Stars aren't getting the best of Vols defense; the other guys are

Tennessee's defense hasn't been a victim of star power during its four-game losing streak.

If Georgia's Isaiah Crowell, LSU's Spencer Ware, Alabama's Trent Richardson and South Carolina's Alshon Jeffery put up the numbers they did against UT (3-5, 0-5 SEC) on a weekly basis, they wouldn't be among the SEC's best at their respective positions.

The Vols, though, have fallen prey to the "other guys," the players whom they've forced to make beat them while devoting heavy resources to the aforementioned headliners.

Saturday's 14-3 loss to No. 14 South Carolina (7-1, 5-1) merely was the latest example.

Thanks to strong coverage from Prentiss Waggner and a slew of other Vols, Jeffery, a massive target at wide receiver and a first-team All-American last season, was limited to three catches for 17 yards. But freshman tailback Brandon Wilds, making his first start in the absence of All-SEC first-team sophomore Marcus Lattimore, rose to the challenge, especially in the second half, as he finished with 137 yards on 28 carries.

Wilds and quarterback Connor Shaw, who added 64 yards on the ground, simply exposed a Vols defense that has yet to prove it can stop an opponent's passing game and running game at the same time.

"It is hard for us to do both well," coach Derek Dooley said. "We stop the run then we give up big plays throwing the ball. We hold (Jeffery) to 17 yards but they (get 4 or 5 yards per play)."

It can be argued that the Vols defense hasn't executed a pre-game plan better this season than the one it did Saturday with Jeffery. UT largely did the same in its matchup with the 230-pound receiver last year, but was torched in the fourth quarter on a 70-yard touchdown catch.

The big play never happened Saturday. Really, it never even came close to happening, as the Vols devoted plenty of resources to a secondary that had just surrendered 284 passing yards to AJ McCarron, the clear second fiddle to Richardson in Alabama's offense.

"We were comfortable coming into the game that we had a great scheme, coaches had a great game plan for them and I think we executed pretty well," said Waggner, who intercepted a pass thrown Jeffery's way in the third quarter and nearly ran it back for a touchdown. "We just have to do a couple more of the little things better to get off the field a lot more and give the offense chances."

Wilds was the main reason why UT couldn't get off the field in the third quarter. He carried the ball 11 times for 51 yards on the Gamecocks' 20-play, 98-yard drive. He never gained more than 9 yards on any of his carries, but was responsible for three of the Gamecocks' six third-down conversions on the possession.

Wilds' performance was the best by an opposing running back since Cincinnati's Isaiah Pead in the second week of the season, as he gained 57 yards more than Ware could muster earlier in the month, 60 more than Richardson — a Heisman Trophy candidate — and 79 more than Crowell — one of the nation's highest touted freshmen.

The difference? Stopping the run wasn't the Vols' top focus.

"It is hard to create negative plays when you play a lot more pass coverage than we normally do in games, so when they hand it off, we are not disruptive enough to get them to second-and-10, second and 11," Dooley said. "They get ahead of the chains. It's kind of bleeding a little bit."

Walking Wounded: On his Sunday TV show, Dooley said a number of Vols are feeling the grind of a 12-game season because only four regular starters — running back Tauren Poole, offensive tackle Ja'Wuan James, defensive tackle Malik Jackson and Wagger — have played a prominent role for an entire year.

"We got about 18 starters now that going 12 games in a row, playing a lot of snaps and depending on you is a new thing for them," Dooley said. "We got to heal them, keep coming and then they'll play their way out of it."

Linebacker Curt Maggitt (calf), who didn't play Saturday, and running back Marlin Lane (knee), who was on the field for one play, certainly fall in that category.

Dooley did not provide an update on strong safety Brent Brewer, who went out with a knee injury during the third quarter and did not return.

A New Low: After picking up just 35 yards on 21 carries Saturday, the Vols dropped to 119th out of 120 Football Bowl Subdivision teams in rushing offense.

