Vols won't be giving Lattimore latitude

South Carolina RB 'wears you down over time'

Game preview: UT vs. South Carolina

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There's no stable of tailbacks or a prolific spread rushing attack to worry about this time.

Just the threat of one guy plowing straight ahead has been enough to give Tennessee yet another cause for concern during a brutal stretch of challenges on defense.

Next in line? A true freshman running back who has wasted little time establishing himself as perhaps the most difficult guy to bring down in the SEC in six short games, seemingly converting pass-happy South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier into a conservative grinder in the process. And though Spurrier obviously still wants the No. 17 Gamecocks to throw it around on Saturday (TV: WVLT, 12:21 p.m.) against Tennessee, having a healthy Marcus Lattimore in the backfield figures to be hard to resist.

And at 4.4 yards per carry with 12 total touchdowns already, he's equally difficult to slow down when he gets rolling.

"One thing that makes a great runner is yards after contact and (Lattimore) outworks a lot of defenders," Vols coach Derek Dooley said. "He's a heavy, physical, tough runner. Everybody makes yards different ways. His way is he's going to get you on an edge and he's going to outwork you.

"He wears you down over time. He's done that to some really good defenses."

Lattimore started with Georgia's early in the season, carrying the Gamecocks (5-2, 3-2 SEC) on his back with 37 carries for 182 yards and two touchdowns in the second game of his career. He followed that up with a rugged 93 yards and two more scores in an upset of then-unbeaten Alabama a few weeks later, thrusting himself almost immediately into the conversation of best rushers at least in the conference.

At this point the Vols (2-5, 0-4) qualify as experts in that field, having faced Alabama's two-headed monster of Trent Richardson and Mark Ingram, LSU's Stevan Ridley, Florida's Jeff Demps and Georgia's Washaun Ealey with various degrees of success - not to mention Oregon's high-octane spread option outside the league. And thanks to a week off to rest an injured ankle, UT's first-hand experience with Lattimore will come with him rested and back at full strength.

"He's a great back, and probably again, one of the best backs we'll see all season," linebacker Nick Reveiz said. "I feel like I've been saying that a whole lot, but it's true. He's a great runner, and it takes a lot of guys to bring him down. He has a lot of strength for an 18-year-old guy, and you don't see that a whole lot.

"No doubt he's a special breed. We're just going to have to gang-tackle, run to the ball, get all 11 guys there - we can't be leaving our teammate with one guy to bring him down, because then he goes to the (end zone). We've got to have more than one guy tackling this dude."

That's been an issue at times for the Vols, who've struggled with some blown assignments and missed tackles and paid dearly - particularly late in games when their lack of depth and experience shows up.

The challenge has been even greater lately when teams add a talented receiver to the mix, forcing the Vols to pick between an extra safety in the box to stop the run or using him to defend the pass. Alshon Jeffery certainly fits that bill for the Gamecocks, which will put even more pressure on UT's front-seven to make sure it doesn't need to call in reserves from the secondary.

"I think (the tackling) has been improved," defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox said. "A lot of that has to do with our mental intensity and focus. Tackling is ability and toughness.

"We practice it a lot and the guys have done a nice job. We've tackled basically every day we've been in pads, and we'll continue to do that if it's an issue. You're not always going to be perfect, especially when you're playing against good teams and good players."

Matching up with them is clearly nothing new by now. Lattimore is simply next in line.

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Comments » 25

ProwlinAndGrowlinSmokeyDog writes:

I am hopeful: UT 24 SC 21

BUT I am realistic as well: SC 31 UT 17

GBO!!!

Loud_Proud writes:

Woah woah woah..i just read something very disturbing. Did Coach Wilcoz just say what i think he said? That Tennessee will continue to tackle in practice if in continues to be an issue? No coach, that is the wrong mentality. You should tackle EVERY practice, to make sure it doesn't BECOME an issue..bass ackwards. wow..

Loud_Proud writes:

in response to Loud_Proud:

Woah woah woah..i just read something very disturbing. Did Coach Wilcoz just say what i think he said? That Tennessee will continue to tackle in practice if in continues to be an issue? No coach, that is the wrong mentality. You should tackle EVERY practice, to make sure it doesn't BECOME an issue..bass ackwards. wow..

*Wilcox and *it. Sorry

TommyJack writes:

Is there no cheese line the headine writer won't cross?

Voluvr writes:

Okay CDD and CJW, coach yourself...what would you do vs. you. Throw right into the flat, or run off left tackle, or maybe deep left post?

Fryinpansvols writes:

"Experts in the field"? Hardly! Coach Wilcox and Defense prove something to your fan base and maybe we'll start believing that. We could blitz all day with Herman Lathers and company, but South Carolina will more than likely run draws to counter our blitz or throw it to one of their talented receivers. Early prediction and I hope I'm wrong!

South Carolina 34
Tennessee 10

mercyseat writes:

Hey Wilcox, YOUR DEFENSE SUCKS!!!!!!!!!!!!
They need all the practice they can get tackling!!!

ProwlinAndGrowlinSmokeyDog writes:

in response to Navalorange:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

What you said, Navalorange!!!

