Strange: Word of the week: Speed

Mike Strange

Dooley, Simms recap UT Martin

I wish I had kept track Monday of how many times the words "speed" or "fast" were used to describe Oregon at Tennessee's media session.

It was at least 72, equalling the number of points the Ducks scored against New Mexico.

It might have been 720, matching Oregon's yardage against the Lobos.

"Speed, speed and more speed,'' was what quarterback Matt Simms saw.

"Their speed. They're really fast,'' was what impressed linebacker Austin Johnson.

Derek Dooley gets the final word:

"They are a fast, fast football team.''

You've got to be fast to gain 720 yards on anyone. The Ducks topped the nation on opening weekend by a whopping margin of 104 yards over runner-up Air Force's 616.

But the Ducks don't just run fast. They play fast.

"When they go on a 10-play drive it takes 'em about two minutes,'' said Dooley. "It's the fastest offense you'll see.''

"If we go on a 10-play drive, it may take us a quarter to get it done, which is fine with me.''

Dooley is a self-professed old-school coach to a large extent. Field position and clock management weigh heavily in his game management.

"This throws all that out the window,'' he said.

So what should fans at Neyland Stadium and an ESPN2 national audience expect Saturday night?

A track meet or a battle of wills?

Oregon's rich track tradition is more known for distance aces like Steve Prefontaine or Alberto Salazar. But on the gridiron, the Ducks can sprint.

Cliff Harris returned punts 61 and 64 yards for touchdowns on consecutive touches against New Mexico. That isn't even included in the 720 yards of total offense.

Furthermore, Harris isn't even the No. 1 return guy. He was subbing for Kenjon Barner, who was subbing at tailback for LaMichael James. After rushing for 147 yards and scoring five touchdowns, I can see why Barner needed a blow on special teams.

Now James is back from a one-game suspension and ready to run on fresh legs against the Vols.

"Probably them and Alabama are the two best running-back combinations you'll see in the country,'' said Dooley.

If nothing else, chasing James and the other Ducks should be good preparation for the following week's visit from Florida's Jeff Demps, a for-real NCAA sprint champion.

The Vols, meanwhile, have several cards they hope to play.

One, their new defensive coordinator, Justin Wilcox, comes from Boise State where he coached against Oregon twice.

Two, UT's offense was fairly prolific in the opener. Granted, against an overmatched defense, but the same was true for Oregon.

"We need to help our defense out as much as we can,'' said tailback Tauren Poole.

Three, playing in the SEC means speed is on the menu every week.

"It's not like we haven't seen this speed before,'' said Johnson. "We're a fast team, an extremely fast team, so we should be able to match their speed.''

There. Fast and fast. Anybody want to make it three references to Tennessee's speed?

Not Dooley. Not yet:

"I want to see it against the Oregons of the world, and in our league, before I give an answer to that.''

Mike Strange may be reached at strangem@knoxnews.com or 865-342-6726.

Get Copyright Permissions © 2010, Knoxville News Sentinel Co.
Want to use this article? Click here for options!

© 2010 govolsxtra.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Discuss
  • Print

Related Topics

Comments » 20

wigmeister writes:

Just need to hit people........HARD!

OrangeSkinWhiteBlood writes:

WE PLAY IN THE SEC, WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN?? PLENTY OF SPEED.....Oh and by the way the PAC def doesn't hit as hard as the SEC either......so bring on the "speed"....jeez boring article

nola_vol writes:

POSITIVE: "[Our] new defensive coordinator, Justin Wilcox, comes from Boise State where he coached against Oregon twice."

NEGATIVE: Oregon's offense has twice faced Justin Wilcox defenses. (Fortunately, I don't think Wilcox is a one-trick-pony, or married to a single defensive scheme.)

Going into this game feels like taking the first class in your major... we know we're gonna learn something important to our future, we just don't know how we're gonna like it.

hardKnoxLife writes:

I guess we shouldn't even play the game. We should just forfeit the game so that the speed of Oregon's players doesn't create a rip in the time space continium and cause a vortex that absorbs Neyland stadium.

If Oregon is so fast and powerful, I should see their name listed in the BCS title game every year, but I don't. Who do I see? Ummm...Florida, LSU, Florida, Alabama, anyone see a pattern here?

