John Adams: Zach Collaros is double trouble for Vols

Justin Wilcox: Looking back on Montana, forward to Cincinnati

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Rushing the quarterback wasn't the only concern for the Tennessee defense last season. So was a rushing quarterback.

One game into a new season is still too soon to dismiss old concerns, especially when the second game brings Cincinnati senior quarterback Zach Collaros to Neyland Stadium on Saturday afternoon. He might be the best quarterback UT faces all season.

Pressuring him will be one challenge. Tackling him in the open field will be another. There's also the guessing game of when he's going to do what.

"When a quarterback can move, it's like you are one short somewhere," UT coach Derek Dooley said. "You're either going to compromise his ability to run, and he's going to gash you. Or you better have all that protected, and it's going to slow you down on the pass rush or pull one out of coverage. It's hard."

The Vols didn't have to view much video of Collaros to see how hard. The same video probably provoked flashbacks.

In seven games last season, opposing quarterbacks totaled 381 yards (not including yardage lost on sacks) on 61 carries for a 5.9-yard average. LSU's Jordan Jefferson had an 83-yard touchdown run. Georgia's Aaron Murray had a 35-yard run. Five different quarterbacks had runs of 17 yards or longer.

The Vols can't match those yards. They rely on quarterback Tyler Bray to throw, not run.

Cincinnati will rely on Collaros to do everything. That's not a new development.

Collaros, who is 6-foot, 223 pounds, led the Big East in passing yardage last year. He saved the Bearcats' 12-1 season in 2009 when he came off the bench in place of injured Tony Pike.

He had 555 yards total offense in a victory over Connecticut. He had a 75-yard touchdown run on which he broke a tackle and outran a defensive back to the end zone in a victory against South Florida.

He didn't become the best quarterback in the Big East just by running. The running complements his passing, which he does effectively from the pocket or on the move.

"It's hard to find guys who have the ability to run the ball and be a real accurate down-field passer the way he is," Dooley said.

Collaros' track record isn't the only reason UT fans should be concerned about Saturday's game. There's also Tennessee's recent track record to consider.

Lesser quarterbacks than Collaros have bedeviled the Vols in these early-season nonconference games.

Three years ago, UCLA quarterback Kevin Craft shrugged off four first-half interceptions and completed 12 of 14 passes for 150 yards in the fourth quarter to lead the Bruins to a come-from-behind overtime victory in the season opener. Two years ago, Ohio quarterback Theo Scott completed 30 of 52 passes for 319 yards.

Last year, UAB quarterback Bryan Ellis passed for 379 yards, and backup quarterback David Isabelle rushed for 63 yards. It was an effective pass-run combination.

So is Collaros. But he doesn't need a backup.

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 » 24

SeminaryVol writes:

Good article. Agree. This guy and this team will be trouble. The Vols will have to stay at home on D and wrap up every time. I think the Bearcats (what is that anyway?) hang tough for three quarters, but the Vols will open the fourth with an 80 yard, 6 minute drive to put the game out of reach.

Vols 38
Bearcats 24

JtDL writes:

It's half bear, the other half cat. That one is easy.

CoverOrange writes:

But..but..but John, yesterday you said it was just another Big East team, nothing to worry about.

Somehow I doubt the Cincy blogomedia will be copying and pasting John's latest on the bulletin board.

freevol writes:

our de's will be key here.i have confidence cinci qb will take some crowd silencing licks saturday.dooley and assistants will have oppertunity to earn their money prepping for this game vols 48 cats 21

Packer_Park_Orange (Inactive) writes:

Adams is the best and again he gets it right.

Maybe we can speak to the officiating crew and get them to let us play by the Dooley rules...12 players on the field...That way we can get an extra rusher on this outstanding quarterback.

volcycle writes:

What is a bearcat? It's the girl on Rocky Top. She was wild as a mink, but sweet as soda pop.....Ah....I still dream about that.

