Defense gets its 'goose-egg' wish

UT defeats UT Martin 50-0, Sept. 4, 2010

Tennessee defensive end Chris Walker got what he wanted Saturday night, and it was a long time coming.

Walker, a senior, finally got a shutout as the Vols held UT Martin to three first downs in a 50-0 victory at Neyland Stadium.

"It means a lot," Walker said. "I told some of the guys that I wanted a goose-egg because I haven't had one since I've been here. It feels great to get one, just to get our confidence level up, knowing we can shut people out."

Another shutout won't be as likely next Saturday night when the Vols play host to Oregon, which beat New Mexico 72-0 Saturday.

That score reverberated in the Vols' postgame interview room.

"I mean, anytime you come out and don't let a team score, no matter who it is, it's going to be a confidence boost for you," Walker said, "but we know that Oregon has great players and is a lot faster than the team we played tonight. We know we'll have to be ready and that just comes with the week of preparation."

UT quickly established its dominance on defense - even when the Skyhawks were working with a short field.

The Skyhawks went three and out on their first possession, but got the ball back when Gerald Jones fumbled the punt and UT Martin's Kendal Harper recovered at the Vols' 36.

Running back Jason McNair, nephew of late Titans quarterback Steve McNair, gained 3 yards on two rushing plays. Derek Carr threw incomplete on third down after being pressured by Walker.

On fourth-and-7, Carr was hurried by linebacker Nick Reveiz, and converted wide receiver/right cornerback Marsalis Teague was credited with the pass breakup.

"The defense was flying around out there pretty good," UT coach Derek Dooley said. "(UT Martin) struggled to block us. I've been there when it's a tough mismatch up front."

The Skyhawks didn't get a first down until their fifth possession.

Carr, facing third-and-7 from his 9, threw across the middle of the field - over the outstretched hands of receiver Maurice Taylor - and into the hands of Chris Thompson for a 30-yard gain.

The drive stalled on third-and-12 when Carr completed a short pass to Taylor, who was tackled immediately by senior linebacker LaMarcus Thompson in perhaps the biggest hit of the first half.

UT Martin had 51 total yards at halftime - 10 rushing yards and 41 yards on Carr's 3-of-11 passing.

"I wasn't surprised," defensive tackle Victor Thomas said of the defensive show. "We've been working on this all camp and we just took care of our business and handled our technique."

The Skyhawks finished with 56 rushing yards and averaged 1.9 yards per carry.

Carr was 9-of-22 passing for 66 yards with two interceptions.

Sophomore strong safety Prentiss Waggner, who led the Vols in tackles with six (four solo, two assists), returned an interception 54 yards for a 50-0 lead early in the fourth quarter.

Even when the Vols went deep into their defensive bench in the fourth quarter, they didn't give up the big play.

"We made a big statement," Thomas said, "and that was we're going to be fine just as long as we take care of our business and stay healthy, we'll be good."

Perhaps the defense still has something to show Oregon.

"I think we were really aggressive," Walker said, "especially for our first game, but we definitely have a lot more things we can pull out on people. We just wanted to come out and have a good showing and come out and run to the football and establish Tennessee defense today."

Dave Link is a freelance contributor.

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Comments » 23

BeatTheHeels writes:

Way to go D!

DannyVol writes:

Good article!

10volunteers98 writes:

I live in North Carolina,and the game wasn`t carried in my area.Congratulations,Vols.Best of luck against Oregon next week.This Vols` defense is going to be good.Justin Wilcox will be more effective than Monte Kiffin.Just give this coaching staff time,and the Vols will be back at the top.This is a young Vols` team.It just takes time.So,when things don`t go our way in some games this season,please show some class and keep the boo birds quiet.The Vols are going to be just fine.Let`s be patient and supportive.GO,VOLS!!!

SpiralBound writes:

The guys on The Vol Network were constantly singing praise for the D-Line and the entire front seven. Granted, UT-Martin didn't quite match up with us the way Oregon, Florida, Alabama, Georgia or South Carolina will, however I was ecstatic to hear Coach Dooley's comments on our defense's tackling, angles, and assignments. It's nice to know we're on our way back to fundamental football.

BigOrangeFreak writes:

in response to VandyGrad:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

If you really are a Vandy grad then you should know how ridiculous your comments are. Vandy stinks! The offense is awful, the defense is barely better--though that is the "strength" of the team--and losing to a crummy NW team at home does not give you license to get on a real football team's board and thump your chest. Had we played Vandy last night, the result would probably not have been much different.

OK, so maybe you guys would have made a field goal or two.

BigOrangeFreak writes:

in response to CrippledCoon:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

From: Rivals.com
Top 120 countdownNo. 112 New Mexico

Still not a bad showing by Oregon, but this game was about as telling as us pasting UT-M.

The season starts next week.

Mule_Days_King writes:

in response to VandyGrad:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I'm sorry, Doug. It will only get worse for you.

Your "notice" about Vandy's team is good humor on a beautiful Sunday morning.

orangeinthegrove writes:

in response to VandyGrad:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Same ole Vandy.....You guys are unparalleled in "moral victories";if there were an award for such a thing you would be perennial national champs. No one can compare to your ability in empty banter which is why you are the laughing stock of the SEC. Let's compare notes after the game is actually played or we can just refer to past history for, let's say 75 - 100 years.....Your call!