Gimme a break!

GO VOLS!

rootin4volz writes:

Smack. Them. In. The. Mouth. That'll slow their azzes down!

DERELICK_MY_VOLS writes:

Oregon this Oregon that....we are going to lose blah, blah, blah....I'm tired of it already.

SpiralBound writes:

When I think about Oregon I'm not sure if I should GO or YIELD. I say we let CJW let OUR speed and OUR tackling show a little and send anyone wearing GREEN and YELLOW back to Oregon on neck boards.

UTByrd writes:

I am continually amazed at how many times Oregon's name pops up on high caliber recruits list of schools to be considered. They have quality depth which is probably going to help them beat UT. Let's hope they are over-confident coming into Neyland Stadium (as well as severely jet-lagged).
Go VOLS!!!!!

volsfan74 writes:

in response to OrangeSkinWhiteBlood:

WE PLAY IN THE SEC, WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN?? PLENTY OF SPEED.....Oh and by the way the PAC def doesn't hit as hard as the SEC either......so bring on the "speed"....jeez boring article

You are correct we do play in the SEC and unfortunately the teams in the SEC with the most speed last year beat us, yes we were in the game with bummer and gayterds but they still won. I think we will hang but chasing that speed with the lack of depth will show in the 4th qtr.

Pompey writes:

.....UT beating the Ducks makes no sense what so ever.....yet, there is something that keeps me from throwing in the towel.....can't quite put my finger on it.

Greenblood writes:

in response to UTByrd:

I am continually amazed at how many times Oregon's name pops up on high caliber recruits list of schools to be considered. They have quality depth which is probably going to help them beat UT. Let's hope they are over-confident coming into Neyland Stadium (as well as severely jet-lagged).
Go VOLS!!!!!

Why are you amazed? As if the SEC is the only conference that can snag top recuits? Nah, in all reality, it's the uniforms! The players love 'em.

Highlands_Whisky writes:

I want to see JJ lay the wood to Barner or James, adding another Big Hit to his resume. Brandon James knows how hard JJ can hit.

The image of Knowshon cutting back against the grain, only to be met by Berry's shoulder and knocked out of the game, is forever etched in my memory. Would love to see JJ twist a Duck's head around as they pop through the OL.

Goosebumps, man! Can't attend the game this weekend as we are at Defcon 5 with my super pregnant wife. I will, however, be pouring Woodford Reserve down my gullet at a medically-unsafe pace!

GO VOLS! DOOLEY SWAGGER!

gtownvol writes:

Too bad this game isn't being played about 3 o'clock in the afternoon. Then UT could take advantage of the drastic time change and the 90 degree heat with Oregon having to stand in the cooker. I noticed the normal high temp in Eugene this time of year is around 70. Our low for Saturday night may not get down to 70. Take it to 'em Vols. GBO!

GangGreen writes:

As a PAC-10 fan I can't wait to see this game. There has always been talk about how superior the SEC is in their speed and defense. Saturday will see that wall crumble. The reason the defenses are so highly rated is because the offenses, for the most part, are inept compared to other conferences. You will also see a very good Oregon defense as well. I expect this to be a very low scoring affair for Tennessee and about a three touchdown win for Oregon. As a side note though, as far as SEC fans are concerned, you Volunteers are heads and shoulders above the rest. Enjoy the game and Go Ducks!!

Mule_Days_King writes:

in response to GangGreen:

As a PAC-10 fan I can't wait to see this game. There has always been talk about how superior the SEC is in their speed and defense. Saturday will see that wall crumble. The reason the defenses are so highly rated is because the offenses, for the most part, are inept compared to other conferences. You will also see a very good Oregon defense as well. I expect this to be a very low scoring affair for Tennessee and about a three touchdown win for Oregon. As a side note though, as far as SEC fans are concerned, you Volunteers are heads and shoulders above the rest. Enjoy the game and Go Ducks!!

Awww, gee. Thanks. I mean that's just nice. I'll be glad to take your so-called three touchdown win just as long as you are nice about it on here. You are so kind.
Give me a freaking break.
And you will be introduced to smash mouth football courtesy of our O-Line that outweighs your D-line by an average 50-60 pounds.
Hope your team enjoys substantial doses of Oku and Poole.

