John Adams: SEC offenses will extend UT's defense

John Adams

The size and athleticism of Tennessee's newly enlisted freshman defenders already has been noted just a few days into full-contact drills. If the Vols also had recruited experience,their fans could really get excited.

Recruiting bigger, more athletic players is a good start. But it's not a solution to the varied challenges posed by SEC offenses.

You want power football? Watch the Big Ten.

You want to see the spread? Look anywhere.

You want variety? The SEC has it.

Don't take my word for it. Check with the guys who have to stop the offenses as exotic as the one Gus Malzahn dreams up at Auburn or as brutally simple as the one that might carry Alabama to another national championship.

When Alabama's hands the ball to Trent Richardson or South Carolina climbs aboard the shoulders of running back Marcus Lattimore, you could mistake the SEC for the Big Ten. Then along come Mississippi State and Auburn running different versions of the spread offense.

Florida has switched from Urban Meyer's spread to the pro-style approach of new offensive coordinator Charlie Weis, but there's nothing physically imposing about a running game geared to small, speedy running backs like Jeff Demps and Chris Rainey.

If you want variety, you don't have to wait for the next game in the SEC. You sometimes can get it from one play to the next.

Take Arkansas and South Carolina, for example. Like so many of coach Bobby Petrino's teams, the Razorbacks can spread the field with three or four wide receivers, then gouge you between the tackles with outstanding running backs such as Knile Davis, who led the SEC in yards rushing last season.

South Carolina could be just as versatile offensively. Coach Steve Spurrier always has been at his play-calling best when he has had a big-time running back to complement his passing game. Now, he has one of the best in Lattimore to go along with the conference's best wide receiver, Alshon Jeffery.

UT defensive back Prentiss Waggner, who made second-team All-SEC last season, appreciates the challenge of SEC diversity.

"It's like coach (Justin) Wilcox (UT's defensive coordinator) tells us, 'You've got Ferraris on Ferraris and trucks on trucks,' " Waggner said.

Success is dependent on maintaining sports-car speed downfield or holding your ground against the SEC's equivalent of an 18-wheeler. The challenge is magnified by inexperience.

Play-callers like Spurrier and Petrino are adept at exploiting that inexperience. They aren't the only ones.

"There are a lot of offensive gurus in this league," Waggner said.

Combating those gurus and the myriad schemes they employ requires more than 11 defenders. It demands repeated shuffling in search of favorable matchups.

Defensive depth has never mattered more in the SEC. A weakness has never been more difficult to conceal.

The importance of preparation has increased as well. You aren't just preparing for a Ferrari. There also could be a truck in the opposing garage.

And until the play is under way, you might not know which one is coming.

John Adams is a senior columnist. He may be reached at 865-342-6284 or adamsj@knoxnews.com. Follow him at http://twitter.com/johnadamskns.

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Comments » 38

torchbearer writes:

lame a article

Rich_Is_Re-born writes:

And Tennessee's offense will do the same in return.

TheOpinion writes:

You forgot about Vandy's prius and Kentucky's civic and Ole Miss' kia.

mdvol writes:

The east is wide open and the VOLS have as much shot as anyone.

VOLS start the season 4-0! (Georgia 0-2)

cloudodust writes:

This has been an ongoing thing for years regarding offenses in the SEC. It's nothing new. UT's coaches will need to rotate it's defensive players wisely and when the need arises (and it will) the stoppers will have to gut it out and get it done. Match up, anticipate, even against Bobo. Coach smart, CDD...

usnavyvol writes:

I don't post a whole lot on here, but I read most if not all of the articles. John Adams has not said one positive thing for UT. I just hope he don't forget his place in the food chain when UT gets the program going again. I'd rather watch the grass grow, than read his articles. Waste of time. Mr. Adams you are complete tool.

Rich_Is_Re-born writes:

http://www.youtube.com/user/utsportst...

Bray took quite a beating from the media and the fanbase after the scrimage. Watch the throw he makes at the 3:04 mark on the video.
Nuff said.

cloudodust writes:

in response to Rich_Is_Re-born:

http://www.youtube.com/user/utsportst...

Bray took quite a beating from the media and the fanbase after the scrimage. Watch the throw he makes at the 3:04 mark on the video.
Nuff said.

Bray is gonna be fine. Screw the naysayers...