OrangePsyched writes:

I agree with navalorange and prowlin. Our frontrunner fans have run amuck. I see 16 freshmen playing last week and I have hope. We will have a great class next year also. These coaches are doing a great job of recruiting and doing all they can with limited personnel. We better bring it this weekend as Spurrier is licking his chops hoping to run up the score on us. Here's rooting to see the ole flying visor.

tedstryker1980 writes:

in response to Navalorange:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

What do we want Wilcox and Chaney to accomplish? How about consistently putting the correct number of players on the field? Is that asking too much? Try not to have our players get penalized 4 or 5 times out of 6 plays during a possession.. Maybe an SEC win, that would be nice... may not happen though. Asking too much I guess... Although if Jacksonville State can beat Ole Miss we might have an outside shot.

BigVolFaninSC writes:

in response to Navalorange:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Some of these so-called "fans" have absolutely no patience! I guess they believe that a coach can come in and part the Red Sea! We're good enough for the first half of games this year!...maybe next year we can stretch that to 3 quarters! Still, the impatient "fans" will be calling for heads to roll again! I try to ignore those types because it's obvious that they print out of ignorance!

TommyJack writes:

in response to UofTNFan:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

yessir

WinkeyVol writes:

Watching the Alabama replay I noticed Chad Cunningham counting Tennessee's number of players on the field before the ball was snapped on the long Palardy field goal attempt.I was really impressed.Was this a coaching adjustment?

tedstryker1980 writes:

in response to UofTNFan:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I couldn't agree more. The fans who show such blind faith in Dooley strike me as incredibly ignorant. He appears in completely over his head.

BJ writes:

in response to ALL negative posters. GET A LIFE or go troll somewhere else. A True life long Volunteer fan knows enough about football and the history of Tennessee football to recognize that what declined in the last 4 years will take several years to rebuild. Coaches are doing the job with the players we have. I have been proud of how our team has performed for the most part yes there have been some inexperienced mistakes and bonehead things happen but the experience our young freshman are getting will pay big dividends in the future for Tennessee Football, plus the recruits that will come on board this year give Coach Dooley sometime you can not judge him or his staff based on this year. If we are not improved and challenging for the East Title in a couple of years then start asking questions. Until then be a TRUE FAN and get behind your Coach and Team I for one will be i the stands Saturday LOUD and PROUD as Orange as I can be encouraging my team on. Who knows remember who played SC a few weeks ago and who was the underdog then , but who won. That is why we play the game GO VOLS !!!!!

orangecountyvols writes:

in response to Navalorange:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Navalorange,

Always enjoy reading what you and PL3 plus other real Vol fans have to say. Keep it up.............and hang in there Vols

Volunatic writes:

in response to Navalorange:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

It was a good reply, too.

Volunatic writes:

in response to UofTNFan:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I'd say we have some of each, and some posters here fit both categories.

usnavyvol writes:

in response to tedstryker1980:

I couldn't agree more. The fans who show such blind faith in Dooley strike me as incredibly ignorant. He appears in completely over his head.

I will show blind faith to each and every coach in every UT sport. As a student there I had no say in who the coach was and as best I can recall, as a lifelong fan they never asked me the help select a coach. what I am tired of though are those who think that CDD and his staff are in over their heads. Our great General could not transform this team to meet the unrealistic goals of the fan base. With the state of the football program now, and the fact the CDD and staff have not been on the job here very long, for you and everyone else to continually say "CDD" is over his head cannot be considered a true statement and is just plain stupid.

usnavyvol writes:

in response to MerlOT_GoVols:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

No mention of respect. That's something you gotta earn, but you have to give the person time to do it his/her way and earn the respect, or crash and burn. CDD, in regards to some in the fan base has not been given and will not be given a proper chance to make any sort of changes and see if he can turn the program around.

Ayres_Hall writes:

The complaing by the legion of the miserable is deafening. I wonder how many of the miserable bunch really thought we would be better than 2-5 at this point?

Wilcox would need much more than 250 lbs. DTs, 230 lbs. DEs and 215 lbs. LBs to win against top 10 teams/talent.

I hope you all become Bama fans because you got the stupidity to match 'em.

VOLNCAL writes:

If you need to drive a nail, you get a hammer. Well, if the tool box doesn't have a hammer, you may be forced to use a wrench, till you get a hammer. Let CDD get his tool box in order. I am as disappointed as most fans, but, I haven't lost my love for the game and team. CDD, get those tools.

VOLNCAL writes:

in response to Navalorange:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Navalorange, I'm with ya. Hate to bring up a sore subject, but, the lapse in the LSU game still has me puzzled. Why wasn't there someone on the field (player) to count and ensure the right amount of players were accounted for? How about a coach on the side line sending in replacements counting to ensure the proper amount of players were on the field? Bottom line, the owness falls to the senior leadership on the field. The players can fix this.

Volunatic writes:

in response to Ayres_Hall:

The complaing by the legion of the miserable is deafening. I wonder how many of the miserable bunch really thought we would be better than 2-5 at this point?

Wilcox would need much more than 250 lbs. DTs, 230 lbs. DEs and 215 lbs. LBs to win against top 10 teams/talent.

I hope you all become Bama fans because you got the stupidity to match 'em.

Most of them probably already have mullets, too.

hueypilot writes:

I think the Vol's last year's stomping of SC was as embarassing to Spurrier as any defeat he's ever suffered. Maybe only ranking just behind our win in 2001 and when Nebraska ran all over his Florida team in 1996. We ambushed them and whipped 'em good. There will be no mercy in this one. If the Gamecocks can hang 50 on us, Spurrier will let them do it.
This will be the season of the most lopsided we vs. them scores in Tennessee football history. I have no doubt about that.

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