The broken record kept playing for two weeks.
Tennessee needed better push from the offensive line.
The Vols weren't getting enough tough runs from the running backs.
The wide receivers had to pick up some blocks on the edge, and coach Derek Dooley was scouring the film for answers as well.
Offensive lineman Ja'Wuan James heard all that during the open date and preparation for Buffalo, both in questions from the media and repeated challenges from the coaching staff to the right tackle and the rest of the UT offense.
But even after finally giving the Vols an effort they were looking for in a 41-10 rout of the Bulls on Saturday at Neyland Stadium, James isn't expecting the message to be much different as they go back to work. But he'd much rather maintain a little momentum than try to get the ball rolling as the schedule heats up dramatically.
"It won't really make it easier," James said. "This is in the past. Like (offensive line) Coach (Harry) Hiestand says, this game is over and we've got a game next week against a big opponent in Georgia. We've got to go into this week of practice with a great mind-set and prepare to get better for them.
"But this motivates you. You know, you try to keep it rolling."
The Vols (3-1, 0-1 SEC) certainly had things moving in the right direction in the lopsided win to open October, though the level of competition for the rest of the month is going to go up significantly, starting with a home date against Georgia on Saturday (TV: ESPN2, 7 p.m.).
Regardless of the opponent, UT was looking for signs of improvement for a rushing attack that had struggled with consistency and had been almost nonexistent at times. With Tauren Poole breaking out for 101 yards on 17 carries, Marlin Lane providing some support in reserve with 28 more yards on seven attempts and Rajion Neal adding an element of danger on end-arounds, the Vols seemed to have found what they were searching for against the Bulls.
Perhaps most important, the success and 199 total yards produced on the ground allowed UT not to have to air it out quite as often to come up with its yardage.
"We've got to get these yards," Dooley said. "I like the attempts, (completing) 21-of-31, so if you run the ball pretty good, then you don't get up in those 40s.
"I was pleased with the run game. It was good. Of course, our numbers go bad there down the stretch. Tom (Smith) has 10 carries, 29 yards. That will skew it a little. He stumbled around, didn't look like what he's capable of. But it was improvement."
The steps forward obviously come at a good time for UT with a crucial division game looming against the Bulldogs and two of the best defenses in the country on deck with LSU and Alabama coming up after that.
The Vols appeared every bit as aware of the opponents lined up over the next few weeks as they were of the struggles moving the ball on the ground during the previous couple weeks. But they probably won't have to hear about the latter nearly as much as their attention shifts to Georgia.
"I think the offensive line did a great job playing physical and playing fast," Poole said. "We've got some good SEC opponents coming in here next week and these couple of weeks coming up, so we've got to continue to get better and progress as an offense.
"(Buffalo) did a great job of filling gaps and being where they needed to be when they needed to be there. They played fast, they played hard, they played with great effort, and we definitely saw some great run defense out there. But we're going to see even better next week, so we've got to pick it up."
That's the same song that's been playing for the Vols lately. But the latest verse seemed to sound a little better to them.