Jones makes difference on 3rd down

Tennessee wide receiver Gerald Jones makes a run before stepping out of bounds during the game against Louisiana State University at Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge, La., Saturday, Oct. 2, 2010.

Photo by Adam Brimer

Tennessee wide receiver Gerald Jones makes a run before stepping out of bounds during the game against Louisiana State University at Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge, La., Saturday, Oct. 2, 2010.

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Nearly converting half of its third downs Saturday against LSU wasn't enough to move Tennessee out from 117th in the nation in conversion percentage.

But it was a boost of confidence, coach Derek Dooley said, a push in the right direction caused by more productive first and second downs.

UT was 7-of-15 on third downs against LSU. Take away a third-and-27 in the second quarter, and the Vols averaged third-and-5 on the other 14 possession downs. Against UAB, when the Vols were just 2-for-15, their average teetered toward third-and-10.

On third-and-6 or longer this season, UT is 2-for-46.

"It's unbelievable," quarterback Matt Simms said. "We couldn't do anything on third down against UAB but for some reason against the best defense in our conference we came up big and made plays."

Though the distances were mostly shorter, the No. 1 reason behind the Vols' success on third downs Saturday was nearly unanimous among Dooley and UT's players.

The return of wide receiver Gerald Jones provided a spark to the offense and a trusted target for Simms in the biggest times of need. Three of Jones' five catches came on third downs and all were long enough to move the chains.

Simms said Jones brought "a swagger" to the huddle and "ignited" UT's offense.

"He makes a difference throwing the ball because of his experience, his dependability, he's strong, he's physical, he's got good hands," Dooley said. "We obviously went right to him, we'd be pretty stupid if we didn't."

Jones said the key to his success on third downs centers on his move to the slot, where "I have a lot of field to work with."

"I've got a lot of options, either to cut inside or go outside, it's my choice," Jones said. "I'm kind of like a Wes Welker-type guy. I can work in space."

Contingency Plan: One day after he said he didn't have much of a plan in case left tackle Dallas Thomas (ankle) was unavailable Saturday against Georgia, Dooley tinkered with his offensive linemen during Tuesday's practice.

Dooley said he moved right tackle Ja'Wuan James to Thomas' spot for portions of practice and also used redshirt freshman Daniel Hood, a Knoxville Catholic product. When James played at left tackle, starting right guard Jarrod Shaw slid over to right tackle and freshman Zach Fulton took over for Shaw.

"The problem is you can't put anyone somewhere and work them," Dooley said. "A guy gets dinged up and it messes up all the parts."

Dooley said Thomas was "still limping around" and is "day to day."

Back In Action: Cornerback Naz Oliver was back on the practice field for the first time since spring football.

OIiver, who didn't wear pads or face contact, underwent surgery to reconstruct a torn anterior cruciate ligament in May, one month after the redshirt freshman injured his knee in the Orange and White game.

Dooley said the best-case scenario would have Oliver ready for Tennessee's game at South Carolina at the end of the month.

On Ice: Daniel Lincoln, who was unavailable Saturday at LSU because of a quadriceps injury, did not kick at practice, Dooley said.

"He's still hurt," Dooley said. "There's a good chance he won't kick again this game. I don't know, we will see later in the week."

Tough Road Behind, Ahead: Tennessee's schedule to date is considered the fourth toughest in the nation, according to the latest Sagarin ratings.

The Vols, who are ranked the 47th best team in the nation in the rankings, have played three teams (Oregon, Florida and LSU) that were ranked in the top 10 of either the Associated Press or ESPN/USA Today coaches polls. Games against No. 1 Alabama (Oct. 23) and at No. 19 South Carolina (Oct. 30) have yet to be factored.

Oregon State, which lost games at No. 4 Boise State and against No. 5 TCU on a neutral site, has the toughest schedule in the country, according to the rankings.

The Vols are second in the SEC behind Vanderbilt, which has had the second-toughest draw in the nation.

The Sagarin ratings were developed by Jeff Sagarin of USA Today and are one of the polls used in computing a team's BCS ranking.

Andrew Gribble can be reached at 865-342-6327.

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Comments » 40

bluetick writes:

Having Jones back is a real blessing for this team. He knows how to be a play maker. Go to some of the other sites and you'll find people who bash him and do anything than say something good about him. I just don't understand how some people think. Thanks GJ for your efforts and glad you're a Vol! BEAT GEORGIA!

UTbassdrummer writes:

Still interested in firing a few rounds out of the G-Gun, please?

volsfannsc writes:

in response to UTbassdrummer:

Still interested in firing a few rounds out of the G-Gun, please?

Not to be negative, but I dont think we have the offensive line for the G-Gun. Maybe next year.
When Jones says he has options where he can cut left or right, to me that indicates to me that Simms has to wait on that cut to deliver the ball. I know timing passes are risky, but they give us a chance to gain yards after the catch. When our receivers hook in, its a foot race out of the starting blocks. Yes, Im arm chairing and I am opposed to that. There are too many elements I simply dont know about. Glad Jones is in the lineup- it gives me great confidence on the couch.

iowavol writes:

I like his comparison to Welker - very fair. He's that type of player and will likely make it to Sunday play. Stay healthy G Jones.

jobrando#216494 writes:

Sounds to me like Lincoln needs to take the season off with the nagging injury he has. Sad ending to a promising future.