The Vols are averaging 82.63 yards per game, a figure that is only larger than Miami (Ohio)'s 67.5. In its five SEC games, UT has averaged 41.6 rushing yards.

Andrew Gribble may be reached at 865-342-6327. Follow him at http://twitter.com/Andrew_Gribble and http://blogs.knoxnews.com/gribble

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Comments » 35

garrthom writes:

If UT loses to Middle will Dooley still have a few years to rebuild?

jobrando#216494 writes:

in response to garrthom:

If UT loses to Middle will Dooley still have a few years to rebuild?

yes because of the injuries to star QB and WR.

tree_em_smokey writes:

in response to NachoPappy_76:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I tend to agree with your last statement. Trent Richardson gets three yards on average after contact. Poole gets 0. Play someone else for a change. This team will not get it turned around this year, thats not to say they won't win some but until next year when we have more upper classmen with more experience then we will not be a decent team. Always GBO!!!

jomo11 writes:

Dooley will never be anything but a .500 or below coach. . . . . He is 26-32 , after almost 60 games as a head coach. . . " you are what your record is" . . . . Why should that change ?

graphpro#231211 writes:

Chaney is a TERRIBLE play caller in the run game. His expertise is in the passing game is noted and I give him compliments for what he can do there. However, passing the ball 45 times a game against SEC teams will get your starting QB on the shelf.

He's even admitted on air that he doesn't see himself as a creative play caller.... WOW! A self indictment!

Prediction. If he stays this coaching staff will be gone in 2 years.

Does anybody else feel this way?

shorttail writes:

in response to tree_em_smokey:

I tend to agree with your last statement. Trent Richardson gets three yards on average after contact. Poole gets 0. Play someone else for a change. This team will not get it turned around this year, thats not to say they won't win some but until next year when we have more upper classmen with more experience then we will not be a decent team. Always GBO!!!

I said the same thing about poole last night and a poster came back and said that poole was a nice guy, smart person and was probably smarter than me. I must have stepped on somebodies toes, I still think poole needs to go back to playing marbles!

decades_vol (Inactive) writes:

Something seemed to change after last night's game. Until now, the trolls and fair-weather fans have been harping on the program. Last night, however, it seemed like more of the actual Vol fans were venting frustrations, in every direction.

jobrando#216494 writes:

in response to shorttail:

I said the same thing about poole last night and a poster came back and said that poole was a nice guy, smart person and was probably smarter than me. I must have stepped on somebodies toes, I still think poole needs to go back to playing marbles!

He had a decent year last season but this year hit a wall. We have had some highly recruited backs the last few years and none looked decent. I'm a armchair and have no clue. Somebody said the Channey system features passing so I assume thats the problem.

OldNumber7 writes:

in response to NachoPappy_76:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Man I'm glad I'm not the only one that sees this. The mere prospect of taking a hit and he's diving for yards instead of doing everything imaginable to stay on his feet. Here is where our running game fails...we need a back that can plow ahead - not quit.

OklaVOL writes:

I just don't get it. Again, we are down, but lets understand that we all should have known that. Calling for Dooley's head already, I guess I am not a true fan. I watched the game in pain like all of you, but I saw an under manned squad that has no depth, no playmakers on offense, but plays hard. I saw nothing that lead me to believe different play calling, would change the outcome. C'mon VOL fans, it's a little early to start blaming the coaches, other than Fulmer and Kiffin. They are our problem right now. Give our Coach a chance. Remember, there weren't to many coaches beating the door down for the job.

RoadTrip writes:

Folks - it's the scheme, scheme, scheme - with some technique issues thrown in for good measure. That's CJC's job along with the play calling with CDD's approval. When you have an O-line that cannot sustain a block for more than a second on a run, this is what you get with our strange combination of sprint draw and drive blocking. When you hand the ball off deep in the backfield to a RB that has no creativity you get dancing, or straight into the pile and fall down runs. The only way this line can succeed is a zone blocking scheme. They simply are too inexperienced and too slow with their feet to be able to block like Bama and LSU's lines do. This was an at the top of the food chain decision to do it this way. We are stuck with it until spring practice, if they decide to change it. Fortunately the rest of the schedule lightens up some, so we shouldn't finish this low.