OK, now let's send her packing and move on.... Go Vols!

snakeplissken writes:

in response to Packer_Park_Orange:

Adams is the best and again he gets it right.

Maybe we can speak to the officiating crew and get them to let us play by the Dooley rules...12 players on the field...That way we can get an extra rusher on this outstanding quarterback.

I thought it was 13 we ended up with on that Keystone Kop play? It went from 11 to 12 to 15 then back to 13 I thought. I was stunned that out of all our coaches looking directly at our defense, some from the booth up high, not a one of them had any idea how many players we had in there. Utterly amazing!!!!!!

givehim6 writes:

Yea I see one guy just totaly unraveling our team all by himself. We might as well call the rest of the season John. you flip flop so many times your like a fish out of water. WE ARE UT! GO VOLS!

10CVOL writes:

By mistake, my xm radio was on the Paul Crapbaum show the other day (by the way I refuse to listen to it because I work in Satan country with all the Alabastards) but Paul Crapbaum said he had a good friend in the media in the Knoxville area and it has to be you John.....you two are too much alike.

ProfMark writes:

Cincy fan comment here. Collaros is very, very good. But the best player on offense is the RB Isiah Pead--that's who this article should be about. This guy is special. But neither Collaros or Pead will matter if the line can't hold off the Vols, and that is the real question. Pead will somehow get his yards even if the line is weak--he somehow always does (averaging 6.7 YPC for career). But Collaros gets rattled in his passing game when the line is weak, as witnessed last year against Fresno State and North Carolina State. He'll get some running yards in this situation, but if the line is out of control his passing becomes inaccurate and he gets rattled (or at least he did last year). His legs alone can't sustain a drive--he needs to have the passing game going too for the dual-threat nightmare to kick in. Our O-line is relatively inexperienced, with the top guy from last year in the NFL now and two rookies coming in. The new guys are talented and were highly rated recruits, and if they can hold their own you're going to see the Collaros that this article is talking about, and that is a little scary for a Vols fan. When he is on and has a little time he puts on a clinic. But if the line doesn't hold you'll be wondering what the hoopla is all about.

stevefrommemphis writes:

in response to ProfMark:

Cincy fan comment here. Collaros is very, very good. But the best player on offense is the RB Isiah Pead--that's who this article should be about. This guy is special. But neither Collaros or Pead will matter if the line can't hold off the Vols, and that is the real question. Pead will somehow get his yards even if the line is weak--he somehow always does (averaging 6.7 YPC for career). But Collaros gets rattled in his passing game when the line is weak, as witnessed last year against Fresno State and North Carolina State. He'll get some running yards in this situation, but if the line is out of control his passing becomes inaccurate and he gets rattled (or at least he did last year). His legs alone can't sustain a drive--he needs to have the passing game going too for the dual-threat nightmare to kick in. Our O-line is relatively inexperienced, with the top guy from last year in the NFL now and two rookies coming in. The new guys are talented and were highly rated recruits, and if they can hold their own you're going to see the Collaros that this article is talking about, and that is a little scary for a Vols fan. When he is on and has a little time he puts on a clinic. But if the line doesn't hold you'll be wondering what the hoopla is all about.

Thanks for the info. If you come to the game, I hope you enjoy your visit to Knoxville and Neyland Stadium.

VolinCalif writes:

in response to stevefrommemphis:

Thanks for the info. If you come to the game, I hope you enjoy your visit to Knoxville and Neyland Stadium.

Yep Pro said it like a Pro. there was a time when we were a paid site that many of our posters were a lot like Pro.

1974Vol writes:

in response to JtDL:

It's half bear, the other half cat. That one is easy.

Wild as a mink,
but sweet as soda pop
I still dream about that.
Rocky Top you'll always be....

FearTheVols1252 writes:

Hopefully Wilcox will throw a lot of different looks at this kid to confuse him and disrupt his momentum.

DannyVol writes:

in response to CoverOrange:

But..but..but John, yesterday you said it was just another Big East team, nothing to worry about.