VOLliven2it writes:

I realize UTM is no world class opponent gang but our VOL DEFENSE looked HUNGRY and will likely play with a lot of purpose maybe even a chip on their shoulder. I like it!

jparham#484088 writes:

in response to VandyGrad:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Really? I'm 34 years old and I can't remember a season when any team, much less Tennessee, had reason to "fear the Doores." I agree that Martin is no Oregon or Florida, but you can't seriously compare UT and Vandy's out of conference schedules for the last decade and accuse TN of being the team with soft scheduling.

tonyvick#213307 writes:

in response to VandyGrad:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Do you get it. You lost to Northwestern. Northwestern is the Vandy of the Big 10. I don't think UT is too worried about a Vandy that lost to the "Vandy" of the Big 10.

Mule_Days_King writes:

in response to VOLliven2it:

I realize UTM is no world class opponent gang but our VOL DEFENSE looked HUNGRY and will likely play with a lot of purpose maybe even a chip on their shoulder. I like it!

With that said, they probably rolled out about half of their defensive scheme last night. We saw a lot of outside blitzes but not much up the gut. Expect those in the next two weeks.
I absolutely loved the LB play last night. Looked like they sat Nick Reveiz early so to get Probst (sp?) and Austin Johnson some playing time. Johnson might be a hidden gem on that defense.

mountainbrook writes:

in response to VandyGrad:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

UT-Martin would beat Vandy.

Ducksandvolsfan writes:

in response to BigOrangeFreak:

From: Rivals.com
Top 120 countdownNo. 112 New Mexico

Still not a bad showing by Oregon, but this game was about as telling as us pasting UT-M.

The season starts next week.

I am very excited to see my two favorite teams play next week. While both teams had a "preseason" game of sorts, Oregon played a team from the Mountain West, while the Vols played a team from the Ohio Valley Conference.
The Vols D-coordinator, Justin Wilcox (Oregon Alum)is a total stud. He led a defense that shut down Oregon the last two years while at Boise State. Wilcox knows the Ducks and knows how to beat them.
It will be a great time Saturday. One thing for sure, neither team will pitch a shutout.

UTbassdrummer writes:

D did look hungry. I didn't expect any answers last
night, unless the answers were our greatest fears
confirmed. As it turns out, everyone looked like
they knew their assignments, played great together,
etc. If we won amid mass confusion and relying on
raw talent to drag us through a myriad of mistakes
and sloppiness and uninspired play (cough Florida,
cough SoCal) then I would be totally worried. Even
as a glorified scrimmage, we looked strong and
on task.

As for this Vanderbilt non-sense, everyone understands
that you are the flagship, and lone, Vandy troll on here and that it's your "thing" to come on and type about them like they are a legit concern to ANYONE. That you can even manage to type positive words about a opening game loss to NW (who are usually the 6th best in the Big Ten, making a comparison to vanderbilt moot) is actually pretty impressive, but also really sad. So, keep doing your predictable thing and we'll keep saying it's sad and then TN we beat Vanderbilt like always and you will blame it on a few mistakes or whatever and la la la la .

FearTheVols1252 writes:

in response to VandyGrad:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Seeing how Vandy pretty much never beats up on anyone, I have a hard time believing that you wouldn't want to swap roles with UT and actually beat up on someone for a change. Fact of the matter is that any team who plays Vandy has a chance to win. Not the case with UT.

If there were more Vandy fans out there, I'd probably have to move you guys up on the list of being the 'most obnoxious' SEC fans around. You all like to talk trash every year when you have almost no business doing so. Enjoy the cellar once again this year... you all have become quite comfortable there.

VolO writes:

in response to VandyGrad:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

"Laugh at vandy all you like", OK. Aaaaahahahahahahahaha!

Bogytrain writes:

in response to VandyGrad:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

LMFAO!!!! That's good stuff right there!!!

foosballer writes:

in response to VandyGrad:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Agreed on the 'leave your son alone' point...

Otherwise, some funny comments once again. Not sure why anyone would fly to LA last year, since UCLA came to Knoxville...but we'll call that one a brain fart.

But, seriously...the Briscoe comment?? Not a good idea to mention Briscoe RIGHT BEFORE 'men don't attack kids'. Just sayin'...

Mule_Days_King writes:

in response to VandyGrad:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Real mean also know the meaning of humility and know when to stop showing their a**.
You come on here and talk idiocy and then when you are called on it you curl up in the fetal position and cry "FOUL!"

BillyVol writes:

I was at the game, (could not stay away) the crowd was into it, the players were into it, and Dooley was all smiles (not like smirker kittin. I am very proud of this team. Let's play one at a time, and see what happens. The future is bright because of this beginning.
Go Vols, UTM would have beat Vandy.

mytrifecta writes:

We clearly lack depth and experience...however we have good athlete's and always play best when expectations are low. I don't have illusions that we will win more than maybe 6 games. But I love the way this team showed up last night and performed exactly like they should have against an opponent like UTM. Great job by the coaches and players.

IOwnVandyGrad writes:

in response to VandyGrad:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

"VandyGrad" what are you doing on ut's sports website?? Go back to your own website where your pitiful excuse of a "team" tries to make positives out of a loss. Thank the lard your "son" has chosen the right path and attends my school. You need to chill out on the whole "attacking your family" thing. You can't honestly be so ignorant as to think you can come on this website, suggest that Vandy will be in the game with us come November much less win, and not get any resistance. We don't lay down and take the punishment when clueless football fans come on our website and talk trash about our team like your "fanbase" does. This is Big Orange Country vandygrad. You'd do well to remember that.

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