OhioValleyVol writes:

Go Vols - BELIEVE!

gnm53108 writes:

in response to bluetick:

Having Jones back is a real blessing for this team. He knows how to be a play maker. Go to some of the other sites and you'll find people who bash him and do anything than say something good about him. I just don't understand how some people think. Thanks GJ for your efforts and glad you're a Vol! BEAT GEORGIA!

Agree.Glad to have Gerald back.

But against the dawgs were gonna have to be able run the damn ball.

scubadad1 writes:

in response to volsfannsc:

Not to be negative, but I dont think we have the offensive line for the G-Gun. Maybe next year.
When Jones says he has options where he can cut left or right, to me that indicates to me that Simms has to wait on that cut to deliver the ball. I know timing passes are risky, but they give us a chance to gain yards after the catch. When our receivers hook in, its a foot race out of the starting blocks. Yes, Im arm chairing and I am opposed to that. There are too many elements I simply dont know about. Glad Jones is in the lineup- it gives me great confidence on the couch.

like i used to tell me children,' never saw a can't that could'. we can't do this, we can't do that. the way i look at it is, nothing ventured, nothing gained. funny how teams over the years could run the 'wildcat' with less talent than we have right now and were successful. now is exactly the time to try something different. it's hard for us to run over folks, so give them something they have to prepare for. i have never understood, the 'we can't attitude'.

GeneralNeyland96redux writes:

in response to UTbassdrummer:

Still interested in firing a few rounds out of the G-Gun, please?

If..and ONLY if they're willing to do something other than a QB Draw from the formation....if you can't have a passing threat back there, GJ would get mauled.

TKG_VOL writes:

Question. Just curious on the ruling. Say if LSU had a penality on that 13 member play, for instance holding not a motion penality, would LSU have gotten another play since there was a penality on our defence or would they offset and time run out and GAME OVER?

VOLliven2it writes:

Exactly what I was hoping from from Gerald as he returned. Now I hope we see him do more and get us in the end zone against the Dogs. I also hope his return enables the younger receivers to step up. GO BIG ORANGE!

volsfannsc writes:

in response to scubadad1:

like i used to tell me children,' never saw a can't that could'. we can't do this, we can't do that. the way i look at it is, nothing ventured, nothing gained. funny how teams over the years could run the 'wildcat' with less talent than we have right now and were successful. now is exactly the time to try something different. it's hard for us to run over folks, so give them something they have to prepare for. i have never understood, the 'we can't attitude'.

Good point. I'll take my optimism pill.

Ayres_Hall writes:

Good thing we have Georgia this week so we can get back to rolling out the QB and running the misdirections.

RemembertheAlamo writes:

One Pass to Justin Hunter the whole game, great speed, good hands, and we don't use him. Great Play calling Chaney! Duh!

johnlg00 writes:

in response to RemembertheAlamo:

One Pass to Justin Hunter the whole game, great speed, good hands, and we don't use him. Great Play calling Chaney! Duh!

Just my guess, but it may be that as a freshman, Hunter doesn't know all his possible routes and LSU defended him well on the ones he does know. Besides, Simms hasn't had a lot of time to search for receivers out there. I'm as high on Hunter's potential as anyone, but there aren't a whole lot of Julio Jones's and AJ Greens out there who can star as freshmen. Unlike those guys, Hunter was not touted as a world-beater coming out of HS. I will bet he will be a LOT better next year. The more I have seen of him, the sorrier I am that we didn't get Alshon Jeffries of South Carolina.

cloudodust writes:

in response to VandyGrad:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I hear you aced Arsehole 101 at Vandy...

ProwlinAndGrowlinSmokeyDog writes:

It seems to me that our offense plays so much better with GJ in the game...Not only with his athletic abilities but his leadership skills as well is a tremendous boost for the team..I am so proud of how he represents this team..He could very well be the difference maker in this game.

I would like to see the G-Gun a few times but in more than one form..The option may work a couple times, but if the other team knows what is coming, then it does absolutely no good.

ProwlinAndGrowlinSmokeyDog writes:

in response to cloudodust:

I hear you aced Arsehole 101 at Vandy...

A piece of advice from a fellow Vol fan..Don't waste your time on this "person" because he isn't worth your valuable time.

CTVol writes:

in response to VandyGrad:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

"Fear the Big East!" You're a loser just like your football program.

MilitaryBrat writes:

Good interview with actor David Keith.

http://www.cbssports.com/video/player...

UTbassdrummer writes:

Regarding the debate on the G-Gun, I
understand that there are reasons that
it shouldn't work, but a lot of stuff is
working for us that shouldn't be. I do
appreciate all the feedback, though, bc
I hadn't really considered the cut routes
as an alternative that eleminates the g-gun
entirely. I guess I'm the kind of person
who believes it can work until I see it
fail.

