The quarterback situation: Simms takes over from Bray; Worley takes over from Simms
The leading receiver was mostly taken out of the game early.
The running backs weren't gaining much on the ground, the center was continuing to have some snap issues and the entire offense was frustrated not to finish some productive drives in the end zone.
And while some of the negative response to adversity from Tennessee players can be attributed to age and inexperience, that wouldn't explain similar emotions up in the press box for a guy in a headset. But offensive coordinator Jim Chaney admitted dealing with some of the same issues as he and the Vols prepare for No. 1 LSU at Neyland Stadium on Saturday (TV: WVLT, 3:30 p.m.).
"I sense frustration in everybody, including myself," Chaney said after practice on Wednesday morning. "I had a hard time as a play-caller finding any rhythm in that (loss to Georgia). Long fields early, the second half didn't start the way we wanted, it was a difficult time.
"It doesn't surprise me that some of our young players lost a little composure, as I did too at times. It was a tough deal, we move on from it, we learn from it and we move on."
The Vols (3-2, 0-2 SEC) have to do it quickly with the top-ranked Tigers (6-0, 3-0 SEC) and their ferocious defense on deck and more than capable of providing a gauge of what UT actually learned in its disappointing 20-12 loss to Georgia last week.
Adding to the challenge is the loss of quarterback Tyler Bray for at least a month with a broken thumb, though it appears UT will have starting tailback Tauren Poole available after he returned to practice after missing one with a hamstring injury. But the Vols certainly aren't acting like it's simply up to the players to clean up some ongoing issues with the offense.
"I think that's a fair assessment," UT coach Derek Dooley said. "We all need to catch our breath, everybody wants to win, everybody wants to win now, everybody wants to have our players play perfectly. And we forget sometimes the journey involved in that, and when we show a lot of frustration, it doesn't help the players.
"We've got to make sure we stay composed, because they're looking at us, just like parents. We stay composed, we motivate them and develop them and teach them, and we don't get too down when they make a mistake, correct it and move on. We can all do better."
Rather than focus on what the players can do better, Chaney pointed a finger squarely at himself.
He and Dooley both stressed the need for more patience with the play-calling, and the Tigers can certainly put that to the test.
"That's something I've got to develop a little bit more," Chaney said. "We were walking out of the Cincinnati game walking on water a little bit, and it was easy to open things up and roll, which I've been comfortable to do in my past. Well, it was a little bit of an illusional effect, because you play a better defense and it wasn't the way it was.
"I'm probably a little harder on me than you guys (in the media) are on me, and I probably need to be a little more patient. There's no question, against this team we better develop patience."
Power Play: The theme from Justin Wilcox hasn't changed.
The coordinator has made clear that defenses don't get second chances, and a couple lapses each game are costing the Vols dearly on the scoreboard. And as if to hammer that point home, Wilcox laid out the importance of wrapping up LSU running back Spencer Ware from start to finish after his 109-yard, two-touchdown outing last week against Florida.
"He's a big, I mean, violent runner, and he gets downhill in a hurry," Wilcox said. "He breaks a lot of arm tackles. You've got have a lot of bodies.
"He'll do it in the first quarter, and he'll do it in the fourth quarter. It's going to have to be a sustained effort on our part."
Bumps and Bruises: One day after being held out of practice, Poole was back as an active participant for the Vols on Wednesday.
Dooley indicated that UT's starting running back is expected to play against the Tigers after his availability had previously been in doubt thanks to a hamstring injury.
Linebacker Austin Johnson was in a red, non-contact jersey for the second day in a row, but Dooley called it "just a little precautionary" measure.