Gribble's Scribbles: Breaking down Tennessee-Cincinnati

MUST-WATCH MATCHUPS

Cincinnati wide receiver D.J. Woods vs. Tennessee cornerbacks Marsalis Teague/Justin Coleman

Woods, who caught 57 passes for nearly 900 yards and eight touchdowns last year, is the top target for Bearcats quarterback Zach Collaros. Woods isn't a prototypical deep threat, but he can turn short catches into long gains in a hurry. He'll be in frequent motion, which means both Coleman and Teague will have their fair share of snaps to try and contain the shifty receiver.

UT's offensive line vs. Cincinnati's defensive line

Both units are coming off efforts they'd probably be better off forgetting, but for different reasons. The Vols didn't generate nearly enough push against Montana last week and, as a result, the running game never got off the ground. The Bearcats, meanwhile, faced an overmatched Austin Peay team that barely provided much in the form of a tune-up. The Vols will have to be better than last week while Cincinnati's front four will try to pick up where it left off last year as the Bearcat defense's lone bright spot, ranking 39th in the nation in rush defense.

STOCK UP

UT LB Daryl Vereen: An afterthought of sorts during the preseason after freshmen A.J. Johnson and Curt Maggitt passed him on the depth chart, Vereen used his speed and veteran savvy to lead the Vols with six tackles last week against Montana. The Vols' nickel linebacker, Vereen will be on the field today just as much as he was against the Grizzlies' spread attack. His side-to-side speed will be key in preventing short passes from turning into big gains and containing the mobile Collaros.

Cincinnati WR Anthony McClung: The third receiver behind Woods and deep-ball target Kenbrell Thompkins, McClung caught as many touchdowns last week against Austin Peay — two — as he did all of his freshman season. The Bearcats aren't young in many places, but wide receiver is an area where true experience is hard to find. McClung's emergence is vital because the Bearcats need more than two reliable pass-catchers in their spread attack.

STOCK DOWN

UT WR Zach Rogers: Tyler Bray could have connected with Justin Hunter and Da'Rick Rogers whenever he wanted in last week's season opener — and he largely did. At some point, though, he'll need to look elsewhere, and he'll need more than the one catch Rogers had against Montana. The injury-prone Rogers is as healthy as he's been since the beginning of the camp. Staying that way and producing at the level he's proven to be capable of will only make the Vols' dynamic passing game that much better.

Cincinnati's preparedness: It's hard to call what the Bearcats did for three or so hours to Austin Peay last week a legitimate non-conference victory. Not only are the Governors a bad FCS team, they're one of the worst. An inter-squad scrimmage might have been a better test for the Bearcats, who also will be playing in front of 75,000 more fans than last week, when 23,282 showed up for the ugly romp.

Tweets of the Week

Lisa Horne, Los Angeles-based Fox Sports football and NASCAR reporter

- Upset of the Week pick: Cincy over Tennessee. Carpe Diem.

Marshall Ramsey, nationally syndicated cartoonist and UT alum

- Mentioned to my wife that I wanted a pair of bright orange pants like Derek Dooley is wearing. I think she likes the idea - She's laughing.

UT wide receiver Matt Milton

- I like (Herschel) Walker and all but espn needs to stop showing that run he had against UT #VFL

Dan Wetzel, Yahoo! Sports columnist

My fave fake realignment story? Larry Scott in Boise to recruit to P12. Recruit? If he likes them on facebook they'd come

Cecil Hurt, Tuscaloosa News columnist

- At what point does Baylor resort to standing in the rain outside Kyle Field holding a boombox playing Peter Gabriel songs?

My Pick

Tennessee 44, Cincinnati 42

There are so many offensive playmakers on both of these teams, one third-down stop by one of the defenses might be all it takes to win.

© 2011 govolsxtra.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Discuss
  • Print

Comments » 9

CroKev writes:

All the score predictions I'm seeing show absolutely no respect for UT's defense or Wilcox. I just don't see these guys scoring more than 21.

keviningeorgia writes:

UT - 32 Cincy - 23

Give the 4 points...

vol64 writes:

The following is a comment by HC Butch Jones in an article in the Cincinnati Enquirer earlier this week(kudos to A. Gribble's blog for the link to this article).

“We need to win at Tennessee Sunday. We need to go into a place with 102,455 people dressed like Creamsicles and drop the Volunteers flat on their Rocky Tops. The Volunteer Navy sailing the Tennessee River has to sink to the mud, like the Spanish Fleet at Trafalgar. Or some darned place....."

I don't know who will win Saturday, but, IMO, Coach Dooley, who has made some well published analogies in the past, can't hold a candle to this guy.

"CREAMSICLES". I love it.

keviningeorgia writes:

Cincy, with this QB, lost to Oklahoma by 2 last year, (31 - 29). Anybody who thinks holding Cincy in the 20's isn't respectable defensive play needs to do a little homework...

vol64 writes:

OOPS. I made a flub in my previous post. Coach Jones DID NOT make the quoted comment. The writer of the article wrote that Coach Jones SHOULD have said the quote. My apologies to Coach Jones and my congrats to the writer for making this pithy comment. (Maybe Coach Jones should make this comment to his team in the pre-game locker room).

I'm going to have to start wearing my glasses more.

transplantiam writes:

Makes you even madder when you have to drive back up I-75 knowing your team lost to a "bunch of creamsicles" by so bad a score like 56-20 Vols win! Seeing that running your mouth just got your team stomped!

keviningeorgia writes:

in response to CrippledCoon:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I agree. I'm not in a panic if they do lose. They could lose this ball game and still accomplish an 8 to 9 win season. It would make it tougher to do but still possible.

ProfessionalHandicapper writes:

There is no way we see his prediction of 86 points scored here today. Cinn will play deep zones and nickels forcing UT to win by running the ball. Cinn held Okl to 31 points last year and all 11 are back including their best corner who was out most of the year. Vegas has the Total at 56.5. I trust the Vegas lines more than this prediction of 86 points.

writer#358485 writes:

If we don't beat Cincinnati, this is going to be a long year--like the last one. But I think we've partially turned the corner, though still young, and will win today 45-17. Hope I'm right;-) But win or lose, I'll always support the Vols, my blood runs deep orange and always will. Go Vols!

Want to participate in the conversation? Become a subscriber today. Subscribers can read and comment on any story, anytime. Non-subscribers will only be able to view comments on select stories.

Features