Plus, they said they'd be working it in.
Honestly, I guess I see our young dudes
within reach of some really exciting victory
and I like knowing we're using all of our
potential weapons to secure these games.

That being said, I loved having GJ on the
move Saturday and can't wait to see it again.
He/Denarius and Matt seem to have that
chemistry. Ggun or not, I am really excited.

givehim6 writes:

in response to VandyGrad:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

And who is it UT's been playing? now if UT had been playing all non ranked teams yes there might be a call for concern. UT'S played 5 games 3 have been ranked in the top 10. We played a good game against UF and almost pulled the upset on LSU and were playing with fr. & soph. Go troll some where else.

Volunatic writes:

Vanderbilt will always have one of the toughest schedules in the SEC, largely because they don't get to play Vanderbilt.

illinoisvolfan writes:

in response to naffy:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

He's a lifelong Tennessee fan, successful, and not you. Therefore, you wouldn't understand.

orangecountyvols writes:

in response to naffy:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

To answer your question...........first if YOU don't know who David Keith is.......you just proved to us your ignorance. Next, you are not part of WE. We care, but since you are not part of the Volunteer nation, you are irrelevant.

Ok now, aside from wasting time talking to another troll such as this one, we keep hearing we just played the best defense in the SEC. I kinda' wonder about that. Seems to me Alabama, although I hate to admit it, has a better D and when those two play, it'll probably be proven.

Finally, CDD would love to stick it to the Dawgs for what happened to Vince, along with other obvious reasons to beat UGA.

LibertyVolance writes:

I am feeling good about this team, in a year where steady progress is the best to hope for and the good breaks haven't gone our way. The one thing 18 and 19 yr olds aren't lacking in is lots of energy. 4th toughest schedule in the country, yet our Vols are not wilting. They are becoming a energetic team under a new energetic coaching staff. Growing together, we will get better. Let's think positive thoughts and let those neurons flow to Athens with them. Beat Georgia! Go Vols!

illinoisvolfan writes:

in response to naffy:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

The last thing I remember seeing DK in was an episode of NCIS. He played a navy officer whose blind daughter was kidnapped and it turns out in the end he orchestrated the whole thing for the reward money. Some people might see a bit of a parallel between that and Coach Fulmer's last few years with the Vols. You make the call...

MilitaryBrat writes:

It's not about whether you or anyone cares about David Keith. It is about someone who is a true fan of the Vols, who is saying positive things about Tennessee in the media.

TommyJack writes:

in response to naffy:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Ellison. You need to find a hobby.

cloudodust writes:

in response to ProwlinAndGrowlinSmokeyDog:

A piece of advice from a fellow Vol fan..Don't waste your time on this "person" because he isn't worth your valuable time.

Yeah, I know but I couldn't help myself. Allow me that one simple pleasure today and I promise never to give him/her the thrill of a response again. Promise...GBO

ProwlinAndGrowlinSmokeyDog writes:

in response to cloudodust:

Yeah, I know but I couldn't help myself. Allow me that one simple pleasure today and I promise never to give him/her the thrill of a response again. Promise...GBO

I understand because I used to respond directly to him until recently..Now when I have to respond, I don't do it directly...I just respond to him in my own post.

NovemberNed writes:

Obviously those defending David Keith have never met David Keith. He is the most narcissistic meathead. Trust me. You do not want this guy representing the University of Tennessee.

illinoisvolfan writes:

in response to naffy:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I don't think I have the same access to programming that you do, Rob E. That fact will probably keep the cops away from my door later in life.

tdvol1989 writes:

in response to tweetdriver63#346474:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I am so disappointed that it took 4 posts to get to the truth. If one of the worst 3rd down offenses in the nation can convert about 1/2 against you, hmmmmm...

CarlChilders writes:

Dang! 47th best in the nation? Weren't we rated lower than that last year or during those years with the Outback bowl losses?

VolFanInTheBoro (Inactive) writes:

everyone should realize that naffy is nothing but an instigating pot stirring piece of phooey. Of course he knows who David Keith is. He is obviously a troll that only likes to get people riled up. Ignore the trash and it will blow away

VolGrad writes:

in response to naffy:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

So, you WERE born yesterday, eh?

GBO!

VolGrad writes:

in response to naffy:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Thanks to IMDB:

"David Keith was born in Knoxville, Tennessee where he currently resides. He owns a cattle ranch in Tellico Plains, Tennessee. He graduated from the University of Tennessee with a Bachelor of Arts in Speech and Theater."

smyrnavol writes:

nappy, David Keith has more orange in his left pinky than you could hope to have in your entire life. at least he has the great orange power "T" ( if i'm not mistaken) in every show i've ever seen him in.

NovemberNed writes:

David Keith is a narcissistic meathead. Those defending him have obviously never met him. You do not want this guy representing Tennessee. Trust me.

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