Pound the rock!!

GangGreen writes:

in response to Mule_Days_King:

Awww, gee. Thanks. I mean that's just nice. I'll be glad to take your so-called three touchdown win just as long as you are nice about it on here. You are so kind.
Give me a freaking break.
And you will be introduced to smash mouth football courtesy of our O-Line that outweighs your D-line by an average 50-60 pounds.
Hope your team enjoys substantial doses of Oku and Poole.

Pound the rock!!

I was just trying to soften the blow, but OK. Ya'll don't stand a chance and the supposed SEC dominance is going to be exposed, just like it was when USC played the SEC. You will see what happens when your so called physical defenses actually play an offense with a pulse. What I really hope for is to get LSU scheduled for the season opener next season (they have pulled out the last two times Oregon scheduled them), but Tennessee will suffice for now.

oldmanrivers writes:

in response to Mule_Days_King:

Awww, gee. Thanks. I mean that's just nice. I'll be glad to take your so-called three touchdown win just as long as you are nice about it on here. You are so kind.
Give me a freaking break.
And you will be introduced to smash mouth football courtesy of our O-Line that outweighs your D-line by an average 50-60 pounds.
Hope your team enjoys substantial doses of Oku and Poole.

Pound the rock!!

A Duck fan here. Agree with your assessment of pounding the rock, with your inexperienced offense, you want to keep the ball as long as possible, run the clock, and hope for a few Duck mistakes, rattle their inexperienced QB and make it close into the fourth quarter. Should be a good measuring stick for both teams. If the Ducks keep away from turnovers, think it will be a long day for UT. If UT can come up with a dominant run game, the Ducks could be out of water. Ducks by 10.

godux writes:

in response to Mule_Days_King:

Awww, gee. Thanks. I mean that's just nice. I'll be glad to take your so-called three touchdown win just as long as you are nice about it on here. You are so kind.
Give me a freaking break.
And you will be introduced to smash mouth football courtesy of our O-Line that outweighs your D-line by an average 50-60 pounds.
Hope your team enjoys substantial doses of Oku and Poole.

Pound the rock!!

I think the humidity has short-circuited the UT fans minds.......advantage Ducks. A three touchdown win is being nice. And you're not going to be the only one that's going to need a "freakin break". Those rather large D-linemen are going to need one too as they are attempting to pick their extra 50-60 pounds off the turf.

Shake_Bake writes:

in response to hardKnoxLife:

I guess we shouldn't even play the game. We should just forfeit the game so that the speed of Oregon's players doesn't create a rip in the time space continium and cause a vortex that absorbs Neyland stadium.

If Oregon is so fast and powerful, I should see their name listed in the BCS title game every year, but I don't. Who do I see? Ummm...Florida, LSU, Florida, Alabama, anyone see a pattern here?

Gimme a break!

GO VOLS!

Man you make a great point!!!

The SEC is by far the strongest conference in the country!

Go VOLS!

UtahDuck writes:

in response to GangGreen:

I was just trying to soften the blow, but OK. Ya'll don't stand a chance and the supposed SEC dominance is going to be exposed, just like it was when USC played the SEC. You will see what happens when your so called physical defenses actually play an offense with a pulse. What I really hope for is to get LSU scheduled for the season opener next season (they have pulled out the last two times Oregon scheduled them), but Tennessee will suffice for now.

GangGreen, you need to stop running your mouth. Physical defense is exactly what shuts down our offense (see Boise State, Ohio State). We'll find out on Saturday if the Vol defense is physical enough to slow us down, so how about letting the players do your talking for you?

Looking forward to a good game, Vol fans, wish I could be there. I think our depth counters your heat/humidity, and Oregon players know all about noise. If our run game is clicking, I think we pull away in the 3rd. If not, I see a low scoring grinder of a game, with the edge to Tennessee for the more experienced QB.

Want to participate in the conversation? Become a subscriber today. Subscribers can read and comment on any story, anytime. Non-subscribers will only be able to view comments on select stories.

Features