Kelly8 writes:

What is wrong with you anti-Adams rednecks? Did you not get enough education at Pal or Halls to understand that this piece is right on? The point is that SEC offenses run a variety of looks, and that will be a challenge for our defense. Standard fare, and spot on. The point is that we'll have to deal with both a power run game and playmakers in space. What else is he supposed to write about? How ol' Billy Jim Bob is the greatest 2nd string RB in Clinton Dragons history, because your Daddy went to skewl with his hairdresser? Good Lord. This is an article about X's and O's football, and just because it's not "UT is the best ever, Jethro" everyone wants to hate Adams. Get a grip.

TommyJack writes:

a fair treatise, Adams

tdforvols writes:

Wow! You mean different teams employ different offensive techniques? I would have never thought of that. Better call Wilcox up and let him know that he won't be facing the same offense every week.....lol

tdforvols writes:

in response to BodeaneVol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

You don't know what you are talking about. TN opened 7-1 in 2006 alone. Also 7-1 in 2004

Dobervol writes:

in response to Kelly8:

What is wrong with you anti-Adams rednecks? Did you not get enough education at Pal or Halls to understand that this piece is right on? The point is that SEC offenses run a variety of looks, and that will be a challenge for our defense. Standard fare, and spot on. The point is that we'll have to deal with both a power run game and playmakers in space. What else is he supposed to write about? How ol' Billy Jim Bob is the greatest 2nd string RB in Clinton Dragons history, because your Daddy went to skewl with his hairdresser? Good Lord. This is an article about X's and O's football, and just because it's not "UT is the best ever, Jethro" everyone wants to hate Adams. Get a grip.

Best post I've seen here in months.

hcjournals#206623 writes:

Ok, I'll call a spade a spade. Good article. Gives the fans an idea about how the players and coaches feel about themselves and how we stack up against the rest of the SEC in terms of athleticism. We are restocking, ramping up or whatever cliche you want to use. Also, challenging an 18 year old to grow up quickly and take more responsibility isn't the worst tactic in the world. The reward is basically as limited as the sky. It could work. Thank the lord the rest of the SEC, other than Alabama, is reloading too. And don't tell me how great Arkansas' offense is. They've woken up with the winning lottery ticket, while wearing cardboard shoes. Let's see out they deal with these supposed marquis athletes. I asked a friend of mine who is a season ticket holder there about their offense and he told me it wasn't the first time they've been loaded. I didn't tell him, but (I wish I had) the last time they were good was 1964 when they won the National Championship and had jimmy (jump-up) Johnson (yes, him) and Jerry Jones (him, too) on the team. Feel free to to call and remind him of this. He is the editor of a newspaper in the western part of the state. Don't tell him I sent you though. He hates the Vols since we somehow stole the game from them in 1971. He has never gotten over it. And he owes us since I try to be objective with him about the Razorpigs and he just hates on us. So....There....

BruisedOrange writes:

Maybe what inspired Adams to write this "reality check" article was all the unicorns-and-rainbows predictions my fellow fans have been posting this summer.

Good grief! I love this team and what Dooley is building, but we're still in PROGRAM-rebuilding mode... not just rebuilding a team.

Fans, enjoy the ride to the top, even if it takes us 6-8 years. It looks like the world is going to be a dismal place for awhile. So better to celebrate every win instead of just feeling relieved that a loss was avoided.

rockytopatl writes:

in response to Kelly8:

What is wrong with you anti-Adams rednecks? Did you not get enough education at Pal or Halls to understand that this piece is right on? The point is that SEC offenses run a variety of looks, and that will be a challenge for our defense. Standard fare, and spot on. The point is that we'll have to deal with both a power run game and playmakers in space. What else is he supposed to write about? How ol' Billy Jim Bob is the greatest 2nd string RB in Clinton Dragons history, because your Daddy went to skewl with his hairdresser? Good Lord. This is an article about X's and O's football, and just because it's not "UT is the best ever, Jethro" everyone wants to hate Adams. Get a grip.

+5

Pompey writes:

in response to BodeaneVol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

....BodeaneVol is not a Vol at all, can't do math, doesn't know what he is talking about and advertises that fact on this web site.....!

voloffaith writes:

in response to Tweetdriver63:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

No that is definately MSNBC or CNN material. Unfair and unbalanced. Yes Adams is spot on in that teams employ varying offensive sets and schemes. Been that way for how long? The veer,run n shoot,spread,T formation,I set,etc.

MusicCityVol writes:

I don't think the offense will be the problem this season. We really need that front 7 to stop the run. If that happens we'll all like th results.