However, it is getting very embarassing. So how did it all work out having no RB coach for the past two years? Most serious running game schools have a paid RB position coach. Still waiting on the big time recruits. How many are going to come when we have nobody to coach them up but the busy OC who is a specialist with QBs, or a grad assistant? The answer is obvious - none.

vols2#227315 writes:

I would try every one on the team to see if any body out of the whole team can hold on to the ball an run; atleast try someone to see if they can run the wildcat.

RoadTrip writes:

in response to OklaVOL:

I just don't get it. Again, we are down, but lets understand that we all should have known that. Calling for Dooley's head already, I guess I am not a true fan. I watched the game in pain like all of you, but I saw an under manned squad that has no depth, no playmakers on offense, but plays hard. I saw nothing that lead me to believe different play calling, would change the outcome. C'mon VOL fans, it's a little early to start blaming the coaches, other than Fulmer and Kiffin. They are our problem right now. Give our Coach a chance. Remember, there weren't to many coaches beating the door down for the job.

You may not have seen anything that could have changed the outcome, but I sure did and I am quite sure I am not alone. Starting the second half with an on-side kick in 7-3 game after USCe had watched game film where we already pulled that one earlier in the season was pretty dumb.

Worley' arm is strong enough to throw shorter outs, slants and skinny post patterns. How many did you see? Go back and watch the game again and you will find out it was very few. You can use 3-5 step drops and shotgun for them. Most of the called patterns were deeper. Two streaks to Arnett were successful, 2 for 2. Not enough of that to him or to other receivers. Not enough dumps to the TE and RBs on 5-10 yard passes. The long pass that was intercepted near the end zone after the fumble recovery was so very predictable. All of the wasted slow developing running plays, some with a player (DY) in motion accross the backfield that never gets the ball fooled maybe 5 people sitting in the stands.

On defense - how many DC's have a 4 man d-line front and no LBs or safeties in the box on their own 6 yard line? That was a first for me. I bet Shaw was laughing all the way to the sideline after he scored. What DC keeps only 6 or 7 guys in the box on 3rd and 2 repeatedly during a 20 play drive? Bring the dang house, man! What DC lines his only 3 D-lineman in the game directly over the center and guards, then has the DE/LB types lined up outside the OT and TE in the 7 and 9 gaps, leaving the 5 gap wide open on both sides of the ball on 3rd and two or three? Our DC.

I can give more play calls but these were enough to change the results of the game a bunch.

DavidB writes:

in response to OklaVOL:

I just don't get it. Again, we are down, but lets understand that we all should have known that. Calling for Dooley's head already, I guess I am not a true fan. I watched the game in pain like all of you, but I saw an under manned squad that has no depth, no playmakers on offense, but plays hard. I saw nothing that lead me to believe different play calling, would change the outcome. C'mon VOL fans, it's a little early to start blaming the coaches, other than Fulmer and Kiffin. They are our problem right now. Give our Coach a chance. Remember, there weren't to many coaches beating the door down for the job.

I agree with you there were not a lot of coaches beating the doors down for the job. I do think our play calling can be very iffy at times. When we had the ball on the 4 we should have pounded the ball in or kicked the field goal.

The receivers prob ran the wrong route is why Worley got picked on the 1 or 2 but why call that passing play. We did not have a seasoned QB or a seasoned receivers corps out there to be calling much in the passing game .

My fear right now is that we have shattered Worleys confidence as well as Simms confidence all in the same game. If your QB has no confidence in their game then the receivers are going to have no confidence in getting catches because they figure if their number is not called then they are not part of the play. I dont agree that is the right thing to do but everyone has seen when Simms decided who is going to throw the ball to he does not even look at anyone else.

