put themselves in position to knock off the Tigers (5-0, 3-0).
Matt Simms didn't have his finest passing day at quarterback, but he managed the game without a turnover despite facing constant pressure, embraced a bigger role on the ground and ultimately gave UT the lead in the fourth quarter with a 3-yard touchdown run.
Running back Tauren Poole went over 100 yards against a stout rush defense, receiver Gerald Jones provided a spark on third downs in his return from injury and defensively UT forced four turnovers.
The substitution issue that led to the Vols having 13 men on the field to defend what would have been the final play undid all those positives though, and the emotional rollercoaster was clear in the aftermath on Saturday evening. It was all right for it to still be bothering them Sunday afternoon, but with the Bulldogs on deck, the time to think about what slipped away has expired.
"It's so frustrating," linebacker Nick Reveiz said. "I'm speechless. There's no positive, really, that you can take out of this. I don't know how to. It's something that Coach Dooley was talking about - 24 hours, you lick your wounds and then you have to get back on that war trail. That's what we're trying to do, and we're moving on to Georgia.
"You've got to take the punches sometimes. The great thing is that we have another opponent next week, and we're still excited to play. We're going to bring the same intensity."
If they have it, the Vols could finally replace moral victories in the league with the real thing against a Georgia team that has struggled mightily early in the season - including a surprising nonconference loss at Colorado this weekend.
But if they're going to pull it off and get back to .500, the most important thing might be making sure their focus is on this week instead of last. And clearly after two consecutive games dealing with some sort of personnel problem, making sure the Vols can get 11 guys on the field also is high on the list.
"I think the most important thing is that we make sure we do everything right on our end, and we didn't," Dooley said. "If I could say we did everything right on our end and the outcome didn't go our way, maybe I'd have something to gripe (to the officials) about. But we could have done a little better job on our end too.
"Do I think it could have been administered differently? Absolutely. But we're ultimately responsible for doing our part, and we didn't do our part the way it needed to be done."