John Adams: Vols now face wrecking crew of Jadeveon Clowney, Melvin Ingram

Tennessee's rallying cry for this week should be: "The worst is over." But you couldn't expect UT's offense to embrace it by acclamation.

A perilous schedule will take a cruel twist for the Vols this Saturday. After being pummeled by No. 1 LSU and No. 2 Alabama on back-to-back Saturdays, the worst is over — unless you are assigned to block Nos. 6 and 7.

South Carolina pales when compared to the nation's two best teams. In fact, its offensive attrition is a match for Tennessee's.

Quarterback Stephen Garcia was demoted and then dismissed from the team. All-SEC running back Marcus Lattimore suffered a season-ending knee injury nine days ago. Even when the offense was at full strength, it didn't remind anyone of the offenses coach Steve Spurrier fielded at Florida.

Sure, the Gamecocks are still tied for the lead in the SEC East. But that's like leading the NFC South.

South Carolina can't take credit for Florida's collapse or the hole UT's program has dug for itself. And beating Georgia isn't grounds for a parade.

South Carolina isn't a great team. It's a team with great players.

That's where the cruel twist comes in. A UT offensive line that has had to exchange blows with college football's elite defensive fronts the last two weeks is overdue for a break. Instead of a break, it will get offense backbreakers Melvin Ingram (No. 6) and Jadeveon Clowney (No. 7).

They're as hard to block as Alabama's Trent Richardson is to tackle. They're dominant on their own and a wrecking crew in tandem.

Twice this season, Clowney forced a fumble and Ingram turned the turnover into a touchdown.

Ingram also has scored a touchdown without the help of Clowney. The 6-foot-2, 276 pound Ingram ran 68 yards for a touchdown on a fake punt against Georgia. It wasn't as though the Bulldogs were bamboozled by the trickery.

They saw Ingram coming. They just couldn't tackle him.

He stepped over one defender at the line, evaded another would-be tackler in mid-run and ran through a diving-tackle attempt at the goal line.

Aside from Ingram's 68-yards-per-carry rushing average, his most impressive numbers are a team-high 5.5 sacks and 9 tackles for loss. Not bad for a guy who some thought would lose his starting job to Clowney. Instead, Ingram has lined up at tackle or end, often together with Clowney, who is playing up to his billing as the No. 1 high school player in the country last year.

The 6-6, 245-pound Clowney is fast enough to play linebacker. But you can understand why the Gamecocks would want him lined up closer to the opposing quarterback. He has seven tackles for loss, four sacks and four forced fumbles.

Clowney and Ingram are so athletic for their size, they're more fun to watch than your average college running back. They look as though they should be playing in Alabama's or LSU's defensive line.

That wouldn't be fair.

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 » 30

oldster writes:

The Gamecocks still have the guy who was most responsible for their win over the Vols from last year available for their offense, Alshon Jeffrey, unless, of course, he has taken that job at the filling station.

FWBVol writes:

Clowney and Worley played each other in high school last year and Worley came out on top. I say start Worley and let him take Clowney to school again.

DannyVol writes:

My, how Adams is enjoying this. Is there another town in the SEC where the sports section is so full of contempt for the home team?

tngilmer writes:

Ok, so we got our butts whipped by two very good football teams. SCar is not one of them (without Lattimore) and I think we can beat them.

VOLliven2it writes:

With either Simms or Worley behind center against SC it is this simple. We either run the ball or we have very little chance unless they play awful. Spurrier usually brings his A game to Knoxville. Simms or Worley will not beat SCar. with the pass. If they prove me wrong I'll man up and admit it. But it is just not there. Matt can't get it done and Worley is just too green. I don't know how they will respond to two nasty thumpings. But if I was an offensive lineman, I'd be mad all week and play mad on Sat. Heck I wouldn't mind if the o-line got some holding calls instead of letting John Adams' boys mentioned above hammer our rbs and qbs. This is the time to rise up Vols and prove a point. The point is the University of South Carolina. I wish you the best. GO BIG ORANGE!

CCLC writes:

in response to VOLliven2it:

With either Simms or Worley behind center against SC it is this simple. We either run the ball or we have very little chance unless they play awful. Spurrier usually brings his A game to Knoxville. Simms or Worley will not beat SCar. with the pass. If they prove me wrong I'll man up and admit it. But it is just not there. Matt can't get it done and Worley is just too green. I don't know how they will respond to two nasty thumpings. But if I was an offensive lineman, I'd be mad all week and play mad on Sat. Heck I wouldn't mind if the o-line got some holding calls instead of letting John Adams' boys mentioned above hammer our rbs and qbs. This is the time to rise up Vols and prove a point. The point is the University of South Carolina. I wish you the best. GO BIG ORANGE!

"Spurrier usually brings his A game to Knoxville. "
Not hardly.... ck the stats Vol fan?

richvol writes:

Dooley says that Tennessee is a fragile team...if the team doesn't come out with fight this week they will get blasted again. They have got to get up for this game and carry the fight to SCe for four quarters.

TommyJack writes:

That's the spirit, Adams.

snakeplissken writes:

If Dooley can't win this game his seat will start getting warm.