I saw open receivers all over the field last night. Many times in the middle of the field but we didnt see that it was open and we didnt adjust to make that our game plan.

I am still a Vol fan all the way and I am still not quite ready to start calling for the coaching staffs heads but I am starting more and more to question what our current coaching staffs odds of winning big games really is.

UT has almost always looked at the Vandy game as a gimme game in the season, after watching the Vandy Arkansas game saturday I for the first time have actually started worrying about Vandy beating us.

Right now we have 3 wins. We should have our 4th win saturday. Very likely we could lose to Arkansas. If we lost to Vandy we would not be bowl eligible. If that happens then more and more fans will start to come out of the woodwork and really start complaining about the coaching staff.

Right now it seems to me that the Defense tries to keep us in the game and I really dont see any quit in them. I think several on the offense quit in the 2nd half.

I tried to make it a point during the 2nd half to look over at the sidelines to see if the coaching staff was trying to go through and fire up players, I personally did not see it, if someone else saw it let us know.

We do need someone like Trooper Taylor on our sidelines, in all my years of watching the Vols I can not remember a member of the coaching staff that could get players fired up quicker than Trooper.

1986sugarbowl writes:

This season is going to be hard to swallow for sure. I think it was a good move to let Worley start this game. However as I said in another post, I am no fan of Chaney. As I was shaking his hand on the Vol walk, I almost asked him if he was ready to resign. You can’t put Worley into those positions when the kid three weeks ago was a redshirt.
I know this has nothing to do with this article, but Dooley is either going to have to make some adjustments in coaching, or he is going to sink with the ship. I still stand behind he is a great head coach, despite his record, but he has some HUGE decisions to make to get this team on the winning track.
He is recruiting good football players and despite our losses, we have played fairly good games. Tough breaks, and injuries has greatly impacted our team, but you have to make better decisions to put our team in better winning situations.
Yes our defense has held great players to lower statistics, but our defensive adjustments are nonexistent. It was obvious that SC was going to run the ball, yet our LB’s was playing 3 yards behind the D line. Rushing only four had minimal success at best. No blitzes and no eight men in the box to stuff the run. No QB spy, let the QB do whatever he wanted to. It just comes down to adjusting to what is being handed to you and Dooley has to get this corrected. Great turnovers in the game, with great field position, should have easily equaled a BIG victory. It was a winnable game and we should have won it.

VolGrad writes:

in response to OklaVOL:

I just don't get it. Again, we are down, but lets understand that we all should have known that. Calling for Dooley's head already, I guess I am not a true fan. I watched the game in pain like all of you, but I saw an under manned squad that has no depth, no playmakers on offense, but plays hard. I saw nothing that lead me to believe different play calling, would change the outcome. C'mon VOL fans, it's a little early to start blaming the coaches, other than Fulmer and Kiffin. They are our problem right now. Give our Coach a chance. Remember, there weren't to many coaches beating the door down for the job.

Preach on. +1

Pullingguard writes:

Question to all... If Saban had the Vol players in Ala., do u think the record would be the same? I don't... And I think Dooley is a good guy, uses lot of excuses, but good guy.. However, how can you talk about the largest weakness on the team..."Running Game" and not have a running back coach.. It makes no sense, might have worked in La. U but not in the tough SEC... South Carolina has Jay Graham tutoring their running backs and they seems to do well... Dooley needs to shake up the coaching responsibilities and probably make a few changes during the season break.

VolGrad writes:

in response to RoadTrip:

You may not have seen anything that could have changed the outcome, but I sure did and I am quite sure I am not alone. Starting the second half with an on-side kick in 7-3 game after USCe had watched game film where we already pulled that one earlier in the season was pretty dumb.