Will Tyler Bray Suffer A Sophomore Slump?
http://www.checkerboardchatter.com/20...

tdforvols writes:

in response to Kelly8:

What is wrong with you anti-Adams rednecks? Did you not get enough education at Pal or Halls to understand that this piece is right on? The point is that SEC offenses run a variety of looks, and that will be a challenge for our defense. Standard fare, and spot on. The point is that we'll have to deal with both a power run game and playmakers in space. What else is he supposed to write about? How ol' Billy Jim Bob is the greatest 2nd string RB in Clinton Dragons history, because your Daddy went to skewl with his hairdresser? Good Lord. This is an article about X's and O's football, and just because it's not "UT is the best ever, Jethro" everyone wants to hate Adams. Get a grip.

I panned this article because it didn't contains one piece of new information and showed very little insight. I know nothing more about the Vols and their upcoming season after reading this than I did before. I suppose it could be useful to the casual fan who doesn't really follow football but that's not where most UT fans are by this time of year. What else he is supposed to write about you ask? How about getting down on the field and actually talking to players and coaches or take a road trip to an opposing team's camp. I noticed one reporter in the Dooley video was wearing an Alabama hat. Seems like other sports writers are willing to travel. Bottom line if I know nothing more after reading than before it's a waste of my time.

VOLliven2it writes:

It is going to be a tough year again for us in the SEC. We cannot deny that. And that fact seems to delight Adams and so called objective media pundits. Truth is we do not know if our defense can stop the run, if our d-backs can run with the likes of Jeffrey etc. We do not know if our offense can light it up. We hope so but with all that he accomplished last year, Tyler Bray has not faced Alabama, LSU, Florida type defenses. Should he do well? Yes he should. Will our offensive line be better? Yes they will. But that does not automatically translate into an SEC east contending season with so many still young players. Realistically, we will be in some games we probably are expected not to be. We might win one or two. But that does not make us world beaters after all the program has been through in the past few years. But we are on the way up and that is enough for me right now. Personally, J Adams can write all he wants to and what he wants to. His column does not ring my bell nor keep me up at night. GO BIG ORANGE!

springtx_vol writes:

in response to Rich_Is_Re-born:

http://www.youtube.com/user/utsportst...

Bray took quite a beating from the media and the fanbase after the scrimage. Watch the throw he makes at the 3:04 mark on the video.
Nuff said.

Great throw at 3:04; the next two aren't bad. The slant was right on target. The last was throw it up and let your WR get it at the top of his leap. There is not a DB in the country that can jump with Justin, Da'Rick, or Milt.

What worries me more is that the DL did not appear to be getting close to Bray. We HAVE to get pressure on the QB.

springtx_vol writes:

in response to Witch_Doctors_Daddy:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Behind Murray and Garcia in the SEC. Only two other sophomore QB's listed, Murray and Illinois QB. What are folks expecting? All of the lists on cfn are senior and junior dominated, as it should be. Very few sophomores on any of the position lists.

Let the season play out, we will get a good read on the talent of our team and the coaching ability of the staff to improve players this year. Unfortunately, the record may not show it this year, but hopefully the play on the field will.

Vol43 writes:

in response to Kelly8:

What is wrong with you anti-Adams rednecks? Did you not get enough education at Pal or Halls to understand that this piece is right on? The point is that SEC offenses run a variety of looks, and that will be a challenge for our defense. Standard fare, and spot on. The point is that we'll have to deal with both a power run game and playmakers in space. What else is he supposed to write about? How ol' Billy Jim Bob is the greatest 2nd string RB in Clinton Dragons history, because your Daddy went to skewl with his hairdresser? Good Lord. This is an article about X's and O's football, and just because it's not "UT is the best ever, Jethro" everyone wants to hate Adams. Get a grip.

Sorry john

easleychuck writes:

Thanks, 'Coach' Adams. Frustrated, much?

voloffaith writes:

in response to Tweetdriver63:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Sorry to hear that,but thanks for the clarification. I see where ewe were tying the poster child to falsesoothing......

MilitaryBrat writes:

I feel john Adams writing as of lately, actually has been more neutral like I reporter is supposed to be.

But just because he has written some passable articles in a couple of weeks, doesn't excuse him for his past negativity and his obvious hatred for UT.

I agree some of the posters hate everything about Adams, can be over the top, but so are the posters that in love with him, and have to call people "Red-Necks" and insult people because they don't agree with your opinion.

What makes "you" any better than them?

KevDVol writes:

in response to TheOpinion:

You forgot about Vandy's prius and Kentucky's civic and Ole Miss' kia.