Volunatic writes:

in response to DannyVol:

My, how Adams is enjoying this. Is there another town in the SEC where the sports section is so full of contempt for the home team?

Nashville-- The Tennessean is frequently full of contempt for the Commode Odors.
It is surprising that the Lexington Herald Leader is so uniformly supportive of the Wildcats, though.
Maybe the "columnist hates local University" phenomenon is a Tennessee thing.
I recently read an old column Adams wrote in '91 about Dale Carter, though, and he didn't have the anti-UT vitriol back then. I think he has developed his "writing personality" over the years based on what gets the most response.

Voloyalty writes:

I am expecting a win this week versus USC. USC is in the exact same sitution we are in. In fact, I would argue that we are better off than they are right now. Lattimore accounted for 70% of thier offense. Granted we lost Bray and Hunter however, we have now had time to adjust. This will be their first game without Lattimore in the backfield. They are now on thier 3rd string RB and 2nd string QB. If we don't start Worley then I will be very dissapointed in Dooley. I have and will continue to support Tennessee and the coaching staff but will not support the decision to start Simms over Worley Saturday. Simms is not a good QB. He locks in on his recievers, he holds onto the ball too long, and he is simply not accurate. I don't buy the arguement that he has been put in a difficult situation given LSU's and Bama's defense. The decisions he has been making the past two weeks would make UK's defense look good. He poses no threat and all defenses have to do is blitz, blitz, blitz. If Worley can just manage the game and check down to his second reciever, we will do much better. I still think this team can finish 7-5 but it has to start next week with Worley.

Volunatic writes:

in response to richvol:

Dooley says that Tennessee is a fragile team...if the team doesn't come out with fight this week they will get blasted again. They have got to get up for this game and carry the fight to SCe for four quarters.

I'd feel a lot better if the Vols take a 2 TD lead into halftime.

Bigger_Al writes:

in response to Volunatic:

Nashville-- The Tennessean is frequently full of contempt for the Commode Odors.
It is surprising that the Lexington Herald Leader is so uniformly supportive of the Wildcats, though.
Maybe the "columnist hates local University" phenomenon is a Tennessee thing.
I recently read an old column Adams wrote in '91 about Dale Carter, though, and he didn't have the anti-UT vitriol back then. I think he has developed his "writing personality" over the years based on what gets the most response.

Adams was hated at UT in the early 90's as well. I remember "Fire John Adams" signs on marquis's on the strip. He wrote how uncontrollable Majors' players were off the field. He has been grating on Vol fans for over two decades.

jandjhome#228397 writes:

We have to run the ball or it will not happen. If we do we have a good chance.

Biggie writes:

You guys kill me. If Adams painted the sky blue every column, you'd be asking if he was blind. I like to know what we're up against next week. I have a life and can't sit around all week studying college football. Besides, I didn't read anything in this column that wasn't true, did you?

CroKev writes:

OK, I think we all agree it's going to be a tight game (low-scoring one at that). USCe has had 2 weeks to prepare for the Vols after a bye week. Their last wins were a squeaker against Miss. St. and a laugher against Kent.

Their offense without Garcia and esp. Lattimore is anemic - kind of like ours without Bray and Hunter. Their defense has kept them in games, and ours has as well - until the 2nd half when our offense plays the 3 and out game.

I think UT wins a close one with home field advantage and with continued strong ST play. I also think Mr. Young is due to break one. Worley can cement his position in Vol lore with a win here and also make it hard for Bray to crack the lineup when he returns (just maybe...). Simms will start but if he can't put any scores on the board in the 1st or 2nd series, we'll see Worley. If he can't get it done, then look for Nance to continue his HS ways with Da'Rick.

GerryOP writes:

in response to snakeplissken:

If Dooley can't win this game his seat will start getting warm.

Poppycock...

ProfessionalHandicapper writes:

Dont feel bad Mr Adams this page is full of delusional fans still trying to prove they were right in firing Fulmer and Chavis. Even David Cutcliff chose Duke over this fan base. UT is sitting dead last in the weak SEC East and fans are bashing the reporter. UT will not beat S. Carolina or Vandy. Kentucky vs UT will be considered the Toilet Bowl this year. Hire some real coaches and pay some real money or quit crying.

AFVol423 writes:

To date I have not been suprised by anything that has happened with TN Football this year. We have won the games we expected to win and lost badly when we expected to loose. If anything suprised me, it was being tied against Alabama at the half. I expected the entire game to look like the second half and the score to be more like colts vs saints. You can't blame Dooley either. Bama played poorly in the first half of the game and then played like a pro team the second. I don't think I have ever seen passes caught with such athority. Forget yards after catch. They didn't need that when they were catching everything thrown close.

Pullingguard writes:

in response to DannyVol:

My, how Adams is enjoying this. Is there another town in the SEC where the sports section is so full of contempt for the home team?

Not comtempt, just the facts of life. The defensive line of SC will probably be more disruptive than either the LSU or Alabama lines were. Only thing Vols have going for them in this weeks game is the gamecocks offense is the first cousin to Vols offense.
Neither are very attractive.