Worley' arm is strong enough to throw shorter outs, slants and skinny post patterns. How many did you see? Go back and watch the game again and you will find out it was very few. You can use 3-5 step drops and shotgun for them. Most of the called patterns were deeper. Two streaks to Arnett were successful, 2 for 2. Not enough of that to him or to other receivers. Not enough dumps to the TE and RBs on 5-10 yard passes. The long pass that was intercepted near the end zone after the fumble recovery was so very predictable. All of the wasted slow developing running plays, some with a player (DY) in motion accross the backfield that never gets the ball fooled maybe 5 people sitting in the stands.

On defense - how many DC's have a 4 man d-line front and no LBs or safeties in the box on their own 6 yard line? That was a first for me. I bet Shaw was laughing all the way to the sideline after he scored. What DC keeps only 6 or 7 guys in the box on 3rd and 2 repeatedly during a 20 play drive? Bring the dang house, man! What DC lines his only 3 D-lineman in the game directly over the center and guards, then has the DE/LB types lined up outside the OT and TE in the 7 and 9 gaps, leaving the 5 gap wide open on both sides of the ball on 3rd and two or three? Our DC.

I can give more play calls but these were enough to change the results of the game a bunch.

Yeah, I'll agree there are quite a few other alleged experts like yourself out there. But if you were very smart at all, you'd have a lot less to say.

Go Vols!

flatrock writes:

Easy analysis: Vols' junior varsity playing an SEC varsity...Thanks to Mr. Hamilton, Mr. Fulmer and Mr. Kiffin.

Classof72 writes:

We have a wonderful band. Band performances should be professionally recorded and posted on utsports.com. Then there'd be some good film to watch.

Dumping on the team is beating a dead horse. They still have a chance to win six and go to a tidy bowl.

15_counting writes:

A loss to Vandy (and it's coming) means a losing season and no bowl appearance. That all adds up to recruiting nightmares! Prediction: Dooley gets fired midseason 2013! Maybe then Hamilton, Fulmer and Kiffin can quit taking all the blame.

Ayres_Hall writes:

Raise your hand if you thought we would beat UGA, LSU, Alabama, and South Carolina?

Go ahead.

Yep. We all hoped for a win or two but realistically we all knew it was a great stretch.

Let's get 3 of 4 and a bowl game. Recruit more of the same as the past two years and keep moving forward.

RockyTop1_old writes:

Folks it was time for Coach Fulmer to go but, it was not handled right! Hamilton's fault! LK and DD are the experiment we are left from the same Hamilton!

It may be years before we get back! One bad decision after another does not help the issues we have today! It grieves me for the state of Tennessee football today. We have replaced Vandy as the laughing stock of the SEC. We may lose to Vandy and Kentucky this year!

Does Coach Dooley get more time if we go 0-8 in the SEC?? Even Coach Battle NEVER took us this low and he also was a good man! GBO wherever you are! Looking for True Volunteers to step up!

springtx_vol writes:

in response to 1986sugarbowl:

This season is going to be hard to swallow for sure. I think it was a good move to let Worley start this game. However as I said in another post, I am no fan of Chaney. As I was shaking his hand on the Vol walk, I almost asked him if he was ready to resign. You can’t put Worley into those positions when the kid three weeks ago was a redshirt.
I know this has nothing to do with this article, but Dooley is either going to have to make some adjustments in coaching, or he is going to sink with the ship. I still stand behind he is a great head coach, despite his record, but he has some HUGE decisions to make to get this team on the winning track.
He is recruiting good football players and despite our losses, we have played fairly good games. Tough breaks, and injuries has greatly impacted our team, but you have to make better decisions to put our team in better winning situations.
Yes our defense has held great players to lower statistics, but our defensive adjustments are nonexistent. It was obvious that SC was going to run the ball, yet our LB’s was playing 3 yards behind the D line. Rushing only four had minimal success at best. No blitzes and no eight men in the box to stuff the run. No QB spy, let the QB do whatever he wanted to. It just comes down to adjusting to what is being handed to you and Dooley has to get this corrected. Great turnovers in the game, with great field position, should have easily equaled a BIG victory. It was a winnable game and we should have won it.