Somehow I doubt the Cincy blogomedia will be copying and pasting John's latest on the bulletin board.

Exactly. This clown provides bulletin board material for the opposition one day and then tries to be a wet blanket for Vol fans the next. It's part of his four year-old campaign to be as much of a pain-in-the-a__ to the program as possible. After we win, watch for the "it was just Cincy" column. Then if we beat Florida it will be "UT caught Florida in a down-cycle." This dude hates the hometown team.

CrankE writes:

Adams is still missing Timmy Tearbow. Maybe Zach can rekindle the magic for JA. Fire John Adams.

By the way; Is anybody else tired of the grinning metrosexual guy in the "all tennessee" Addidas advertisement?

NeylandWest writes:

in response to JtDL:

It's half bear, the other half cat. That one is easy.

We better watch out for those women from Cincy. I've heard they're as wild as a mink but sweet as soda pop...I still dream about that.

KevDVol writes:

Seriously, how many players on this team actually played against UCLA?

No current coaches were involved.

Usually, you try to strengthen your argument by citing useful examples. But yes, this Quarterback is very scary regardless of our history. Hopefully, we'll find a way stop him and don't spend too much time reviewing UCLA game film to figure out how.

Noogaorange writes:

in response to Packer_Park_Orange:

Adams is the best and again he gets it right.

Maybe we can speak to the officiating crew and get them to let us play by the Dooley rules...12 players on the field...That way we can get an extra rusher on this outstanding quarterback.

Another stupid post from you. Why are you always posting negative comments. Time for you to find another forum. Doesn't appear that you are a true Vol fan. GBO

Gobearcats writes:

http://www.uc.edu/about/history.html

here is how We became the UC Bearcats

OrangePride writes:

Running quarterbacks have been a nemesis for the Vols going all the way back to 2008, maybe further. I remember Northern Illinois had one and he gave us fits until he got injured. Had he stayed in the game, I'm not convinced Tennessee wins. So, with a young (very young) defense and a very seasoned QB, it could be an interesting day for the LB's and secondary. Let's hope we're preped and ready! GO VOLS!!

OrangePride writes:

in response to ProfMark:

Cincy fan comment here. Collaros is very, very good. But the best player on offense is the RB Isiah Pead--that's who this article should be about. This guy is special. But neither Collaros or Pead will matter if the line can't hold off the Vols, and that is the real question. Pead will somehow get his yards even if the line is weak--he somehow always does (averaging 6.7 YPC for career). But Collaros gets rattled in his passing game when the line is weak, as witnessed last year against Fresno State and North Carolina State. He'll get some running yards in this situation, but if the line is out of control his passing becomes inaccurate and he gets rattled (or at least he did last year). His legs alone can't sustain a drive--he needs to have the passing game going too for the dual-threat nightmare to kick in. Our O-line is relatively inexperienced, with the top guy from last year in the NFL now and two rookies coming in. The new guys are talented and were highly rated recruits, and if they can hold their own you're going to see the Collaros that this article is talking about, and that is a little scary for a Vols fan. When he is on and has a little time he puts on a clinic. But if the line doesn't hold you'll be wondering what the hoopla is all about.

WOW! A post from a non-vol that actually provides credible balance. Thanks for the great thoughts and insight. Tomorrow will tell both teams just where they are in their development at this point, so we will all suit up and go out and enjoy the day! Assuming you are here for the game, have a great time in Knoxville and welcome!

keviningeorgia writes:

I'm not an Adams hater but I do have a questions about this article:

How does the comments concerning teams from 2 coaches ago support his point here? I buy the numbers from last year mentioned but UCLA from 3 years ago?

The truth is a QB who can scramble, run and throw accurately is going to get some plays on almost any D. Almost...

licknpromise777#651578 writes:

long sustained drives is what we need to diffuse the spread and wear them down;typically we don't do that great against spread teams..Auburn killed us with monte leading the defense..Like most games it will be won in the trenches..For sure gonna see how good Wilcox is with our green linebackers

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