OrangePride writes:

With Jeffreys and Lattimore out, the SC offense will be noticeably compromised. The wrecking crew defensive line is their strength, BUT they will not be better than either Alabama or LSU. I look for this to be low scoring because we have less than no passing attack. As for Worley, noone has any idea what the kid can do. It would not have to be great to be a step up from the last two games, but it's a total unknown. And it is a LOT more than just passing accuracy and arm strength. The big ticket items will be reads, decision-making, and vision. Those were areas where Bray had come light years forward, but he had a bunch of games under his belt. So if Worley gets his chance, ALL of us better have a lot more patience than I usually see on these boards. GO VOLS!!!

OrangePride writes:

in response to PatientlyWaiting:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Yes, SC has gotten gashed on off-tackle plays and had some issues on slash-backs and quick openers. But anyone that tries to ONLY run the ball is going to find that a real problem as the night rolls on. Tennessee MUST find the semblance of at least a short passing game and well placed screens or swing passes to have a successful run night. And you are absolutely correct....if that secondary has another outing like the 2nd half last week, it won't matter what the offense does. Without Lattimore, however, I think we might be able to run a few more of the nickel and dime packages to keep that from happening. We'll see. GO VOLS!

snakeplissken writes:

in response to PatientlyWaiting:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I still can't believe we ran a fullback dive on 3rd and 5!!!! Talk about a stupid play called. I bet the South Carolina defensive coordinator is rolling on the floor laughing at how dumb out offensive braintrust is.

TheFuj writes:

Jeffreys will have a career day versus TN. Our db's are terrible, and throw in no more Lattimore, and you get a career day for Jeffreys.
Jeffreys will declare for the NFL right after the game and will go in a pre-supplemental draft and play for the Carolina Panthers on Sunday following the TN game.

MilitaryBrat writes:

Kiffin ran off Chavis. Because he could only get the job, if it included Monte. Everyone respected Chavis.

Notice Chavis isn't Third and Chavis anymore, without Fulmer tying him down.

2001utgrad writes:

Ummm, bashing the NFC South? Really John? I wouldn't say that the SEC East has the equivilent of three teams that could've played in a BCS bowl game last year. The NFC South had two teams in the playoffs (Atlanta and New Orleans) last year, and had a 3rd team with 10 wins (Tampa). That would be a more fitting comparison to saying how the SEC East was a decade ago when Tennessee and Florida were BCS caliber and Georgia was just a step behind.

Sorry John, but that's a terrible analogy.

2001utgrad writes:

in response to 2001utgrad:

Ummm, bashing the NFC South? Really John? I wouldn't say that the SEC East has the equivilent of three teams that could've played in a BCS bowl game last year. The NFC South had two teams in the playoffs (Atlanta and New Orleans) last year, and had a 3rd team with 10 wins (Tampa). That would be a more fitting comparison to saying how the SEC East was a decade ago when Tennessee and Florida were BCS caliber and Georgia was just a step behind.

Sorry John, but that's a terrible analogy.

Upon further reflection, maybe John meant the AFC SOUTH. The Titans are awful. The Jaguars are awful. The Colts are the worst team in football...only decent team in that division is Houston and they're not up to the caliber of New England or Baltimore or Pittsburgh.

trace5254 writes:

I've been to a lot of Bama/UT games but this Saturday was very different. UT was hapless and so were the few fans from Tenn. that actually made the trip. The fans were walking around The Strip like zombies with their heads slightly bowed as if being differential to their masters. For a minute I felt sorry for UT - then I snapped out of it. This is the same group of people who completely drank the Lane Kiffin kool-aid...and I wonder if that major mistake will ever allow UT to return to prominence.

snakeplissken writes:

in response to trace5254:

I've been to a lot of Bama/UT games but this Saturday was very different. UT was hapless and so were the few fans from Tenn. that actually made the trip. The fans were walking around The Strip like zombies with their heads slightly bowed as if being differential to their masters. For a minute I felt sorry for UT - then I snapped out of it. This is the same group of people who completely drank the Lane Kiffin kool-aid...and I wonder if that major mistake will ever allow UT to return to prominence.

You pretty well nailed it. Apathy has set in for a lot of Tennessee fans. There were more Alabama car flags flying in Knoxville last week before the game than Tennessee ones. Where there used to be 10K to 12K Tennessee fans going to Alabama to watch the Vols play, now there are less than 3K. For many years a ticket to the game in Alabama would sell for hundreds of dollars and they were scarce as hen's teeth. This year the UTAD couldn't sell them for face value because most fans just don't care. We've not even had our own stadium full even when LSU was here playing.
The once proud program called Tennessee football isn't what it used to be. We just have to accept that we're not looked at as a competitor by anyone other than Vandy and Kentucky.

BJ writes:

In Response to Professionalhandicapper you are such a tool and that you hide behind a bush and throw rocks why don't you allow direct messages can't stand the heat of the truth go troll somewhere else Most of the posters to this blog are either NOT true volunteer fans or trolls to not realize that Rome wasn't built in a day and neither will the TN Football program from the depths that Mike Hamilton and Lame Kiffin took it to in one year.

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