I hate to pick on one point, but the LB are supposed to be 3 yards behind the DL. The old adage is that they are supposed to be as deep as the RB.

Otherwise, I really don't understand Wilcox's calling of the defense. Is it simply a matter of not having enough good bodies yet? Is it a matter of needing more time to put in the sophistication of the defenses he ran at Boise? Inquiring minds want to know.

Finally, I recognize that missing players is having a huge impact on this team. You just can't lose Jackson, Lathers, Bray, and Hunter off of a team and expect to beat top level teams. As mentioned many times, 6-6 was an acceptable result this year IF we were respectable in the loses. That was before the missing players came into the picture.

I am not happy with the offensive performance. I am pleased, for the most part, with the play of the defense. With what is coming in next year, I see help at RB, WR, LB, and DB. We really need 3 or 4 bodies for the DL and I am beginning to believe that we need 3 or 4 OL.

Patience, please. At least until next year. If we end up at the bottom of the rushing stats in 2012, I think it will be justified to start calling for coaching changes. Right now, let them coach. Let them get back to 85 scholarship players. Let them show that they can coach and improve the athletes.

GBO

volpreacher writes:

in response to jomo11:

Dooley will never be anything but a .500 or below coach. . . . . He is 26-32 , after almost 60 games as a head coach. . . " you are what your record is" . . . . Why should that change ?

I tell you what. I don't bet, don't believe in it, but I'll make an exception if you want to put your money where your mouth is. Dooley will get this program turned around and have a very good record beginning next year. How about it? Otherwise, quit mouthing about something you obviously know little about.

hardtimecountyvol writes:

in response to garrthom:

If UT loses to Middle will Dooley still have a few years to rebuild?

Of course he will

SummerfieldVol writes:

I still say it is very hard to coach a position if you never played it. I believe the quarterback coach should be a former quarterback and so on. Is Dooley saying the defenseive line can't defend against the pass and the run? That is what I think he said. Funny every team in the SEC can do it so why can't we,is it the lack of talent possiblity, is it coaching maybe or could it be the way we practice? We need a full contact practice, you play the way you practice. It is very hard for a coach to fix a problem even if he knows the problem, but does not have the personnal to fix it. In othr words who do I put in now? I know one thing for sure SC sure exposed our weakness both offensively and defensively. Like I posted before nothing like a good game to expose who is a player and who is not. The player showes up and does his job the non player is the one who for example drops more passes than he has caught.

GeneralNeylandsReturn writes:

in response to shorttail:

I said the same thing about poole last night and a poster came back and said that poole was a nice guy, smart person and was probably smarter than me. I must have stepped on somebodies toes, I still think poole needs to go back to playing marbles!

I think the line needs to block for him and Cheney needs to call his number at the right time, with the right blocking scheme, instead of when he does...but those around him, including the play caller, are not getting the job done, in fact they aare utterly incompetent...Poole isn't...i am afraid this offensive staff and head coach may be out of their league...imho

vollady writes:

in response to OklaVOL:

I just don't get it. Again, we are down, but lets understand that we all should have known that. Calling for Dooley's head already, I guess I am not a true fan. I watched the game in pain like all of you, but I saw an under manned squad that has no depth, no playmakers on offense, but plays hard. I saw nothing that lead me to believe different play calling, would change the outcome. C'mon VOL fans, it's a little early to start blaming the coaches, other than Fulmer and Kiffin. They are our problem right now. Give our Coach a chance. Remember, there weren't to many coaches beating the door down for the job.

Finally, a post that I can agree with.

hikerdude writes:

Our defense isn't great but it is not the problem. The offense is truly terrible. The injuries we've had really, really hurt, given the lack of depth we have. But, the injuries didn't effect the run game which is the worst I have ever seen. Poole is a joke and the offensive line isn't much better. I'm still hopeful though. With two more recruiting classes maybe CDD can plug all the holes in this leaky boat.