Be careful, The NCAA might make us drive a Pinto hatchback.

Down_The_Field writes:

in response to Kelly8:

What is wrong with you anti-Adams rednecks? Did you not get enough education at Pal or Halls to understand that this piece is right on? The point is that SEC offenses run a variety of looks, and that will be a challenge for our defense. Standard fare, and spot on. The point is that we'll have to deal with both a power run game and playmakers in space. What else is he supposed to write about? How ol' Billy Jim Bob is the greatest 2nd string RB in Clinton Dragons history, because your Daddy went to skewl with his hairdresser? Good Lord. This is an article about X's and O's football, and just because it's not "UT is the best ever, Jethro" everyone wants to hate Adams. Get a grip.

to suggest i'm a readneck because i disagree with some pin head writing a juvenile article from a cubical is foolish on your part.

Xs and Os?? really? this is not Xs and Os. Xs and Os would be a discussion on how important the Will LB is to defend the spread. perhaps the effects a ball controled offence and punt team has on the success of the defense. speak for youself.

most of the posters on this site have been keeping up with conference for years and all this stated was the obvious. he11, this sounded like it came from my kid's middle school paper.

clinton class of '84

IndyVolFan writes:

in response to Tweetdriver63:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

CNN or CNBC.

VolGrad writes:

in response to Tweetdriver63:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Tyler still disappears when he turns sideways; he needs to put another 20 lbs on that frame of his.

GONAVY writes:

in response to Tweetdriver63:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Bray was 9-15 with 2 TD's and an interception. Sacked 3 times for -24 yds. It was a closer game than the final score, true, but Bray hardly "torched" SC's defense as you stated. Sims performance in that game was about the same.

keviningeorgia writes:

SEC defenses are what sets the SEC apart from all others. It starts with 300 lb D linemen who can run like a deere and goes from there. But, ALL really great SEC defenses are geared to stop the run first. Because all high quality SEC teams will just keep running the trucks down your throat if you can't.

Adams makes a good point mostly. But, the latest wave is offense that don't give you time to run different specialty players on and off the field in between plays. Therefore, you don't have to have BOTH players who can stop the trucks and others to stop the Ferraris. You have to have players who can stop BOTH on the field at the same time to be the best in this league...

kcbigorngX writes:

I bet John used to be the one who ran around sticking a pin in the other little kids' balloon.

He didn't grow much.

Rich_Is_Re-born writes:

in response to Kelly8:

What is wrong with you anti-Adams rednecks? Did you not get enough education at Pal or Halls to understand that this piece is right on? The point is that SEC offenses run a variety of looks, and that will be a challenge for our defense. Standard fare, and spot on. The point is that we'll have to deal with both a power run game and playmakers in space. What else is he supposed to write about? How ol' Billy Jim Bob is the greatest 2nd string RB in Clinton Dragons history, because your Daddy went to skewl with his hairdresser? Good Lord. This is an article about X's and O's football, and just because it's not "UT is the best ever, Jethro" everyone wants to hate Adams. Get a grip.

Uh, here in Knox county we call it P-O-W-E-L-L, POWELL, not Pal. You are welcome.

keviningeorgia writes:

I completely resemble that fellar calling us rednecks and jethros. And I thank John Adams has got a purdy mouth...

Kelly8 writes:

in response to Rich_Is_Re-born:

Uh, here in Knox county we call it P-O-W-E-L-L, POWELL, not Pal. You are welcome.

You must be one of those people that can't understand Adams' sarcasm.

Pal is a play on words (a pun!) on how people out there pronounce Powell.

6th generation Knoxvillian here, thanks for the help sweetie ;)

Outdated writes:

in response to Kelly8:

What is wrong with you anti-Adams rednecks? Did you not get enough education at Pal or Halls to understand that this piece is right on? The point is that SEC offenses run a variety of looks, and that will be a challenge for our defense. Standard fare, and spot on. The point is that we'll have to deal with both a power run game and playmakers in space. What else is he supposed to write about? How ol' Billy Jim Bob is the greatest 2nd string RB in Clinton Dragons history, because your Daddy went to skewl with his hairdresser? Good Lord. This is an article about X's and O's football, and just because it's not "UT is the best ever, Jethro" everyone wants to hate Adams. Get a grip.

Seems to me this article is a compliment to the whole SEC and not a slam at the VOLS..I enjoy the status of the SEC in football and seeing the rest of the country squirm..I think the feeling is that the only way to keep the SEC from a National Championship is to keep them out of the game..GOOD STUFF...

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