Pipe_Down_Otis writes:

well, obviously the game plan was not to let them beat us throwing, and they didn't. Of course that meant they ran more on us. But we still gave up just 14 points. If we'd had been able to do ANYTHING on offense, we could have won this one. You may not like Dooley, but remember: Hamilton sent out inquiries, behind the scenes, this is what he got back...before he formally offered the job to Dooley.

The Air Force coach said no.
The Utah coach said no.
The Houston coach said no.
The Boise State coach said no.
Mus"chump" said no, told Hamilton about Dooley.

So, this is where we are....Dooley will be back, no question. I mean, nobody else wants the job, at least nobody you have ever heard of. I do think Channey might be let go. Unless they decide to just become a Wac team with Bray, and throw it every down.

mjq22 writes:

All I read on these messages boards is how great Nick Saban has done at Alabama and how we need to hire someone like him. But using your logic he shoulda never got the job at Alabama. For that matter he shoulda got canned at Michigan State. Here are a few facts. Nick Saban's first four years @ Michigan State 6-5-1 6-6 7-5 6-6. Mack Brown's first 3 years @ Tulane 1-10 4-7 6-6 then first 2 years @ North Carolina 1-10 and 1-10. Gene Chizick @ Iowa St 3-9 and 2-10. Shoulda fired all those bums and wrote them off as horrible coaches they'll never make it in this business. Whatever happened to supporting a coach and going thru some growing pains with them and watching them grow into a great coach. According to most of the post I'm reading "the fire Dooley crowd" ya'll woulda fired Saban, Mac Brown and Gene Chizik in a heartbeat. Of course they have only won 4 of the last 8 National titles between them. Everyone relax take a deep breath and give the man at least 4 years. After 4 years if we haven't shown significant improvement then you will have a legitamite gripe. Until then you sound like ignorant whiners who need to get a life.

hardtimecountyvol writes:

Not that many problems with the defense. Lack of offense is offensive though

SummerfieldVol writes:

in response to mjq22:

All I read on these messages boards is how great Nick Saban has done at Alabama and how we need to hire someone like him. But using your logic he shoulda never got the job at Alabama. For that matter he shoulda got canned at Michigan State. Here are a few facts. Nick Saban's first four years @ Michigan State 6-5-1 6-6 7-5 6-6. Mack Brown's first 3 years @ Tulane 1-10 4-7 6-6 then first 2 years @ North Carolina 1-10 and 1-10. Gene Chizick @ Iowa St 3-9 and 2-10. Shoulda fired all those bums and wrote them off as horrible coaches they'll never make it in this business. Whatever happened to supporting a coach and going thru some growing pains with them and watching them grow into a great coach. According to most of the post I'm reading "the fire Dooley crowd" ya'll woulda fired Saban, Mac Brown and Gene Chizik in a heartbeat. Of course they have only won 4 of the last 8 National titles between them. Everyone relax take a deep breath and give the man at least 4 years. After 4 years if we haven't shown significant improvement then you will have a legitamite gripe. Until then you sound like ignorant whiners who need to get a life.

The majority of the things you wrote about I agree with,but I would like to see not a eye popping or something that is going to make the 6 o'clock news improvement, but we were in the game and lost on a field goal. Just show some improvement every year and every game. The offensive yards goes up and the defensive yards goes down and the stupid little mistakes stop. Being off sides on offense ,jumping the snap count, the little dumb mistakes that add up at the end of the game.The mistakes that keeps the ball out of our offense hands, You can't score if you don't have the ball.

snakeplissken writes:

Plain and simple. Our opposing coaches know Tennessee's defense is going to key on their best players, so they just utilize their other players to plummet the Vols. Our coaches never recognize and adjust to what they're doing, then boast after another shellacking how they held so and so to 80 yards.
I'm sure Spurrier and his staff recognized that in film study and laughed at us, knowing they could take a 3rd string freshman running back and a 3rd string sophomore quarterback and march 98 yards uncontested down the field while we were keying on Jeffreys.

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